The A League

The A League has been built on the ashes of the National Soccer League as an attempt to increase the quality of the highest level of football. This decision left out all traditional Australian football clubs associated with specific ethnic groups competing in minor state-level leagues with no chance to be promoted to the highest level because of the system of non-promotion and relegation. This has made Australia’s football league much closer to the MLS league than any other standard football competition format.

Now it is really rare to see a football club with an overtly ethnic name playing at the highest competing level. There are no more local ethnic delis serving ethnic foods on the stands, but instead you have big brands. The creation of the A league in 2005 caused for a football “de-ethnicisation” and football clubs ready for commercial consumption and glossy names such as Sydney FC, Central Coast Mariners, Melbourne Victory etc. that are able to attract sponsorships. The stadiums have grown too.
Interestingly, this has helped the game grow well beyond football and become a whitewashed football competition that is able to attract star players such as Alessandro Del Piero, Shinji Ono and Dwight Yorke among others although prior to their retiring from playing football.

Today the league is stronger than ever, and far better in quality compared to all of its earliest forms, especially the format used in the sixties, a now defunct knockout cup tournament to determine the football champion. Maybe this has caused a great revolt among the smaller clubs, but it has nevertheless created a high level football code that stands out in quality compared to the other Australian football codes.
Whatever the changes may be, the interest to bet on football will never dwindle among the Aussies. Even though they are known for their passion to play using Aussie Dollar, Aussies like to gamble on sports too.
Anyway, as the country’s primary football competition, the Australian A League has managed to entice some big-time football players. Moreover, the Australian A League clubs have served as the final destination of many great Australian players, something like a nice peaceful place where they can end their careers graciously. Some of these players are John Aloisi, who spent his last 4 playing years in three Aussie teams (Central Coast Mariners, Sydney FC and Melbourne Heart), Vince Grella, Bret Emerton, Harry Kewell, Jason Cullina, Josip Skoko, Mehmet Durakovic, Steve Horvat, Tony Vidmar, Zeljko Kalac, Paul Okon etc.
However, we have yet to see whether the A League football clubs have the power and the money to sign some rising stars and keep them there during their best years, and not just football players that are in their final year of playing professional football.