Gallop backs A-League finals format

David Gallop says improved crowds and ratings show why the A-League finals series should continue.
David Gallop says improved crowds and ratings show why the A-League finals series should continue.

Alex Brosque's call to scrap the A-League finals system isn't likely to get much traction after a record-breaking end to the 2018-19 campaign

Retiring Sydney FC captain Brosque volunteered his opinion after his team's grand final penalty shootout win over Premiers Plate winners Perth Glory on Sunday night.

Brosque preferred the first-past-the-post system, used in most of the rest of the football world, pointing out Sydney FC and Glory had won the Plate by large margins the last two seasons, but hadn't been recognised as champions.

FFA boss David Gallop has pointed to strong attendances and ratings through the finals series - with Sunday's game in Perth attracting a record grand final crowd - as evidence of popular support for the existing format.

"I think football and Australian sport gets behind a finals series and we saw that with the numbers that were produced, crowds and ratings through this finals series," Gallop said on Tuesday.

"People turned out in record numbers and I think that underlines they are part of football and they are a part of Australian sport."

Gallop admitted there had been an officiating error which denied Sydney's Adam Le Fondre a normal-time goal in the grand final.

"It looks like in hindsight that was a marginally incorrect call, but it was a very very close one and video is never going to be flawless," Gallop said.

"Though we have to be reminded that it is there for obvious error and that where we've used it with good affect this season."

When it was suggested the offiside call was an an obvious error Gallop said "Obviously those who had their eyes on it didn't see it that way, and didn't move to overturn the assistant ref's flag"

While the A-League continued to battle for ratings, attendances and media during the regular season Gallop was optimistic about it's future.

He looked forward to the introduction of new club Western United next season, Macarthur FC the following year and also Western Sydney's imminent return to their rebuilt home venue.

News Corp, the major shareholder in Foxtel which is locked into a football rights deal with the FFA unitl 2023, have signalled their intention to reduce investment in "non-marquee sporting content" which some have interpreted as a possible future concern for the A-League.

"For the time being we've got a safe contract and we're about building value around that to make sure that the next time we are in the market, whether it's with Foxtel or others that we put forward a compelling proposition," Gallop said.

"i think streaming is a way that people are consuming the game more and more and we've got to keep our eye on that as well."

Gallop said discussions were continuing with the other parties who want to take over the running of the A-League.

"It's important that goes into the next phase with the foot on the pedal," Gallop said.

Australian Associated Press