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Brosque calls on A-League to scrap Grand Final

Departing legend Alex Brosque has suggested scrapping the A-League playoffs and Grand Final after Sydney FC's win on penalties over Perth Glory in this year's showpiece event.

Last year's championship failure didn't sit comfortably with Brosque and neither did this year's win, even though his team took the title over the regular season's top performers.

And Brosque has suggested doing away with the A-League finals series -- and with it the premiership -- while awarding the title of champions to the team that had the best record during the league campaign.

"The fact that we have a cup competition now, maybe it is time ... to look at scrapping these semis and finals," he said. "On the day, whoever basically shows up and has a good game, or in some cases penalties, defines it.

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"It's a tough way for [Perth] to lose. It happened to us last year, we won the league by 14 points and weren't seen as champions.

"And Perth, they were incredible this year, and they're not seen as champions. And while it's sweet for us, and it's great and we'll enjoy it, it's something to look [at] in the future."

Brosque's suggestion will draw support from traditionalists, who see the Grand Final as an Australian cultural compromise at best and an aberration at worst.

But it's not likely to win favour at head office.

FFA is the chief financial beneficiary of the finals series, which has seen more than 100,000 people attend matches in four states; a majority of which packed out Perth's Optus Stadium on Sunday.

To move away from a Grand Final would also deprive the sport of one of its major cut-through moments in a packed sporting calendar.

Brosque didn't claim popular support for his idea among players, saying he landed in the position after last year's semifinal loss to Melbourne Victory as the runaway premiers.

"After last year, I know how much it hurt," he said. "We had a one-off night ... it was one moment by [Terry] Antonis.

"Regardless of the season we had, we just weren't seen as champions. It is Australian football, it is what it is ... I get why they do it. But I don't think we need to.

"We're football and all around the world, the best team wins the league and they're seen as the best team."

Alex Brosque
Alex Brosque has suggested scrapping the A-League playoffs and Grand Final after Sydney FC's win on penalties over Perth Glory in this year's showpiece event.

FFA boss David Gallop responded to Brosque on Tuesday, 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.

"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 offside 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 its 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 until 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.

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