Sydney FC ‘extremely disappointed’ as fans, club forced to choose between finals matches

Jamie Dunkin
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Sydney FC have been left split across two cities in three hours by the APL
Sydney FC have been left split across two cities in three hours by the APL Credit: Mark Kolbe; Jason McCawley / Get

Sydney FC has voiced its displeasure at the scheduling of the A-League Finals Series matches, saying their attempts to lobby the governing body fell on deaf ears.

Sydney FC Women, the current reigning champions will play their seventh successive Grand Final this Saturday against Premiers Melbourne City at 4pm in Melbourne — hours before their men’s side play a do-or-die home elimination final against Macarthur in Sydney at 7:45pm.

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The scheduling from the Australian Professional Leagues who run the A-Leagues has left the club “extremely disappointed”, with CEO Mark Aubrey telling The Nightly they had tried to get a different outcome.

“Naturally we are extremely disappointed with the decision to hold our Men’s and Women’s finals matches in different cities and within hours of each other on the same day,”

“We lobbied the APL extremely hard to avoid a situation where our Members, our fans, our resources and our staff, including myself as CEO, would be split between matches but unfortunately our request was rejected.”

The decision to host the men’s elimination final on Saturday evening was the result of the club drawing the most viewers on free-to-air throughout the season, leaving the club mostly powerless to get the time changed.

Sydney FC Women qualified for the Grand Final following a 2-1 aggregate win over Central Coast Mariners on Saturday, with a record-breaking 7,054 people in attendance at Leichhardt. The club has boasted the highest average attendance this season in both the men’s and women’s competitions

Melbourne City confirmed their spot in the Big Dance with ease, following a 6-0 aggregate thumping of Newcastle Jets, with the second leg attended by over 2,000 at AAMI Park.

Sydney FC supporter Michelle Morris told The Nightly the decision showed a lack of forward planning from the APL, with the dates for the finals series set in stone for months.

“It’s silly to have them so close together. The league has been making a big deal about the women’s league being respected, but when decisions like this come out you really start to think twice about what is being said”.

Morris has been at the forefront of active support for the Sky Blues in the A-League Women, but said she can’t blame fellow fans for choosing to stay in Sydney.

“A lot of people naturally are feeling a bit frustrated and will choose to stay [in Sydney] for the men’s game as it’s the cheaper and easier option, which is very fair”.

However, she reiterated there’s a much easier solution for these issues — book out the whole weekend for solely the women’s Grand Final.

“Everything costs money and there’s issues with booking stadiums, but if we really want to respect our women’s teams, we need to have the whole weekend booked out for the Grand Final just for them”.

The other elimination final in the men’s league will take place on Sunday just over 24 hours after the A-League Women Final, with rivals Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City battling it out for a spot in the semis.

The Melbourne Derby clash had originally been scheduled for 3pm but was moved back two hours due to fan complaints over clashes with Orthodox Easter.

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