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A-League officials turned to Vietnam and Thailand to learn how to improve their league’s quality

A-League officials turned to Vietnam and Thailand to learn how to improve their league’s quality

According to Live Sport Asia’s source, Australia is looking forward to learning how to improve A-League from the models of Vietnam’s V-League and Thailand’s Thai League.

The answer may lie in the governing of the league system itself. Although the three countries’ national football league systems were all used to be managed by their football federations, whilst Australia remained the same, Thailand and Vietnam have made remarkable changes.

A-League officials turned to Vietnam and Thailand to learn how to improve their league’s quality

The A-League and other lower tiers are still now under the management of the FFA (Football Federation Australia) and this mechanism has proven to be outdated with many flaws, causing Australia leagues to decline.

The way football works in Australia is somewhat naive, given that only the beautiful football or the showcase part is prioritized, whilst other factors such as financial have not been taken into account deeply as it should have been.

This has resulted in a dilemma in the promotion-regulation process. Clubs which are regulated would face the possibility of being bankrupt due to the lack of sponsorship, which they can only acquire in the A-League. On the other hand, promoted clubs may not be able to afford the operational cost in the A-League.

The A-League also has to deal with the fall of the number of attendances in matches. Melbourne Victory – one of the clubs which have the biggest fanbase in the A-League – witnessed a steady fall from the average 25,000 in the 2014/2015 season to just over 20,000 in the 2017/2018.

Harsh rules on fans made up a huge part of this decrease. In a friendly match between Perth Glory and Chelsea, many fans left the stadium due to the ban on drums and other supporting tools in the stadium.

The downfall of the domestic league system affected the performances of Australian clubs at continental competitions as well. None of the clubs from the land of the kangaroos advanced further than the group stage at AFC Champions League in recent years.

On the contrary, Thailand’s and Vietnam’s leagues have taken a different approach with the departure from the nation’s football federation and creating private companies dedicated to organizing and managing domestic football leagues.

A-League officials turned to Vietnam and Thailand to learn how to improve their league’s quality

For Thailand, the big change took place in 2009 with the birth of Thai Premier League co.ltd. The league got its new name which is Thai Premier League before rebranding again to Thai League in 2017 as we know today. The clubs were forced to separate themselves from their parent companies and stand as independent football organizations.

The shift has changed Thai football for the better, with the Thai League 1’s revenue increasing by 16.5% from 2014 to 2018 and losses declining from 255 million baht to 192 million baht in the same period, according to Thailand’s Economic Intelligence Center.

A similar change occurred to Vietnam with the Vietnam Professional Football (VPF) replacing the federation in governing Vietnam’s football league systems in 2012.

Since then, Vietnamese football has developed greatly, especially in the recent two-year time. The Vietnam football teams in many age groups have acquired many feats like runners-up at AFC U23 Championship 2018, champions at AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 and SEA Games 2019. At the club level, Vietnam has also made its mark, which was depicted in the feat of Hanoi FC reaching the AFC Cup inter-zone final last season.

The examples of Vietnam and Thailand can help Australia build its league system stronger and regain the beliefs of fans.