Australia’s A-League is in talks with a number of Asian nations to stage games outside the country during the hosting of the 2015 Asian Cup, according to league chief Damien de Bohun.
Speaking at the A-League’s 2013-14 season launch, De Bohun said plans are underway to contend with the clash between the Asian Football Confederation’s showpiece national team tournament and the Australian domestic league’s 2014-15 campaign. The 2015 Asian Cup will take place from January 9-31, cutting across the heart of the A-League season, and games will be hosted in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Newcastle.
“Next season with the Asian Cup… we won’t be playing games at the same time most likely in the markets where the Asian Cup is on,” said De Bohun, according to Reuters. “So that’s Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle, Canberra and Brisbane. Necessity is the mother of invention; we have to look a bit more broadly. We have had active discussions with places like Singapore, like Indonesia. There are local opportunities (too) but also some more global opportunities that we are looking at very seriously. We are very focused on playing games where you can get the best possible results on both a strategic level and a commercial level and that may well be in Asia. We would definitely be looking at playing games for points in Asia as early as next season.”
A-League clubs already compete in the Asian Champions League, while Perth Glory played a pre-season game against Malaysian Super League club Johor Darul Takzim in Johor Bahru last year. While De Bohun said the league wouldn’t be seeking further expansion during its current four-year broadcast rights deal, he admitted the prospect of Asian clubs competing in the league is a long-term possibility. “We’re part of Asia, I think Australia’s starting to understand that in a footballing context,” he added. “We have a global game, a game that doesn’t just have to be played in Australia. There’s no reason why you can’t look seriously at games and certainly clubs being based in different parts of Asia.”