Glory owner Tony Sage labels east coast A-League decider as "a joke."
Perth Glory owner Tony Sage has savaged the decision to sell the A-League grand final hosting rights for the next three seasons to Sydney, saying the call was short-sighted and will backfire.
The Australian Professional Leagues, which runs the A-League men’s and women’s competitions, announced today it had reached an agreement with the New South Wales government’s tourism body to hold the season deciders in the ‘Harbour City’ until 2026.
The move has attracted widespread criticism from fans, players, and pundits, with Socceroo Craig Goodwin leading the chorus of dissent, saying on Instagram he did not support the decision.
Sage said he was woken this morning by a call from a fellow owner and was blindsided by the announcement.
“It’s a joke. I don’t understand how the decision got made without all the owners having a vote. The APL is run by a ten man board, five from the clubs, so I’m not on that board,” Sage told Sports Drive.
“In the end, we’re going to get a lot of fan acceptance because of the World Cup and the women’s coming up, and to alienate fans like this, I mean you’ve seen the social media pushback, and it was obvious it was going to happen. I just don’t understand the logic.”
Sage, who has owned the Glory since 2009, said he was not given a chance to express his views to the APL before the news broke.
“My CEO got told a week ago they were considering this, and he relayed that to me, and we have an owners meeting on Thursday in Melbourne, and I thought it was going to be discussed there and voted on, because I’ve talked to four other owners who were as equally dumbfounded as me,” he said.
The Glory hosted the 2019 grand final at Optus Stadium, setting the club’s attendance record with a crowd of 56,371, but won’t be eligible for the same privilege for at least three years.
“I just think it’d be egg all over everyone’s face if Perth played Wellington in the grand final, or Perth played Adelaide, or Western United, who’ve got no fans yet because they’re only young,” Sage said.
“A family of four for example, if we made the grand final this year, it’s twelve thousand bucks with accommodation. What family can afford that given these times?
“It’s going to be a debacle if only two or three thousand fans are able to get to Sydney.”
APL CEO Danny Townsend has responded to the backlash, saying the deal would help the game “… evolve and create tradition”.
Three of the A-League’s twelve clubs are based in New South Wales - Sydney FC, Western Sydney Wanderers, and Macarthur FC - with the APL saying it would pick a venue between Allianz Stadium, Accor Stadium, and CommBank Stadium based on the game’s expected crowd.
The Glory resumed their A-League Mens campaign in winning fashion on Saturday night, defeating Western United 2-1 with goals for Ryan Williams and Jack Clisby.
The game was the Glory’s first at Macedonia Park, their temporary home with HBF Arena unavailable due to renovations.