Western Utd lash NSW A-Leagues final deal

December 13, 2022 03:58 PM AEDT | By AAPNEWS
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The Australian Professional Leagues' (APL) decision to sell the A-League grand finals to NSW has met further resistance, with Western United lashing the move and Melbourne Victory and City fans planning a derby walkout.

The APL on Monday announced a deal with Destination NSW to host the next three A-League grand finals in Sydney for an undisclosed fee.

United, who won their first ALM championship at AAMI Park last season, slammed the decision on Tuesday.

"We do not support the A-League Men's, A-League Women's or the E-League grand finals being played in Sydney for the next three seasons," United said in a statement.

"Our club isn't represented on the APL board, and we weren't consulted on the decision announced yesterday. 

"While we are grateful to Destination NSW for wanting to support football financially and the APL's efforts to increase its commercial revenue, the reaction of our fans over the last 24 hours speaks volumes.

"Western United is a young club that is being built for the football fans in the west of Melbourne and Victoria. 

"We strongly believe that they are entitled to attend a grand final in their home state should we be successful in earning the right to do so."

APL chief executive Danny Townsend told ABC News Breakfast on Tuesday the clubs were complicit in the arrangement.

But both United and Wellington Phoenix, who also don't have a representative on the board, have said they were not involved in the decision making.

Victory's active supporters, Original Style Melbourne, have announced they will stage a 20th minute walk-out alongside City supporters on Saturday night at AAMI Park.

City winger Marco Tilio hoped his own terrace would stick around.

"The fans obviously are frustrated. But for me as a player, I'll just go out there to perform and I support our fans to hopefully stay there for 90 minutes of the game," he told reporters.

Supporter groups of all ALM clubs released social media statements accusing the APL of betraying fans.

Socceroo Craig Goodwin, who appeared in the APL's video announcement, was scathing.

"I may be in the video for the A-League Men choice to host grand finals in Sydney, but I do not support it," the Adelaide United captain wrote on Twitter. 

Goodwin was backed by Sydney FC A-League Women striker Remy Siemsen, who tweeted: "Like all competitors I have loved earning the right to play a home grand final and would love it to stay being earned."

Townsend said the move was intended to create a "festival of football" around the final, conceding they did not expect such heavy backlash.

"We understand the fans are emotional about this and are passionate about the grand final structure we've had," he said on Tuesday. 

"We certainly don't want to see walk-outs but I'm sure we'll work with fans over the next couple of days to try and help them better understand the rationale behind our decision."

Perth Glory chairman Tony Sage previously told radio station 6PR he was caught unawares by the decision and had believed clubs would be voting on the plan on Thursday.


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