Australia's Asian Cup organisers have yet to make critical decisions over match venues in hosting cities for the tournament that kicks off in January 2015 - but they would like to see the A-League go into a temporary shutdown for at least part of the three week competition.
Michael Brown, the CEO of the Local Organising Committee, today said that the tournament, which will pit 15 of Asia's top soccer nations against hosts Australia, would likely prosper more if it wasn't competing against domestic soccer matches.
The Asian Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the world, and, organisers say, will showcase Australia and its soccer industry to a potential television audience of 2.5 billion.
It will cost some $75 million to stage, with the bulk of the cash - $61 million - coming from Federal and State Governments in a 50/50 split. The rest is expected to be generated by ticket sales to a cumulative audience of around 500,000, a minimum figure organisers expect.
Sydney will stage the final, two semi finals, the third place play off and a quarter final. Melbourne will stage the opening game, and could host the Socceroos if they make it to the quarter final. Sydney gets the lion's share of critical games for two reasons - one financial, the other strategic.
The NSW government is investing more money in the tournament than other state governments on the eastern seaboard (Victoria, Queensland and the ACT) and finals matches are its reward. In addition, Brown said: "Melbourne is very busy at that time of the year with the Australian Open Tennis being staged and the singles finals will clash with the Asian Cup Final on January 31. But the opening game, on January 8, will be played there as well as six other group stage matches". But, he added, these were at present proposals awaiting final ratification by the Asian Cup Executive Committee next year.
Brown and his deputy CEO Shane Harmon were at pains to point out that they were not advocating a shorterning of the A-League season to accomodate the tournament, merely the creation of some clear air for it to capture the public's imagination.
"The two potential solutions are that we continue the A-League in centres which are not hosting games (Adelaide, Perth, Wellington, Newcastle, Gosford) or have a two or three week mid season break," Harmon said.