For respect it appears. Six years ago Beckham arrived on the shores of the United States. Since then six new soccer specific stadiums and a collection of stars from overseas gave the MLS much needed credibility. Australia’s A-League could use a boost of their own. Today, the Asian Football Confederation took away one of Australia’s spots in the 2013 AFC Champions League.
[The]Executive Committee meeting in Kuala Lumpur today allocated to Australia one (1) automatic position and one (1) qualifying position for the 2013 AFC Champions League (ACL) competition. FFA is yet to receive details of the qualification process. The 2013 allocation compares unfavourably for Hyundai A-League clubs to previous years where there were two automatic spots, plus an additional qualifying spot in 2012.
Ouch. With two spots the Aussies are now on par with Thailand and Uzbekistan. The Central Coast Mariners are through automatically and the Brisbane Roar will have a good chance of qualifying, however, this is not a good development for the growth of the club game in Australia. Would the introduction of a mega star on the decline produce positive change? That’s a question teams with bigger wallets — Sydney FC being one — must ask themselves.