A-league sitting pretty with Asian Cup benches

The A-League will soon be ditching its most unwanted look - cheap plastic garden chairs on the sidelines.

The tacky seating, which left coaches and players exposed to the elements, will be replaced by high-tech covered team benches specially designed for AFC Asian Cup Australia.

The league will take possession of the benches after the tournament ends.

Socceroo Matt McKay tried out the new seating when the portable benches were unveiled in Brisbane on Tuesday.

They will be one of the most visible legacies of the biggest football tournament ever staged in Australia, which kicks off in one month on January 9.

It means the A-League is never likely to see a repeat of the infamous Kevin Muscat and John Kosmina spat when the then-Adelaide coach was sent sprawling off his chair by the combative Melbourne Victory skipper.

The 24-seat team benches, manufactured by a Queensland company, will be used for the first time at the Asian Cup from January 9-31 in the five host cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle.

After the tournament ends, Football Federation Australia will adapt them to become 12-seat benches for use by the A-League clubs. There will also be four-seat referees’ benches.

The aluminium benches were manufactured by the Bundaberg-based company Interseat. They are covered from the elements, transparent and portable. The seats recline and include foam head protectors.

“This is a stand-out legacy, one of the many benefits that will flow from holding the Asian Cup in Australia for the first time,” Local Organising Committee CEO Michael Brown said.

“They are high-quality, tangible assets that will help the game in Australia long after the Asian Cup is over.

“There have also been many upgrades to venues around the country, improved lighting, the resurfacing of pitches in Sydney, Melbourne and Newcastle, the Asian Cup education resource which is helping more than 50,000 primary school students, and the expanded fan base we will hand on to FFA.”

The AFC Asian Cup is Asia’s biggest football competition.

The 16 finalists will take part in a 23-day festival of football in five cities which the Socceroos will kick off against Kuwait on January 9, 2015, in Melbourne, with the final set for Sydney’s Stadium Australia on January 31, 2015.