Mega derbies will dominate the A-League landscape in the future with a new rivalry expected to be launched in Brisbane.
A-League boss Damien de Bohun raised the prospect of massive derby crowds flooding to the iconic MCG and Sydney's ANZ Stadium.
And in a comment likely to fan the flames of interstate rivalry, de Bohun said the Sydney v Wanderers clash had already surpassed its Melbourne counterpart.
Football Federation Australia will negotiate with clubs about holding one of their derbies at a neutral venue each season in a bid to attract new followers to the game, with a financial model to split the income between the clubs still to be worked out.
“The Sydney derby has become the marquee fixture in the A-League in a short period of time," de Bohun told footballaustralia.com.au.
“The Melbourne derby is a wonderful fixture as well, but it’s fair to say the atmosphere at the Sydney derby and everything that comes with it has just gone past that marginally.
“From our perspective one of the challenges is making sure enough fans and also new people will get to experience it (the Sydney derby).”
Melbourne Victory versus Melbourne City and the Sydney derby have become among the hottest tickets on the sporting calendar.
“From our perspective it’s what’s best for football and what’s best for the fans," de Bohun said, "and if that means playing a game at a neutral venue which is bigger once a year to give access to people who wouldn’t otherwise experience football, then we need to look at that seriously.
“We’d like to think 83,000 could attend (the Sydney derby). There’s no reason from our perspective why you wouldn’t focus on selling it out. We’re not there yet, there’s work to be done but it’s certainly something we’re exploring.”
In respect to the Melbourne derby he added: “It’s selling out consistently... but one of the great sporting cathedrals is the MCG and that’s something we should contemplate with both Melbourne clubs when the time is right.
“So it’s about giving fans access and letting them see this fantastic spectacle with the derbies, the passion.”
FFA’s preferred expansion model is to put more clubs into major cities, with the growth corridor of Logan in Brisbane, west of Melbourne and south of Sydney under the spotlight.
“The success of the derbies suggest Brisbane is a market you’d need to look at seriously (for another club),” de Bohun said. “Every market is quite unique so we need to be mindful of that.
“We will work with all 10 clubs to make sure we respect and understand the investments they’ve made and that we don’t diminish that through the decisions we’ll make.
“But there is clearly an argument that says competition in Melbourne and Sydney markets has proven to be one of the strongest parts of the league. Creating more of that is something we need to look at seriously.”comments