Skip to main content
Best News Website or Mobile Service
WAN-IFRA Digital Media Awards Worldwide
Best News Website or Mobile Service
Digital Media Awards Worldwide
Hamburger Menu




Di Pietro resigns as APL director after sale of Grand Finals to Sydney

MELBOURNE : Anthony Di Pietro stepped down as a director of the Australian Professional Leagues (APL) on Tuesday after the country's top-flight soccer competitions sold the hosting rights to their title-deciding 'Grand Finals' to Sydney until 2025.

The A-League Men and Women's competitions have traditionally played their championship deciders at the highest-placed teams' home grounds but the agreement struck with the New South Wales state government means Australia's biggest city hosts the next three Grand Finals for both leagues.

The move was met with a backlash from fans, and Di Pietro, who is chairman at A-League club Melbourne Victory, said he could no longer maintain his role as an APL director and be able to freely advocate on behalf of the club.

"While I know first-hand the decision by APL was made with a view to growing the game and creating financial sustainability for the league, the fan and member sentiment has been overwhelming," he said in a statement.

"I cannot support maintaining a decision which is not in the best interests of the loyal Melbourne Victory faithful and football."

Di Pietro said his club had urged the APL to pause the plan and consider an alternative that will support the growth and stability of the league.

Melbourne-based Western United said they did not support the APL's decision and were not consulted about it.

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

"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."

Fans of Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory have threatened to walk out of their match on Saturday in protest.

"To (CEO) Danny Townsend and the rest of the APL: You have until Saturday to reverse this decision or one of your biggest fixtures will be played in front of an empty stadium," Victory fans group 'Original Style Melbourne' said on social media.

Source: Reuters


Also worth reading