War of words erupts as fallout from A-Leagues grand final decision continues

As the fallout from the A-Leagues’ decision to sell their grand final hosting rights to Sydney continues, more clubs and players have taken to social media to clarify their positions, with one club shareholder and former director criticising the actions of a key decision-maker.

At 10:20pm AEDT on Tuesday, following an emergency meeting between club owners, the Australian Professional Leagues (APL) — which own and operate the A-League Men and A-League Women — released a statement doubling-down on their decision to partner with Destination NSW to host their showpiece events in Sydney for the next three years for a reported eight-figure sum.

“The Australian Professional League Club Chairs met today to reaffirm their support for the partnership with Destination New South Wales,” the statement said.

“As a result of the consensus achieved in this meeting, APL is committed to this new and significant partnership and the resulting generation of important new funds for football — all of which will be invested into the growth of the game.

“We believe in the potential for Australian football to close the gap on professional football in other parts of the world. We thank DNSW for sharing in that belief and our strategy to continue to grow the Australian professional game.

“Our immediate focus will be to work with partners to ensure accessible travel and accommodation for all travelling fans and to build a festival of finals football worthy of our game.”

When it was originally posted on social media, the statement was accompanied by the names of 11 club chairs — with the exception of Anthony Di Pietro, who resigned from his position on the APL board earlier in the day, and a representative from Canberra United — implying all had agreed to the information it contained.

However, the statement was soon taken down after some club figureheads — including Western United Football director Steve Horvat and Perth Glory chairman Tony Sage — revealed they never agreed to have their names included on the release, or were not part of the meeting from which the statement came at all. The APL then replaced the statement with one that had the names removed.

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