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SBD Global/February 19, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

A-League CEO Damien De Bohun Defends League's Revamped Finals Format

A-League CEO Damien de Bohun "has defended this season's revamped finals format amid claims it disadvantages the top two teams and can potentially reward mediocrity," according to Ray Gatt of THE AUSTRALIAN. As the season enters the final stretch before the playoffs, more focus "has been put on Football Federation Australia's decision at the start of the season to remove the double chance for the teams finishing first and second, eliminate the preliminary final and make every game a knockout." Central Coast Mariners coach of competition Graham Arnold recently voiced his disapproval over the change, saying the finals series was "unfair." Arnold said, "You don't get any reward for being one or two." De Bohun is adamant that the grand final "will remain the defining game of the season and that the new format is fairer and does not disadvantage the teams finishing in the top four." De Bohun said, "I think when you look at the way it is set up, the top four teams will get to host at least one final and home ground advantage in the A-League is massive. I've been around the country, and I've seen the different grounds and crowds and home ground advantage is significant" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/19).
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