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Australia’s A-League turns to Scudamore as advisor

Richard Scudamore, the former executive chairman of the Premier League, has been appointed a special advisor to clubs in Australia’s A-League and Greg O’Rourke, the head of the competition.

Australian football recently adopted a Premier League-style model when the A-League and W-League – the top divisions of the men and women’s games respectively – were separated from the country’s governing body, Football Federation Australia (FFA), ahead of the 2019-20 season.

“I am obviously delighted to be involved at such an important and exciting time for the professional game in Australia,” Scudamore said in a statement. “The strategic planning that has taken place is impressive and I believe I can very much help build on that work.

“The Australian game has so much potential for growth and global resonance. There is clearly the necessary commitment from the clubs to realise that potential as quickly as possible.”

The decision by the league to split from FFA has been driven by the ten A-League and W-League team owners who want to put some impetus back into Australian domestic football after years of stagnation. Attendances in the leagues have declined year-on-year in the last five seasons and TV audiences were at their lowest level for eight years in the 2017-18 season.

In a recent interview with SportBusiness, Luke Bould, chief commercial and marketing officer for FFA, said of the split: “We’re adopting a model that has worked in countries where football is the number one sport… here’s a clear view that the A-League needs more focus than perhaps what it’s had over the past ten years, and having an entity whose sole focus is on the two leagues is a positive thing. I think there has to be some change and we want there to be some change.”

Scudamore stepped down from the Premier League last November having transformed its commercial fortunes in the 20 years he was in charge. This was overwhelmingly driven by huge growth in the value of the league’s domestic and international media rights.

This is the second paid role he has taken since leaving the league. In June he was named on the European Tour’s Ryder Cup committee, where he is tasked with helping to boost Ryder Cup revenues.

Read this: FFA embraces ‘challenger brand’ status as A-League spin-off heralds new dawn for Australian soccer

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