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Men’s football continues to be undermined and fans are losing interest

As the Iszuzu Men’s A-League is coming to its 20th year in Australia, issues still arise over the continuous decline in followership. The question remains, are fans beginning to lose interest in the game?

Western United vs Melbourne Victory 2024, photo: Aisha Ambesi

Over recent years, Football Australia has been challenged by ongoing financial and organisational issues – leaving teams and their fans in the unknown regarding certain aspects of the game and the values of the system itself.  


Western United’s Media and Communications Manager, Nick Hughes said, “75 per cent of clubs are enjoying an increase in their average attendance compared to last season.” This is an average for most clubs within the league and it continues to stay around that percentage. 

However, statistics from Ultimate A-League show that 1,238,829 fans across all A-League clubs have attended games this season, which is a loss of 28,000 fans compared to pre-covid seasons.

Many clubs, such as popular teams Melbourne Victory, Sydney FC and most recently, Western Sydney Wanderers, continue to face “high profile negative media stories,” said Hughes.

This area of football commonly and continually causes strife for the teams themselves, as well as the reputation of the fans. These issues evolved from ticketing bans of fans from certain clubs to threats of complete club boycotts.  


The viewership on streaming sites such as Paramount+ has also declined throughout the 2023/2024 season.

Many football games are streamed rather than broadcast on free-to-air television and as fans continue to spend monthly to subscribe to platforms, less revenue is generated on ticket sales.  


Australia's Matildas vs Canada 2023, photo: Aisha Ambesi

“It has been an issue for me to attend because of the priorities I have with uni,” said Melbourne Victory supporter and RMIT student, Maxi Cardozo.  “It isn’t accessible anymore for me as it is too expensive, and I’d rather watch it at home.” 


Hughes continues by amplifying the success of The CommBank Matildas during last year's Women's World Cup. The tournament was the highlight for many football fans last year, with over 70,000 fans donning the green and gold in the stands during World Cup matches in both Sydney and Melbourne. 

The expansion of the Women’s A-league has also created a new perspective on football, and “The addition of several star Matildas across the league has brought huge engagement, as has the long-awaited move to a full home and away season,” said Hughes. 

The increase in attendance of the Women’s World Cup matches topped the charts for any game played in Australian football history. The team brought a newfound attention and created an elevated stance on Women’s football.  

Over the past five months, Football Australia has decided to create a second division of the A-league. The clubs involved include some of the established semi-professional clubs in Melbourne and many of the clubs competing from the suburbs of Sydney. The league will bring new attention to local clubs, and bring the A-League to a more personal level for many fans.


Fans have formed strong connections and history with their local clubs for years and as the National Second Tier emerges it will only build on and enhance those values further. Fans have been anticipating this change for many years, and are looking forward to the development of the league. 

“The second division is long overdue” said Cardozo and through this he believes it will, “invite more competition and allow for more talent to be presented in our country”. 

Will this be what saves men’s football? 

The Izuzu Men’s A-League final between Melbourne Victory and the Central Coast Mariners will kick off at 7:45 pm on Saturday, May 25.


1 Comment

May 22

great story!

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