Promotion, relegation and expansion: football waits for the big step up | Joe Gorman

In the latest part of Guardian Australia’s series analysing the current state of the game, Joe Gorman looks at an idea that’s easy to like but much more difficult to implement – and the battle raging between expansionists and traditionalists

This was the A-League season when Tim Cahill came home, when video technology was introduced for referees, and when Sydney FC smashed several records to win the premiership and the championship. It was also the season in which the gulf between big cities, small cities and regional areas was most pronounced, in which A-League owners and National Premier League clubs grew increasingly impatient with Football Federation Australia, and interest in the A-League flatlined across the country.

The 2016-17 grand final was a fitting metaphor for the competition as a whole: a willing spectacle played on a shaky, uncertain surface.

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