A-League winter move excites Mariners boss

Ed Jackson
The Mariners are excited to be playing next season's A-League during the winter

Central Coast chief executive Shaun Mielekamp has welcomed the A-League's partial shift towards playing in winter months.

The 2020-21 A-League season will be played from December to July after a revised broadcast agreement was struck between the FFA and Fox Sports last week.

FFA chief executive James Johnson has hinted the move to at least play some of the competition in winter may extend beyond the 12-month broadcast arrangement if it proves to be a success.

Domestic professional football in Australia has been a summer sport since 1989.

Mielekamp says the move is worth a go as the league aims to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

"There are heaps of questions to be answered in regards to the long term, what a winter code will look like for the A-League, but for us here and now we're quite intrigued by it," Mielekamp said.

"We're very positive that this could be something very good for us to be able to really engage with grassroots in their season.

"It's not exactly a move fully in through to winter because it's still pretty warm in December and January, but it does allow us to really get going with with the A-League, get going as a club and allow us to help build and grow participation numbers and connect with the grassroots."

Mielekamp says the impact of the reduced deal, reportedly worth $32 million, will only be truly known once clubs know their slice of the income.

With many of the club's staff still on the government's JobKeeper program, Mielekamp admitted the league's shutdown since March had been a tough period for the Mariners.

"What's going to happen in the league has been the big cloud that's been hanging over us," he said.

"The amount of times that we made a plan that it might go this way, might go that way but now we can have some surety about what we need to do moving forward.

"One thing that we're very good at, we're very skilled at, is we're used to cutting our cloth and working off the smell of an oily rag.

"It's almost going to be one of the advantages for us that we are very rehearsed at working in tight budgets and working in some pretty strict parameters."