Syd FC's Caceres backs A-L winter switch

Pamela Whaley
Anthony Caceres (back) says the FFA should consider moving the A-League to winter to combat heat

Sydney FC midfielder Anthony Caceres has urged the FFA and A-League to consider the complex process of moving the competition from summer to winter to improve the quality of Australian football.

A change of seasons would place the A-League in direct competition for broadcast dollars, crowds, stadia and media coverage with Australia's dominant winter codes, the NRL and AFL.

However, Caceres has added voice to a growing belief within the game that it would be best to take on the bigger codes rather than avoid them as summer conditions in Australia deteriorate.

"I think it's a pretty good idea to tell you the truth," he said on Wednesday.

"We dish up pretty good quality across the league considering the conditions we play in at times and I think the change would only lift the intensity of the games and improve the product of this league, so I think it's something worth looking into, definitely."

Cacere's view follows a report in Nine Media on Wednesday in which Professional Footballers Australia chief executive John Didulica and broadcast rights expert Colin Smith compelled the FFA to consider the radical switch.

Smith argued the European soccer leagues, not the NRL and AFL, were the A-League's biggest competitors for viewership and said business analysis was needed to help save declining crowds and ratings.

Players have long called for the code to revert to winter to improve the quality of Australian football.

So far this season several W-League and Y-League games have been rescheduled, while drinks breaks have been frequent through sweltering conditions in the A-League.

Sydney and Canberra teams have also been forced to change their training schedules to avoid hazardous air quality due to smoke haze from bushfires, and it is only set to get worse as the impact of climate change intensifies.

On Wednesday another fog of smoke blanketed Sydney impacting visibility, but Sky Blues medical staff concluded it was safe to train outdoors.

"These are extreme conditions, obviously," Cacares said.

"It's something that has affected everyone greatly. Looking at these conditions, whether we change the league from summer to winter is probably the least of our concerns with all the people that are suffering because of it, but obviously it's a discussion for the future.

"It's just a case of getting on with it. We haven't let it affect us mentally, I guess.

"Obviously you do feel it sometimes but you've just got to keep on going and get the job done."