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Mar 27, 2013

A-League puts broadcasters above schedule

David Gallop says the A-League won't budge in its polarising scheduling plan for the final round of the regular season, with matches played over four days rather than simultaneously.

Central Coast coach Graham Arnold says the model takes away from the credibility of the league with major competitions overseas, such as the English Premier League, playing all final-round games at once to ensure suspense and integrity.

However, Gallop stressed the A-League is in a unique position because of its fierce competition with rival football codes and the importance of honouring broadcast agreements outweighs the need to change the schedule for next season and beyond.

"Because we're in a competitive environment we need to continue to play games in timeslots where we get maximum exposure - not only at the grounds but on television," Gallop said.

"Playing all our games in one time zone isn't going to do that.

"It's an important part of a commercial driver of the game so it's not easy for us to move to that kind of model."

Gallop said the same goes for scheduling during the season, in and around international matches.

Despite the increased presence of A-League players in the Socceroos set-up, Gallop said the A-League couldn't afford international breaks.

"We're not in a country where football is the only target. And we need to be continuing to provide time slots for our broadcasters which drives the commercial revenue of the game," he said.

With the Western Sydney Wanderers attempting to wrap up the Premiers Plate on Friday night in Newcastle, Gallop hailed the debut club's achievements as "unprecedented" in world sport.

Gallop and the FFA will support a push to either upgrade Parramatta Stadium or build the Wanderers a new base in western Sydney - with the club's swelling supporter base proving they need something bigger.

That said, the Wanderers' home final will remain at Parramatta Stadium rather than moving to Allianz or ANZ Stadium.

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