The Wellington Phoenix will kick off a footballing marathon during season seven of the Hyundai A-League.
The draw, released today, includes a “marathon” on Wednesday January 4 when five games are played consecutively over three time zones.
The Phoenix begin proceedings at Westpac Stadium with a 3 o-clock (1pm AEDT) kick off against Sydney FC. That will be followed by Melbourne Heart at home to Adelaide (5.15 NZT), Newcastle Jets v Gold Coast United (7.30 NZT), Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne Victory (9.45 NZT) and Perth Glory v Brisbane Roar (midnight NZT).
It is a novel concept that will be heavily marketed by Football Federation Australia and will be welcomed by clubs instead of the midweek fixtures that were a feature of season six.
Most clubs struggled financially with midweek games attracting poor attendances.
There will be one other midweek game for each club but these will be “owned” by the FFA with regions outside the two club-s boundaries invited to apply to host it.
For the Phoenix that will be against A-League champions Brisbane Roar on Wednesday December 14.
FFA operations manager Craig Kiely said the FFA acknowledged midweek football hadn-t worked for clubs a lot of the time.
“We have tried to reduce the burden on clubs by taking over those games,” Kiely said.
“It is important we position them in different markets to maximise the competition-s profile and to explore where future participants could come from.
“Dunedin have already expressed interest in holding that game (Phoenix v Brisbane), while over here it would be good if we could take a game to somewhere like Tasmania.”