Ange Postecoglou has spoken about the challenges facing the A-League and his own as coach of defending J.League champions Yokohama F. Marinos during COVID-19 lockdown.
Former Australia coach Postecoglou spoke to ABC's Offsiders from his home in Japan about the troubles facing the A-League and it potentially losing momentum in the Australian sporting landscape.
“Administrators talking about cutting costs – that’s nothing new," he said.
"I think what this has taught us is maybe administrators should look at cutting administration costs.
"My beef about sport has always been – when I’ve sat in boardrooms with the most impressive businessmen going around – never forget what your prime product is. And your product is the sport.
"So if you devalue the sport, you can save as much money as you want, eventually that devaluation is going to cost you.
"Football, irrespective of where it’s at, it wasn’t going great guns before this. Great chance [now] to reset the sport with football as its main core.
"Hearing administrators talking about cutting costs – inevitably they go to the sport first – has never made sense to me.
"The sports that come out of this understanding that will be the ones that prosper the most.
When asked about his personal challenges as Yokohama coach dealing with lockdown in Japan, Postecoglou replied:
"We lost round one [of the 2020 J.League season], so I’ve been sitting on a loss for the last couple of months!
"It’s a bit of a surreal situation, one that we probably haven’t been geared up to deal with.
"Management is all about dealing with crises, and being prepared for potential crises, but to lose control of things – which we all love to have – has been a challenge.
"Its taken an adjustment, not just from a professional sense.
"We’re so oriented towards some sort of target. Having that taken away from you, having no control over that, it’s been a time of reflection and trying to find purpose in other ways - normally that the hours of the day are well accounted for.
"In team sports, when you talk to sportspeople who have retired they’ll tell you what they miss most about it - as well as the playing aspect - is the dressing room, the sheds.
"Just walking in and being able to connect with other people – and that’s the hardest bit at the moment.
"People can be pushing themselves on an individual basis, but you miss that day-to-day interaction with teammates, the banter that goes back and forth.
"So I’ve tried to encourage the guys to have as many meetings amongst themselves without the coaches as possible.