Glory chief Sage launches audacious bid to hijack A-League grand final

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Perth Glory chief Tony Sage is lobbying FFA to switch next Sunday’s A-League grand final to WA’s Optus Stadium, should Tony Popovic’s side down Sydney FC to reach the decider.

Sage has dubbed the audacious move a “no brainer” for the governing body, claiming it would likely net them $1.5 million in ticket receipts.

Citing the 57,000 seats sold in just four days for last season’s finale between Glory and the Sky Blues at the same venue, Sage said uprooting the game from Sydney would provide both a “spectacle and a windfall”.

The grand final is currently locked in at Bankwest Stadium, but can only be played in front of a token crowd due to NSW state government COVID-19 rules.

However, there are no such restrictions in WA where AFL teams Fremantle Dockers and West Coast Eagles have been playing in front of 20,000-plus audiences.

“With the four teams already in the hub in Sydney there would be no government quarantine issues - and I think we would easily get 30,000 at Optus,” Sage told The World Game.

“There shouldn’t be any travel restrictions: you’d just move from one hub to another, and play the game.

“Of course this is hypothetical. But we think it should be looked at now, rather than after the game against Sydney (on Wednesday), assuming we get a result there.

“We know it’s a long-shot. But why not start the ball rolling at government level and put the plans in place, just in case?

“Quite apart from the financial side, it’s a better look for a showpiece match to be played in front of a big crowd (rather than a few thousand at Bankwest).

“I believe it’s a no brainier. Fantastic on TV and fantastic for profit. I think the FFA will go for it. But they can’t say anything now, as everybody expects Sydney FC to beat us.

“They’ve been the best team all year and it’s going to be a very hard game.”

Last season’s grand final - which newly-crowned premiers Sydney won on penalties - raked in around $3 million for FFA, whose current parlous financial predicament is well documented after a 50 per cent dip in Fox Sports revenues and the loss of a raft of sponsors.

Were FFA approval granted, Sage envisions Perth and players from the other semi-finalists Brisbane, Western United or Melbourne City chartering a plane to Perth, along with officials.

“The only issue would be the TV commentary team who’d have to self-isolate, so they couldn’t come,” he added

“But they can it from the studio feed.

“Next weekend is clear, there are no AFL matches because both the Eagles and Dockers are leaving to go to the next hub.

“And I don’t think we’d gain any particular advantage (by playing at Optus). We’ve only played three matches there in four years - so it’s not our home ground.”