Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou believes the A-League season should start a month earlier to give domestic Australian players the best chance of a Socceroos call-up.
The current season runs from October to May, although Postecoglou says a September start is the way to go.
“I think ideally for us if we had a (A-League) September start that would capture this window here but by having an October start you’re making it very hard for A-League players to be available for this window," Postecoglou said.
“The (A-League) season finishing in April is fine, ideally if you can extend it a little bit longer at the back end of the season but at the start of the season for us the September camp becomes problematic for any A-League players to be involved.”
Most of the top leagues in Europe begin in August, meaning players will have played 3-4 games before the first international break, and will be better prepared for international duty.
The Socceroos play World Cup qualifiers against Iraq and United Arab Emirates on September 1 in Perth and September 6 in Abu Dhabi, and the selection of the manager's squad reflects his thinking behind an earlier start.
Of the 23 man squad, just one player was selected from an A-League club, newly signed Melbourne City star Tim Cahill.
“The A-League pretty much finished in April and it’s been a long time off for those players,’’ Postecoglou said on his squad announcement.
“All A-League clubs are working their players to be ready for the start of the season which is in October not September.
“Last year this time we called up A-League players and they struggled with the physicality and intensity of what we do.
“It just made sense this time to wait for the October camp and we’ll have a look at the A-League players then."
As it stands, the A-League season opener is on Friday October 7, the weekend after the AFL and NRL grand finals, and the season would finish in mid-May, which would be 6-8 rounds into the AFL and NRL seasons.
While shifting the season a month earlier would likely lower attendances and TV ratings for the opening month of the A-League season as it battles with the finals series of some of the country's bigger sporting codes, it would also bring the A-League finals series forward a month, and would only conflict with the opening few weeks of the AFL season.
There are pros for starting the season in September as well as October, although a call from the national coach to reconsider changing the schedule should be something the FFA seriously look at.