Outspoken A-League newcomers Gold Coast United have described Football Federation Australia\’s decision to deny them an opening round home game as a “slap in the face”.
The Queensland Roar will host the much-hyped season opener against United at Suncorp Stadium on August 8, ensuring a financial windfall for the cash-strapped Brisbane-based club.
An initial 2009-10 season draft had reportedly pencilled in United\’s 27,000-seat Skilled Park as the round one host venue.
But there was recent speculation that the FFA had switched it to the 52,000-capacity Suncorp Stadium to help the Roar.
Football Federation Australia chief Ben Buckley denied it, adding the game deserved to be played in the biggest and best venue available and that is Suncorp Stadium.
Apart from hosting fellow newcomers North Queensland Fury in the second round and Sydney FC in round five, United face a baptism of fire with a busy travel schedule in their first two months.
Fowler to face Sydney FC in A-League debut
Former Liverpool and England striker Robbie Fowler will make his A-League debut for newcomers North Queensland Fury against Sydney FC in Townsville on Saturday, August 8.
In other round one fixtures, reigning champions Melbourne Victory will play Central Coast Mariners at Etihad Stadium on the season opener on August 6 and second new team Gold Coast United will play Queensland Roar at Suncorp Stadium on August 8.
The draw for 2009-10 season was launched, with the league expanded by two teams, taking it to 10.
The season will now comprise 27 rounds, six more than previous seasons.
The format for the finals series has also expanded and will now involve the top six teams instead of the previous top four.
They will involve seven matches and offer more chances for the top two teams in the regular season.
There will also be a number of games to be played at new venues during the season.
These include Sydney Cricket Ground, Parramatta Stadium, and Perth\’s Subiaco Oval.
The Melbourne Victory kicks off the 2009-10 season against the Central Coast Mariners on Thursday 6th August.