Popovic: Football is here to stay

PERTH Glory coach Tony Popovic is unconcerned about poor A-League television ratings, saying Australian football will survive and eventually prosper.

Only 9000 people watched the Glory clash with the Central Coast Mariners last Saturday on Fox Sports, the club’s first game back after the COVID-19 suspension.

While the A-League has a revamped broadcast deal with Fox Sports until the end of next season, such figures on the first weekend back after the COVID-19-enforced break are a huge concern.

Nine times as many people watched a Formula One qualifying session.

The A-League match between Perth Glory and Central Coast Mariners wasn’t a ratings winner. Picture: Ashley Feder/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

However, Popovic is convinced there are better times ahead.

“We’ve come out of a difficult situation with COVID as other codes have,” Popovic said when asked about the ratings.

“There have been a lot of changes at the top level of football in this country, and changes are being made now for the better.

“I’m sure we’ll get through this period as a code and come the other end. I’m sure we’ll be in a better position.

“For now this is the situation we’re in. There are a lot of positive things coming up in terms of the national teams, the Matildas, the A-League going into a winter season, (AFC) Champions League coming up for clubs … there are a lot of positives on the horizon.

“We’ll get through this period and I’m sure the game will be what it is. It’s the ‘world game’ and it won’t go away.

“We all have our ups and downs in every walk of life. Football is no exemption from that in this country but we’ll get it right.”

Ahead of the Glory’s clash with Wellington Phoenix at Bankwest Stadium on Wednesday night, Popovic was unhappy at being again asked about the absence of Spanish maestro Diego Castro, who refused to finish the season in the NSW hub.

“It’s not just Diego, we don’t have Greg Wuthrich, we don’t have Kim (Soo-Beom), we don’t have Chris Ikonomidis … if it wasn’t for these questions I wouldn’t even speak about this anymore,” Popovic said.

“We’ve been training for five weeks without these players, we’ve just played a game of football.

“I think there are other things that we could discuss which are really positive from the match instead of keeping looking back.”

Meanwhile, Western United have re-signed Polish goalkeeper Filip Kurto for the 2020-21 season.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to continue this amazing journey that we have only just begun,” Kurto said.

“It’s a good club to be part of. I’m very happy.”

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