Playing in the Asian Champions League final will cause a backlog of matches for Western Sydney.
Western Sydney stand on the brink of creating Australian sporting history but will cause a scheduling nightmare and are likely to be kicked out of their home along the way.
The Wanderers reaffirmed themselves as a force to be reckoned with after their 2-0 win over FC Seoul on Wednesday booked their spot in the Asian Champions League final of their maiden campaign.
It was a remarkable achievement for a club that only came into existence just two short years go.
The Wanderers will become the first Australian side to lift the continental title should they find a way past Saudi Arabian juggernaut Al Hilal in the final.
Adelaide United are the only other Australian side to have gone as far as the ACL showpiece before falling to Gamba Osaka in 2008.
This year’s final will be played over two legs, first in Sydney on October 25 with the return leg in Riyadh on November 1.
Those two dates will clash with the Wanderers’ round three and four A-League fixtures at home to the Central Coast and Brisbane.
This means they’ll face a backlog of matches later in the season with both fixtures to be rescheduled as midweek games. Football Federation Australia will finalise the new dates in the coming weeks.
“Obviously Western Sydney will end up with a big workload but that’s just what comes with success,” A-League boss Damien de Bohun told AAP on Thursday.
“Maybe the silver lining is them being kicked out of the FFA Cup means they can save their legs for their many other challenges.”
While the lead up to the home first leg of the ACL final won’t be a problem, the Wanderers face a tough return from the second leg in Saudi Arabia with an away game against Wellington six days later.
Wanderers coach Tony Popovic was adamant it wouldn’t affect their season.
“It’s a good headache to have,” he said.
“We’re in the final of the Champions League and we have to work around it.”
Creating another headache for the Wanderers will be that they are likely to be moved from their Parramatta Stadium fortress to Allianz Stadium for the first leg on October 25.
The 22,000-seater venue will likely be deemed unsuitable to accommodate the large crowd a Saturday night final would draw, along with other media and VIP requirements.
“Our preference of course is to stay at Parramatta but if the AFC decides otherwise and it get taken out of our hands we’ll play wherever we have to,” said Popovic.
Having had time to reflect on the accomplishment Popovic said it rated higher than reaching back-to-back A-League grand finals and winning the Premiers’ Plate.
“It’s up there with the very best things we’ve achieved but now we want to win it,” he said.
“Not just for us but for Australian football.
“Everyone will know who the Wanderers are and also, more importantly, everyone will take notice of the A-League.”