Four Four Two
Straight from the stands
It’s a big month for Australian football. As we go to press, the Socceroos will have their World Cup fate decided, either by now, or in the next few weeks. We may even have a new coach by the time you read this. The A-League also gets underway, with a host of shiny new stars, as profiled in this issue. What’s more, we could have a whole new leadership group in place at the FFA before the year is out. The FFA have just weeks left to get their house in order and a new congress in place before FIFA steps in to kick Steven Lowy and David Gallop into touch and put their own men in place. Given the way stagnation, stubbornness and arrogance have become the hallmark of the current FFA leadership, change could either be the best thing... or the worst. For all the mis-steps and bad decisions along the way, and for all that we strongly disagree with fundemental aspects of their policy decisions, the fact remains that Australian football is in an infinitely better place now than it was when the Lowy dynasty took over in 2004. But it is also true that after 13 years, the current regime may have run out of new ideas and are stuck in an echo chamber rut, where they simply rinse and repeat what’s worked, ignore what isn’t, and are no longer the inspiration for change they once were... and simply become a roadblock to innovation and expansion. The A-League has grown to be a genuinely good competition that plays at a high level – but it is in desperate need of expansion. The narratives get repeated too often, the clashes too frequently replayed, the same songs sung, the same players scoring, and all too often the same teams getting defeated. The FFA has delayed on expansion for far too long. Obviously there are costs involved, but it’s their job to get that right, not just say it’s too hard. The model cannot be sustained at just 10 teams, especially when there are people lining up to sink their cash into new A-League clubs. But that’s just one aspect. There have been issues with fans, with sponsors, with the media, with club owners, with players, with everyone. The FFA should not be a popularity contest, but picking fights with everyone can only lead to one conclusion... Hello FIFA.