Four Four Two

Straight from the stands

Australian Four Four Two - - UPFRONT - You can fol­low me or send me a tweet on @Kev­inAirs442 Kevin Airs Ed­i­tor

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.

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