Straight from the stands
In a sea of troubled waters for the sport in Australia, there are some good things going on to keep us bobbing along from one crisis to the next. Not many though... Thanks again to the inevitable curse of magazine deadlines and lead times, we go to press with Football Federation Australia’s future still hanging in the balance and an intervention from FIFA looking ever more likely, What’s more, threats from Federal Government to pull funding from the Women’s World Cup bid to strongarm support for FFA could have devastating consequences. If there’s one thing FIFA hates, it’s having its authority challenged and governments getting involved in football governance. In a worst case scenario, FIFA could suspend FFA’s FIFA membership, axe our World Cup spot and isolate our players and leagues globally. That’s the nuclear apocalypse of scenarios though and, like the brinksmanship playing out for real around North Korea, hopefully it won’t come to anything like that. While the Socceroos are currently rudderless since Ange Postecoglou finally confirmed he was quitting (and I still nurse the hope that was somehow linked to the FFA’s current plight and he will return to the position once FIFA send in a normalisation committee), we are now at least on our way to Russia (unless FIFA pull the plug over government interference). The new boss will only have a handful of games to get to grips with the side before the WC kicks off – but that is now something of an Aussie tradition. Incredibly, this is the third World Cup out of the last four that we ‘ve had a newly-hired coach. It leaves the door open for a potentially exciting appointment like Marcelo Bielsa or Andre Villas-Boas, or reward homegrown talent like Tony Popovic or Graham Arnold. And meanwhile, our Matildas look like world beaters. With Sam Kerr on fire, they are running amok, taking on the best in the world and smashing them. About to be ranked number 4 in the world, if they can maintain this current form, their trophy cabinet could soon be packed with the Asian Cup, Olympic gold and the World Cup. For real. And if that happens, the shame and disgrace of our current crisis will soon fade. Hopefully. What’s that you say? Hope dies last? Hopefully not... Oh.