In the midst of this governance farce, it’s time for fans to take back football

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By , Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

 , , ,

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    If self-interest lead to the demise of the National Soccer League, then Football Federation Australia is in danger of dying a similar death by a thousand self-inflicted cuts.

    What on earth is embattled FFA chief executive Steven Lowy playing at?

    By now we all know about the secretive meetings behind closed doors that locked out even the might of FIFA, thanks in no small part to the investigative work of journalists like Ray Gatt and Dom Bossi – not to mention the well-connected Bonita Mersiades.

    If Lowy can’t sit in a room and find a way to increase the FFA congress and give the rest of football a fairer say in how the game is run, then why is he still the chairman of Football Federation Australia?

    Because if Lowy is in it for the good of the game, the allegations that he talked the state federations out of agreeing to a 9-5-1 power-sharing split with A-League clubs and Professional Footballers Australia reek of a man who is merely in it for the good of himself.

    No one should expect a scion of industry to simply roll over in the midst of complex negotiations.

    But the fact that FIFA’s astonished representatives flew back to Zürich none the wiser as to how the deadlock would be broken is a farce of Shakespearean proportions.

    Put simply, Lowy’s position now appears to be untenable – which is presumably what a seething FIFA will announce the next time they pitch up on our shores.

    Steven Lowy and Peter Lowy

    (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

    In the meantime, there’s some not insignificant business to attend to, including the Socceroos qualifying for a World Cup next year, an official bid to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in the near future and the start of a new A-League campaign just around the corner.

    Are FFA up to the task? Because at the moment they appear to be spending all of their time waging war on the constituents they supposedly represent.

    It’s enough to make you throw your hands in the air and shout: “But what can we do?”

    And when it comes to issues of corporate governance, perhaps the honest answer is: “Not a lot.”

    But perhaps we can take a more existential approach, even if only among the loyal cadre of commenters here on The Roar.

    Perhaps we can think about what more we can do to contribute to the game we all love. And I don’t mean to think about it ironically, or sarcastically, or to pick holes in every single element of every simple suggestion.

    I genuinely mean to sit back and honestly ask ourselves how we contribute to football in Australia.

    If you enjoy watching an A-League club go around, are you a member? Or if you prefer a more grassroots approach, do you volunteer your time?

    If you’re into the national team, have you thought about lending a hand to the home end? Or if you’re a stalwart of a club in the National Premier Leagues, are you showing up at state league and FFA Cup games?

    Maybe it’s time to remind ourselves of why we love football and remember that while we’re busy pointing the finger at others, perhaps there’s more we could be doing ourselves.

    I’ve been writing this column for close to nine years now, and I don’t write it for personal validation or because I think it might lead to something bigger. I write it to be part of the discourse; because it’s my small way of contributing to our football culture.

    It’s an approach those who wish to hijack the game to further their own cause are welcome to borrow.

    And maybe next time someone tries to use football for their own self-aggrandisement, we might feel slightly more connected and somewhat less bereft.

    Because if football is these days merely the political plaything of the few, perhaps it’s time fans started thinking of some ways to fight back.

    Mike Tuckerman
    Mike Tuckerman

    Mike Tuckerman is a Sydney-born journalist and lifelong football fan. After lengthy stints watching the beautiful game in Germany and Japan, he settled in Brisbane, and has been a leading Roar football columnist from December 2008.

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