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Waiting for the democratisation of Australian Football

Roar Pro
25th August, 2009
47
1933 Reads

There were some very interesting developments that took place in the world of television football broadcasting recently. The first piece of news I found interesting was the BBC’s attempt to get football events such as the World Cup and FA Cup back on free-to-air television.

The Guardian report said that events such as the World Cup, Olympics and the FA Cup final benefited society as a whole if they were to return to free-to-air television.

Its research shows that one in five adults claim that watching at least one sport on TV motivated them to participate. What about the other four?

I guess that’s another researcher’s job.

Meanwhile, FFA chairman Frank Lowy stated in an interview to the SMH last week that the future of Australian football needed free-to-air to be included in it.

Speaking to Michael Cockerill, Lowy said: “We have a contract now, until 2013. I’ll do my damndest to make sure we get free-to-air after that. We can’t do it beforehand. These people [Fox Sports] are not going to give up. They came in and took a punt, a big punt; they gave us the basis for the competition. They’re not going to give up their contractual rights, and I don’t blame them for it. But the future needs more teams, a second division, and also some free-to-air.”

In Argentina, football fans there are enjoying watching their teams go around on free-to-air television for the first time in eighteen years. A deal by the FA and the government was struck to ensure that all domestic top flight matches can be broadcast for free by any national television channel wishing to do so.

In a recent article penned by one my favourite football writers, the Guardian’s Marcela Moya y Araujo reported that Julio Grondona the president of the Argentinian Football Association (AFA) said the decision to give football back to the people was “like the parable of life itself.”

Standing next to Grondona was the president of Argentina Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, and she announced it as a “historic” day in the “democratisation” of football.

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While accepting an Argentina shirt from Diego Maradona, the president said “Football is an extraordinary business,” and “It doesn’t need to be subsidised. It needs to return the right to those who provide us with it to be enriched by it.”

She mentioned its importance as part of the cultural heritage of the nation, and referred to Argentinian football as a “registered trademark”.

The World Cup hosted by South Africa will be shown on SBS in all its glory next year. Whether you love them or loath them, knowing you haven’t paid for the privilege will make it taste that much sweeter.