FFA Cup can bridge gap between new football and old soccer

Beau Busch Roar Rookie

By Beau Busch, Beau Busch is a Roar Rookie

 , , ,

78 Have your say

    Perth Glory are one of the form sides of the A-League, can they defend their fortress against the Mariners? (AAP Image: Tony McDonough)

    Related coverage

    The introduction of the Football Federation Australia Cup appears to have been placed firmly on the back burner with the governing body focusing on building the A-League. But should the creation of a cup competition be a matter of urgency?

    And what role could it play in bridging the gap between A-League clubs and grass roots football?

    It has been part of a the long term plan for the sport since the beginning of the A-League, but as the curtain comes down on version seven of the competition the FFA Cup appears to be no closer.

    The reason is money, be it being spent elsewhere on a failed World Cup bid, propping up struggling A-League franchises or fears that the sport is not generating enough to establish a cup competition.

    All of these offer valid reasons as to why it so far has not been possible, it would cost a considerable sum but few other options offer the same opportunity for growth as a cup competition.

    Many will point to the need to stabilise and grow the A-League before a cup competition is introduced. This is a valid point, however the introduction of a cup could play a role in doing so.

    With clubs having recognised the need to form closer links with grass roots football a cup competition offers the perfect opportunity for doing so.

    Since the inception of the A-League some fans from the old National Soccer League have felt locked out from ‘new’ football.

    A cup competition would offer the chance for fans of clubs such as South Melbourne and Sydney Olympic to see their clubs back on the top stage.

    It would also offer an opportunity to welcome these supporters to the game by creating a more inclusive environment by uniting the top tier of football with local competitions.

    A cup competition would also offer a huge financial opportunity for clubs outside the A-League. If a television deal was secured a cup run for a state league club could provide vital funds as well as important exposure for the country’s lower leagues.

    Just as lower league teams in England dream of a cup tie with one of one of the Premier League’s heavyweights, state league clubs throughout Australia would no doubt relish taking on an A-League side with the chance of causing a famous upset.

    Having struggled to implement an effective expansion model a cup competition could provide a means of growing state league clubs so that in the future they may be able to make the step-up to the A-League.

    Even if this were to prove unlikely any strengthening of the state leagues across Australia would no doubt have a positive impact on the A-League, both in terms of bringing in more fans to the sport and developing players.

    A cup competition would also give football the opportunity to offer something that no other code can. This could prove an important selling point with a new television deal for the A-League being sought.

    There is much that can be done to improve the health of A-League clubs off the pitch but an inward and overly cautious approach may not be what is needed.

    If the FFA were to wait for the league to be in a strong financial position before a cup competition is introduced it is unlikely to be anytime soon.

    Can the game afford to wait? And perhaps a cup can play an important part in easing some of the A-League’s problems. Only time will tell, but at the very least it an offers an opportunity that is unlikely to be found elsewhere.

    Follow Beau on twitter @beaubusch

    This video is trending right now! Submit your videos for the chance to win a share of $10,000!

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (78)

    • March 21st 2012 @ 7:06am
      Football United said | March 21st 2012 @ 7:06am | ! Report

      yeah we all knew that it was a great idea ages ago. In fact, some were so convinced of the immediate benefits a cup competition could bring to victoria that they were proactive and started their own one with state teams given the opportunity to take on melbourne and hearts. but the ffa got scared that this comp would take off which it would with all the renewed local derbies. so BB killed it before his non existent comp would become irrelevant to Victorians.

    • March 21st 2012 @ 8:13am
      Kasey said | March 21st 2012 @ 8:13am | ! Report

      I’m sorry Beau,
      if your intention was to write an article to bring people like me around to the idea of an FFA Cup then with me you failed. In my experience (both online here and on other forums) is that the people that follow ex-NSL clubs (which I gather are the principle inhabitants of planet ‘Old Soccer’ have been nothing but dismissive, disruptive and insulting towards the fans and teams that make up planet ‘new football’. Incredibly some even allude to and infer that the lack of ethnic tensions on the terraces of HAL stadiums equates to less passion for the game of football. I distinctly recall many in the football community giving the new ‘plastic’ league a lifespan of 3 years max….we now have put almost 7 exciting seasons of football into the bank with hopefully many more to come.

      The A-League hasn’t been a run away success (how many new football leagues in sports-saturated markets are?), but it is very apparent that the League has the potential to be great and greater still. It is a work in progress and much needs to be done to continue the steady rise in playing standards and to improve the solid attendance numbers to be even better. These improvements are likely to come from an improved media rights deal leading to an increase in the Salary cap.

      By any stretch of the definitions, the new structure for football has brought many new people to the game of football. People that felt unable to connect with the game at domestic level prior to 1995 have connected with their HAL clubs in numbers approaching 9 million (over 7 years). The lack of funds at FFAHQ is the principle reason the recent Smith report recommended no further expansion and no FFA Cup amongst other things until the existing structure is deemed stable and able to support the disruption that introducing both new teams and a cup competition would bring to the system. So my question to you is why should the FFA put at risk the competition (by spending money it doesn’t have) to please a bunch of noisy keyboard warrior-malcontents** who are likely the noisy minority? I fail to see how spending more money the game doesn’t yet have will lead to potentially ‘easing some of the A-League’s problems’ Money IS the answer, but I feel your method for getting there is flawed.

      In an ideal world I think an FFA Cup has the potential to add something to the domestic football landscape, but given the experiences in the blogosphere, were the FFA to rush things and perhaps not get it perfectly right the first time, the damage to the image of the game could be immense. One mistake in the structure of the comp and the noisy malcontents who for 7 years have taunted new football with insults and derision about the FFA and its creations being plastic and anti-football would just have another reason to bitch and moan about the game.

      **akin to South Australians still bitter about the fact hat the VFL becoming the AFL has entrenched inherent inequalities in that league)

    • March 21st 2012 @ 8:17am
      Lucan said | March 21st 2012 @ 8:17am | ! Report

      The sooner the better.

      I’m not trying to beat the drum for “more football people at FFA”, but I honestly don’t think Buckley sees what a benefit this would be to football at all levels in Australia. If it is expensive to run, so be it, this is the sort of endevour that is worth copping a few years of losses over.
      Bridge the gap with an FFA Cup, stop widening the divide by continually putting it off.

      • March 21st 2012 @ 8:57am
        Kasey said | March 21st 2012 @ 8:57am | ! Report

        More football people at FFA sounds good in theory, but what the game needed in 1995 was businessmen with the ability to professionalise the running of the game. Of course football is not purely a business; it is a curious meld of business and passion. What would help more so that just adding more football people would be the opening of the ears of the businessmen at FFA to the voices of the most important football people – the fans. They FFA have made small steps in this regard, but like that crazy ex that goes off the handle the ‘one mistake’ you make and sets you back to square one, the FFA have an amazing ability to undo a lot of their good work by one or 2 boneheaded(or unexplained) decisions. I am sure that a lot of the bad will in the football community could be salved if the FFA were proactive and actually released information/press releases explaining their decision making rationale instead of just unilaterally making decisions and perhaps reacting later on to any negative remarks with a defensively worded presser.

    • March 21st 2012 @ 8:21am
      Savvas Tzionis said | March 21st 2012 @ 8:21am | ! Report

      One of the arguments against the older ethno-cultural teams is that no-one is watching them in the State Leagues.

      I suspect however that one reason for this is that there are many dormant supporter’s who would attend matches IF they were part of a better competition (like a FFA Cup).

      I think, however, that these dormant supporter’s (like me) would be even MORE enthusiastic about attending if a natiion wide league was started for the best clubs outside the A League (yes, another NSL).

      But I wonder if the old clubs’s have, like slaves used to, internalised all the negativity hurled towards them, and are frightened to be pro-active.

      • March 21st 2012 @ 8:58am
        Lucan said | March 21st 2012 @ 8:58am | ! Report

        Pro-activity is certainly there.

        See last year’s Mirabella Cup in Victoria, renewed and already underway this year as the “State Cup” even without a naming rights sponsor.

        South Melbourne have also participated in the 2010 and 2011 Singapore Cup as one of the invited sides. Not the most prestigious competition in the world, but clear evidence that there is the desire and pro-activity for such a comp domestically.

    • March 21st 2012 @ 8:58am
      Wasp said | March 21st 2012 @ 8:58am | ! Report

      I am an old NSL supporter who welcomed the A League. I support Blacktown and Sydney Olympic int he State comp as well watch Sydney FC in the A League. Those who felt threatened by change will never come across, they are sour grapes and will stay that way. Get over these people as many people from all backgrounds support football at all levels. Many don’t wabt to support Sydney FC (Can’t speak for other centres) due to locality, aspect that they cater for more the Eastern Suburbs and for many just too far. A second team in the west will bring many to the game, I would certainly support a new venture in the west, closer and I want to see the growth of our game and see great derby matches alongside all of our mixed society.
      The Cup I feel since it was run ceased back years ago is a great idea. To have teams like my old club in Lismore winning the local comp or ANZAC Cup there and progressing to play say Brisbane Roar at Oaks Oval, a huge crowd would roll up to see a little club playing a big boy.
      We saw this in Victoria with a small country tem who I now forget doing well last season in their Cup against city semi pro sides.
      Most people want to see the game progress and work alongside other codes in this country, let the sulkers drift back to their narrow world and try to live in the past. Change is always occuring, it may hurt some, but get over it and get behind FOOTBALL.

    • Roar Guru

      March 21st 2012 @ 9:00am
      SportsFanGC said | March 21st 2012 @ 9:00am | ! Report

      Have to agree with Kasey here, you cannot expect the FFA to introduce a Cup competition until the A-League is functioning really well, is stable and financially secure. Trying to start this competition now at a time when the League could very well contract to 9 teams (after having 11 just 2 years ago) is just nonsense.

      Lets focus all energy on the A-League at the present time. IF in 5-8 years we have a viable and financially sound competition with 10-12 clubs going then and only then should we consider something akin to an FFA Cup.

      Savvas – The NSL is done and dusted mate, time to move on. The reason that competition failed is because there was no money in the league and no one was watching the competition either. The NSL clubs are suburban clubs in their respective states and thats the way that it will stay.

    , , ,