The Roar
The Roar


Football needs change, but not for change's sake

What kind of leadership does football in Australia require? (Photo by Paul Barkley/LookPro)
Roar Guru
16th March, 2017

There is much debate recently pertaining to FFA and their inability to react to change. Let’s be up front and say much of the current problems are of FFA’s own making, having created expectations within the broader football community they could not deliver on.

My dilemma is not that change is needed, but what change to make, and who gets to decide.

A lack of analysis had led to uninformed recommendations and attacks totally lacking in credibility.

Rather than defend FFA, my approach is to talk about two simple aspects.

The Whole of Football Report
In this 2015 report, a major stand out item was that Australian players had only an 18 per cent conversion to watcher compared to other codes, where the base was 86 per cent. This followed on previous reports with similar outcomes.

FFA research on player conversion concluded one of the major reasons was the lack of mainstream media support, and that football was not accepted as a sport in the same way as league, union and AFL.

FFA devoted much time and effort to turn that around and have been successful, yet this platform needs to be built upon.

Without analysis, recommendations are invalid
I find it impossible that when the last media deal was signed that Frank Lowy, the FFA board and David Gallop were unaware of the importance of international breaks.

Fox and Channel Nine are both on record as saying they don’t support the breaks, as they lose viewers.


If, there was a revenue cost to FFA to have international breaks, then the discussion should be about how much we are willing to pay for the breaks. My assumption is FFA made the decision to forego international breaks for revenue reasons, choosing money over breaks.

I highlight this one aspect to show that many criticisms of FFA are inaccurate and unbalanced, which masks real issues and who has made mistakes.

Anyone who has ever worked on a committee will tell you things just get bogged down by selector interest and infighting. One of the chief causes of the NSL failure was the committee systems many clubs had.

Do we want an ‘enlightened dictatorship’ or democracy running the gmae?

Should whoever is in charge make decisions after a broad representation of the football community votes, or do we want a model that listens to various views and makes timely decisions?