Five things football needs to achieve in order to take over AFL

andresilva10 Roar Pro

By andresilva10, andresilva10 is a Roar Pro

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177 Have your say

    Controversy – A prolonged public disagreement or heated discussion. A perfect word to sum up what is about to occur when people are finished reading this article, especially AFL fans.

    I know this article will divide opinion, but if Australian football is able to achieve these five things then I truly believe it will become the most popular sport in this country, albeit in another 15-20 years.

    1. Ensure the participation rate is growing
    A study recently conducted in April showed that football is in fact the most popular sport in Australia with a total of 1.1 million people preferring the round ball. This is 4.5 per cent of the population, with the AFL not even in second place, as golf claims runners up.

    If Football Federation Australia is able to identify improvements for the grassroots program (kids aged 5-9) such as importing better coaches from overseas and putting more money aside for local clubs around the community, the participation rate will only rise.

    The Aboriginal community is full of talented athletes with huge potential. This is one area where the AFL has taken control over. They have provided programs which has resulted in 90,000 Aboriginal participants, making up 9 per cent of the AFL list.

    Take Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti for example. His strength and exhilarating pace can only make you wonder how talented he would be playing football with the right skills and technique taught to him. If the FFA are able to address this area, it would be a big boost.

    The inception of the W-League and the Matildas’ run at the 2015 women’s World cup has increased the participation rate for women’s football substantially. This is one big advantage football has over footy, because of the sport being safer than Aussie rules and in general just being a simple game to play.

    From the start of this year, the AFL knew they had to act, which they did by beginning the inaugural WAFL season. Despite the big crowds for the first season, it will never be as successful as women’s football, for the reasons mentioned.

    2. Get rid of the A-League salary cap
    Ever since the departure of Alessandro Del Piero, I’ve always said that the salary cap in the A-League needs to go. In order for football to surpass AFL, it just simply has to go.

    People will argue that without a salary cap ($2.6 million) the competitiveness will vanish and the weaker teams will end up in bankruptcy. This happened to North Queensland Fury and Gold Coast United, with not enough money at their disposal to properly function. This argument is true, but there are ways to operate which will not lead to those unfortunate scenarios.

    Melbourne City have partnered with English club Manchester City in an attempt to grow the club which are currently second best to Melbourne Victory. The billionaire sheikhs at Manchester City have provided the Australian club with the necessary financial resources to compete.

    This has shown through their facilities and the players being brought in such as Tim Cahill, Bruno Fornaroli and Aaron Mooy (who is now Australia’s most expensive ever transfer).

    The MLS and CSL have dominated recently because of the money being thrown around to lure world-class players. David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo, Steven Gerrard, Carlos Tevez, Didier Drogba, Sebastian Giovinco to name a few.

    The FFA need to get this ‘fair play’ out of their heads and enforce other clubs to implement what Melbourne City have done. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (28) playing in the Bundesliga is one of the best strikers in world football and is on the verge of completing a move to China, showing just how much money talks.

    Take a moment to imagine how big it would be for this country to make a marquee signing such as the names mentioned above. 100,000 turned out for a friendly game between Liverpool and Melbourne Victory a couple of years ago containing Steven Gerrard. A signing like that would’ve increased crowd numbers and TV audiences without a doubt.

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic (35). Iker Casillas (36). Fernando Torres (33). These are three world class names that are currently free agents. If the FFA would move faster in abolishing the salary cap, one of these signings could become a reality for the A-League.

    3. Build more football stadiums and facilities which are not owned by other codes
    In 2015, the AFL refused to swap a scheduled game between the Western Bulldogs and Fremantle in place of the A-League grand final. It was an absolute disgrace, and showed just how cautious the AFL is over football.

    The match had to be moved to AAMI Park with a crowd of 30,000 people. Being at the game myself, the atmosphere is something I’ll never forget, but the spectacle missed out on an extra 25,000 fans entering the stadium.

    Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney need to build another stadium purely for football that would hold at least 50,000. The grounds at Etihad stadium, Adelaide Oval and Allianz stadium are in poor condition after matches played by the AFL and especially the NRL. The FFA needs to move away from this environment, and start investing in stadiums not affected by other codes.

    Melbourne City have done well in providing multi million dollar facilities ($15 million) including training grounds, gyms, physio and coaching rooms, only owned by the club. A new vision which leads by a great example.

    Even AAMI Park’s rectangular stadium isn’t just football based. It is home of the Melbourne Storm and the Melbourne Rebels which also doesn’t help the state of the pitch for A-League matches. Collingwood and Melbourne football clubs have been able to use the stadium’s training facilities, causing further annoyance among Melbourne fans.

    A-League fans have adopted European scarf wearing

    (AAP Image/Joe Castro)

    4. A-League games and advertisements need to be broadcasted on free to air regularly
    SBS’s decision to broadcast one A-League game a week was a huge step forward. With Fox Sports managing most of the TV rights, it’s hard for the FFA to strike deals with free-to-air television broadcasters.

    Channel Nine has been broadcasting international Champions Cup games involving high profile clubs such as Real Madrid, Manchester City and Roma last year. The Brazil and Argentina friendly only last month was shown on the same channel.

    It’s probably the FFA’s most likely chance of organising a deal with a free-to-air network. Going head to head with AFL games on a Saturday night would only grow the game.

    Advertising the A-League has been a real disappointment ever since the beginning in 2005. Ads such as ‘you’ve got to have a team’ and ‘united’ have been very smart promotional campaigns. However, it doesn’t attract as many people such as the AFL, because it is not shown on a major free-to-air channel.

    Sponsor billboards and outdoor advertising wouldn’t mean much of a financial sacrifice. TV ratings and crowd attendances would rise which will only enhance the overall support of football in Australia. Just thinking about it, its scary just how much this sport can grow by applying these little improvements.

    5. Host a World Cup
    People who think the Olympics is a bigger sporting event than the World cup are kidding themselves. That title belongs to football.

    The unsuccessful bid for 2022 was a kick in the guts for all football supporters in Australia. Beaten by Qatar, it highlighted the reality that the FFA were falling behind other nations in terms of development and successful planning for the future.

    The 2014 World cup in Brazil was able to attract 6.5 million tourists from across the world to watch the event. For us being able to potentially host such an event, it would improve our country’s culture, reputation and the way we see football.

    Australia’s run at the ’06 World cup in Germany was incredible for Australian sport in general. There was a real buzz around places such as Federation Square and Sydney’s CBD creating excitement and a real vibe. You can only assume an even better atmosphere if the Aussies were to host one.

    Matthew Leckie Australia Socceroos 2016 Football

    (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

    Recently the FFA announced they would submit a bid for the Matildas to host the 2023 women’s World Cup. It would attract massive crowd numbers and advertise the game to women over here.

    The AFL is not invincible, and football has the potential to prove that and take over as Australia’s most popular sport. The FFA just needs to back themselves and improve on the factors mentioned above in order to take the next step. Football in this country has come too far to suddenly go backwards.

    Football is the pinnacle for most countries around the world. Now its time for a change at the top in Australia.

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    The Crowd Says (177)

    • July 4th 2017 @ 7:58am
      Josh said | July 4th 2017 @ 7:58am | ! Report

      Yet another aspiring pundit spouting unrealistic rubbish for the sake of generating a pointless off-season debate. I realise not much is happening right now, but surely I’m not the only one growing tired of these crowd-sourced opinion pieces.

      I’ll be back (to the football tab, anyway) when the football begins.

      • July 4th 2017 @ 10:10am
        Sydneysider said | July 4th 2017 @ 10:10am | ! Report

        Agreed Josh.

      • July 4th 2017 @ 1:46pm
        Rollo Tomasi Jr said | July 4th 2017 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

        And yet, it doesn’t change the fact that at least 4 of the suggestions made by the author are EXACTLY what FFA needs to prioritise in order to take Oz football to the next level…if they are actually interested!

        • July 4th 2017 @ 4:40pm
          northerner said | July 4th 2017 @ 4:40pm | ! Report

          I think they’re interested all right. Like I’m interested in buying a Ferrari. I just don’t have the money and neither does the FFA. The author should have delved a bit more deeply into how all of this will be financed, because otherwise, it’s not much more than a wish list.

          • July 5th 2017 @ 11:28am
            Paul2 said | July 5th 2017 @ 11:28am | ! Report

            well said.

      • July 4th 2017 @ 7:32pm
        Swanny said | July 4th 2017 @ 7:32pm | ! Report

        Agree josh

    • Roar Guru

      July 4th 2017 @ 8:00am
      Atawhai Drive said | July 4th 2017 @ 8:00am | ! Report

      A free-to-air TV deal for the 2017-18 A-League season was announced on June 2.

      Channel 10 has come to the party, and will show the 7.30pm Saturday game on its One channel. This will be a live simulcast of the Fox Sports coverage.

      • Roar Pro

        July 4th 2017 @ 9:16am
        andresilva10 said | July 4th 2017 @ 9:16am | ! Report

        Yes I didn’t add that in. The step mentioned was to broadcast a-league games REGULARLY. Channel one will not help much with the growth of the game. It needs to be shown on channel nine or ten to help compete with the AFL

        • Roar Guru

          July 4th 2017 @ 9:28am
          Atawhai Drive said | July 4th 2017 @ 9:28am | ! Report

          There will be an FTA game every Saturday night, which seems fairly regular to me.

          Channel One, like Nine, Go!, Gem, Ten, Seven, 7TWO, SBS Viceland etc, is just another television channel, no more or less difficult to gain access to than the others. We all know how to use a remote-control device.

          Australian FTA television moved past the “main channel” orthodoxy a long time ago.

    • July 4th 2017 @ 8:39am
      Caltex Ten & SBS support Australian Football said | July 4th 2017 @ 8:39am | ! Report

      Step 1: Agree
      Step 2: Agree
      Step 3: Agree
      Step 4: Agree
      Step 5: Agree

      Christian – enjoyed the article and I am in total agreement with the premise of all the steps. However, the goals are huge hurdles to over come—if they can all be achieved, football will succeed. It’s a big call tho, and it will take more then 20 years to achieve. Participation is the key, coupled with football education, which is extremely important too.

      • Roar Pro

        July 4th 2017 @ 9:12am
        andresilva10 said | July 4th 2017 @ 9:12am | ! Report

        Probably the most difficult hurdle to overcome is being able to host a World Cup. The other 4 can be achieved within 20 years if the FFA start investing

        • July 4th 2017 @ 9:27am
          Gurudoright said | July 4th 2017 @ 9:27am | ! Report

          Investing with what? You are going to need hundreds of million dollars to build the stadiums alone.

          • July 4th 2017 @ 10:59am
            platypusFC said | July 4th 2017 @ 10:59am | ! Report

            Christian writes a lot of waffles without backing them up.

            Everyone knows his five points are great for Australian football but some are so unrealistic in the current and short term future they don’t voice them as we will sound thick.

            • Roar Pro

              July 4th 2017 @ 11:05am
              andresilva10 said | July 4th 2017 @ 11:05am | ! Report

              @platypusFC Did I say they would be achieved in the short term ?

              • July 4th 2017 @ 11:29am
                platypusFC said | July 4th 2017 @ 11:29am | ! Report

                “if Australian football is able to achieve these five things then I truly believe it will become the most popular sport in this country, albeit in another 15-20 years.”

                Sounds like you’ve put a timeline on things.

                Look, maybe you’re too young to understand this but Australia simply does not have the MONEY or POPULATION to justify your points.

                In this day and age you can’t just start building football-specific stadiums around the country. Where does the money come from? Can the population sustain this?

                Australia’s political influence is almost non-existent especially at FIFA. To think we will be able to outbid and outbribe China, Japan, South Korea and SE Asia is non sense. And we haven’t even started on the USA and England.

              • Roar Pro

                July 4th 2017 @ 11:47am
                andresilva10 said | July 4th 2017 @ 11:47am | ! Report

                We had the money to bid for the 2022 WC ($45 million) so I’m sure the FFA are financially strong enough to plan new stadiums.

                “Can the population sustain this?”
                Well that’s a good question that no one can answer as if yet.
                We’ll never know if the FFA don’t attempt anything

              • July 4th 2017 @ 12:24pm
                Gurudoright said | July 4th 2017 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

                Wasn’t that money given to the FFA by the Federal government? Ever heard of the old saying, once bitten twice shy?

              • July 4th 2017 @ 6:07pm
                Griffo said | July 4th 2017 @ 6:07pm | ! Report

                Christian, I live in Townsville so the building of a new stadium is very topical at the moment, considering ground work will commence later this year. The federal and state governments combined have put in $250M to fund this stadium for 25,000 seats. That is your asking price for one new stadium. How many do you want the FFA to pay for?

              • July 5th 2017 @ 7:12pm
                AR said | July 5th 2017 @ 7:12pm | ! Report

                “We had the money to bid for the 2022 WC ($45 million) so I’m sure the FFA are financially strong enough to plan new stadiums.”



              • July 4th 2017 @ 1:20pm
                The Auteur said | July 4th 2017 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

                The FFA doesn’t plan or build stadiums. That is the government’s role.

                All the FFA can do is provide input.

    • July 4th 2017 @ 8:49am
      striker said | July 4th 2017 @ 8:49am | ! Report

      I think to produce top class players the world wants and to go far in World Cups will give the game a massive boost and will only make us grow, i am not worried about AFL or NRL, we just need to engage with the football community which is massive to grow over time.

      • Roar Pro

        July 4th 2017 @ 9:20am
        andresilva10 said | July 4th 2017 @ 9:20am | ! Report

        Totally agree @striker
        Australia needs to discover its new ‘golden generation’ which will take time. As mentioned, if the grassroots program can find extra improvements, it would be a big boost

      • Roar Guru

        July 4th 2017 @ 10:37pm
        peeeko said | July 4th 2017 @ 10:37pm | ! Report

        exactly striker, this is the correct attitude.

    • Roar Guru

      July 4th 2017 @ 8:52am
      Grobbelaar said | July 4th 2017 @ 8:52am | ! Report

      Australian football already is the biggest sport in the country.

      • July 4th 2017 @ 10:47pm
        jeff dustby said | July 4th 2017 @ 10:47pm | ! Report

        according to your metrics, fishing and joggin are also big on that metric too

        • Roar Guru

          July 5th 2017 @ 9:06am
          Grobbelaar said | July 5th 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

          I’ll give you jogging, not sure about fishing.

    • July 4th 2017 @ 8:59am
      AR said | July 4th 2017 @ 8:59am | ! Report

      I would have thought one of the first things that needs to happen, is to stop obsessing about the AFL.

      (also a little strange that the author didn’t know that Fox has already transferred games to Ch.10. It was announced a few weeks back)

      • July 4th 2017 @ 9:22am
        Fadida said | July 4th 2017 @ 9:22am | ! Report

        Agree AR

        • July 4th 2017 @ 10:08am
          punter said | July 4th 2017 @ 10:08am | ! Report

          Fadida, the other needs to be asked is why is AFL obsessing on football, so many AFL ‘fans’ on the football tabs, so many AFL journalists/media obsessed with football too.

          • July 4th 2017 @ 10:14am
            Caltex Ten & SBS support Australian Football said | July 4th 2017 @ 10:14am | ! Report

            Ain’t that the truth!

          • July 4th 2017 @ 1:06pm
            Fadida said | July 4th 2017 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

            I assume that like the rest of us AR scans topics of interest and contributes where he feels he can have some input. The headline is inviting AFL fans to read and comment

            • Roar Guru

              July 4th 2017 @ 1:16pm
              AdelaideDocker said | July 4th 2017 @ 1:16pm | ! Report


              Pity that earlier in the week I encountered several football forum regulars who weren’t all that pleased with the presence of AFL fans.

              • July 4th 2017 @ 2:25pm
                punter said | July 4th 2017 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

                We welcome all, but you come out swinging & you wonder why some may question your agenda.

              • July 4th 2017 @ 10:08pm
                covfefe said | July 4th 2017 @ 10:08pm | ! Report

                Well, if you lead with you chin all the time………..

            • Roar Pro

              July 4th 2017 @ 1:25pm
              andresilva10 said | July 4th 2017 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

              Exactly right @Fadida

            • July 4th 2017 @ 2:24pm
              punter said | July 4th 2017 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

              So you are saying all those AFL fanboys scan topics of interest & contributes their usual anti-football agendas, interesting!!!!

              • July 4th 2017 @ 2:43pm
                Fadida said | July 4th 2017 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

                There are unquestionably a few who are on here to troll, and a few who are simply imbeciles.

                Alternately there are a few football regulars who immediately jump in swinging at the first sign of an “crash and bash” fan dipping a toe in the”true believer” waters. A good argument is a good argument, regardless of who makes it. There should be more playing of the ball and less of the man.

                Personal grudges make posters look ridiculous. I can’t abide by Fuss’ nonsense a lot of the time but he does also make plenty of good points (though the delivery needs work!).

                I have frequently found myself agreeing with AR, and when I don’t it isn’t because he is an “AFLer”, is because I don’t agree.

                It has been mentioned before (usually overlooked or mocked), but you can actually like more than one code/sport, and actually have a valid opinion on more than one sport. One doesn’t require “expert” knowledge to contribute to a discussion

              • July 4th 2017 @ 4:51pm
                AR said | July 4th 2017 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

                We need more Fadida on this site.

              • July 5th 2017 @ 9:02am
                punter said | July 5th 2017 @ 9:02am | ! Report

                Beauty of the opinions sites, is that we have different opinions & mine is definitely different to yours on AR.

                I don’t disagree with what sport one supports, I take umbrage on those who only come on with negative agenda driven comments to put football or A-League down, I have no issues with The Wookie & he is a AFL fan & again not always agreeing with him.

                We get accused by some of these AFL fanboys of following just one sport, well, this is my favourite time of year during the off season of the A-League season, the Northern summer & the bevy of sport on. The Tour de France (go the Tasmanian), the tennis majors, especially 1/4s onwards time, love the golfing majors, love the theatre, then pending on what year there is the WC, the Olympics & the Ashes in England, love them all.

                But just because I do not follow AFL, I don’t comment too often on the AFL tabs, but you see lots of AFL who clearly doesn’t follow football on the football tab. My original question above is WHY?

              • July 5th 2017 @ 11:31am
                Paul2 said | July 5th 2017 @ 11:31am | ! Report

                Very well said, Fadida.

                There’s actually some comments being lodged here.

      • Columnist

        July 4th 2017 @ 1:34pm
        Stuart Thomas said | July 4th 2017 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

        Agree. When people in any walk of life start talking about ‘takeovers’ they have missed the point. Good on the AFL, they have a great product, millions love it, I love it. I don’t need football to destroy it or dominate it or become bigger. It probably will one day, personally, I won’t feel some sick feeling of satisfaction, as much as I sympathise with the battle football has had in this country for many years.

        • Roar Guru

          July 4th 2017 @ 10:38pm
          peeeko said | July 4th 2017 @ 10:38pm | ! Report

          well said

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