Is the cost of junior fees the next crisis in Australian football?

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By Mike Tuckerman, Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

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    We hear a lot about the production line of talent to the Socceroos breaking down, but is the problem only going to get worse given how expensive it’s getting for juniors to play the game?

    Reader Tim Malafouris contacted me recently to ask me to write about this topic and share his thoughts on what he called “the biggest problem in Oz football today”.

    Cost, says Malafouris, is one of the main reasons forcing talent to leave the game. He’s not alone in his assessment.

    My friend Jeremy Medina is a passionate supporter of all things Australian football, and two of his sons were recently selected for representative teams in Brisbane.

    “Bill $2700 and that’s cheap,” tweeted Medina. “Football becoming a sport for the rich. Too many talented kids can’t afford this.”

    It’s a sentiment we’re hearing time and time again. And for a country that only recently produced world-class talents like Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell, there are worrying signs the well is starting to run dry.

    “So many issues in football yet no one talks about the crippling and inflationary cost of participation,” said Perth Glory chief executive Peter Filopoulos on Twitter during the week. “A major issue which is being ignored.”

    When even A-League clubs are recognising the problem – and it’s worth remembering their connection to grassroots football hasn’t always been apparent – it’s safe to say it’s a concern creeping into the greater consciousness.

    So what’s the problem? Firstly, it’s the fact that average upfront fees for football can be more than double what it costs for juniors to play Aussie rules or rugby league.

    In many cases parents are paying more than $400 just to sign their children up for a junior team, and that’s generally excluding additional costs like team uniforms and match fees.

    Then there’s the raft of clubs at National Premier Leagues level that can charge up to $2000 for kids as young as six to receive elite tutelage from highly-paid coaches.

    Yet the suspicion has long been that some clubs are using junior fees to pay senior players to run around for the first team.

    However, the A-League doesn’t come out of this scenario smelling like roses either.

    The lack of a domestic transfer system means NPL clubs receive barely a few thousand dollars when one of their players moves to the A-League, meaning there’s no incentive to develop players to be on-sold domestically for a profit.

    Little wonder the Association of Australian Football Clubs is hell-bent on creating a national second division.

    The problem, at its core, comes down to misguided governance. The disconnect between Football Federation Australia and clubs further down the chain has never been greater.

    Greg O'Rourke David Gallop press conference

    (Image: Twitter/FFA)

    If the FFA’s remit is to oversee the whole of football in Australia, then they’re guilty of turning a blind eye to the growing range of problems festering underneath the A-League – the cost of junior fees among them.

    That said, some unscrupulous lower-tier clubs are only too happy to rob Peter to pay Paul.

    It’s costing us kids, and as Malafouris pointed out to me, ultimately impacting the amount of talent a coach like Ange Postecoglou has at his disposal.

    Fans who turn up at AAMI Park and tune in to tonight’s blockbuster between Melbourne City and Sydney FC will enjoy watching the likes of Australian-made talents Luke Brattan and Brandon O’Neill go around.

    But how much longer will that be the case if parents can’t afford to let their kids play the game?

    There’s a running joke in Australian football circles that we don’t have enough favelas to fuel a production line of talent.

    But we have enough football fields.

    The problem is, by the time parents get ready to unleash their kids on them, they’re often thousands of dollars out of pocket and already questioning their commitment to the beautiful game.

    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 since December 2008.

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    The Crowd Says (174)

    • November 3rd 2017 @ 7:42am
      Buddy said | November 3rd 2017 @ 7:42am | ! Report

      I believe this is a subject that needs breaking down into various areas and even possibly geographic zones if it is to make real sense.
      Grassroots fees are nowhere near the figures being quoted, at least not out in our district of Western Sydney. However, there are large variations between clubs as there are no rules or restrictions. An under 6 or 7 in my club is charged $70 for the season and the only additional cost is shorts and socks – $25.00. Even under 16 fees are under $200 for a season and that includes referees fees and no weekly charges.
      However, if you want to play in anything that has been classified as “elite” (not my terminology) then the costs start to add up and are likely to cost several thousand dollars per season. There are exceptions. As far as I am aware, neither Wanderers nor Sydney FC charge a cent to players selected in their youth squads. At least that was the promise when the debate took place as to whether the A League clubs should be admitted in the first place. Existing clubs didn’t like the idea as they thought there would be pressure to reduce their fees which tend to go towards senior player payments and the ludicrous set up that has been in place here in NSW for decades.
      We call it “rep football” whereas in truth the only thing it represents is a group of people willing to cough up obscene amounts of money for children to play a game that quite often isn’t any better than playing with their friends in the local park.
      One day, and probably not in my lifetime, someone will put a broom through the system and clean out all the vested interests and start again with each region having represenative teams that are not affiliated to any club and players are selected because of ability, not affordability. There will be no fees as the money will flow down, not up as it currently does. Coaches will be well qualified and be interest and dedicated to developing the talent not just winning matches. Until that time comes, kids and families will continue to be “fleeced” and burned out by the system and after a few seasons return to grassroots football wondering why they bothered to go through all the pain or the older teenager will refuse to play anywhere as they have had enough of a bad experience at a number of clubs and the sport isn’t worth it. All too common unfortunately, the amount of success and good news stories from the experience are insignificant compared to the horror stories… at least, that is the case in Sydney metro (imo)

      • Roar Guru

        November 3rd 2017 @ 7:46am
        Grobbelaar said | November 3rd 2017 @ 7:46am | ! Report

        Good post Buddy, I agree with you that it’s in the “elite” arena where we see a fair bit of price gouging – kids and their parents are chasing dreams – and he parents cough up the dough to chase it.

      • November 3rd 2017 @ 8:01am
        punter said | November 3rd 2017 @ 8:01am | ! Report

        Buddy, I pray this day comes sooner then later;

        ‘One day, and probably not in my lifetime, someone will put a broom through the system and clean out all the vested interests and start again with each region having represenative teams that are not affiliated to any club and players are selected because of ability, not affordability’.

        This is the biggest issue holding this country back, the agenda issues dating back the last 40-50 years, ‘what’s in it for me, instead of whats good for football in this country’.

        • Roar Guru

          November 3rd 2017 @ 8:16am
          Rick Figjam said | November 3rd 2017 @ 8:16am | ! Report

          You sound like Kennedy.

          • November 3rd 2017 @ 8:26am
            punter said | November 3rd 2017 @ 8:26am | ! Report

            Big hero of mine.

            • Roar Guru

              November 3rd 2017 @ 10:40am
              Rick Figjam said | November 3rd 2017 @ 10:40am | ! Report

              Yeah, I can understand why. Graham Kennedy was a funny guy.

              • November 3rd 2017 @ 10:56am
                jamesb said | November 3rd 2017 @ 10:56am | ! Report

                Oh Rick, you are going the early crow this morning…

              • Roar Guru

                November 3rd 2017 @ 4:45pm
                Rick Figjam said | November 3rd 2017 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

                Didn’t you get the funny side of that? I hope punter did.

          • November 3rd 2017 @ 9:31am
            Fadida said | November 3rd 2017 @ 9:31am | ! Report

            Josh Kennedy? Good feet for a big man

            • November 3rd 2017 @ 9:48am
              Post_hoc said | November 3rd 2017 @ 9:48am | ! Report

              Helps him walk on water

        • November 4th 2017 @ 9:35am
          j,binnie said | November 4th 2017 @ 9:35am | ! Report

          Punter – Don’t you get the “hidden message” behind some of the claims being made in this comment. After reading it I had cause to check with friends of mine who are involved in “junior football”. I was surprised to learn that they too believed there were players being paid in the semi- pro ranks of our game from monies gathered from “junior fees”.
          I have often wondered when reading this column where the money would come from to help maintain some of the claimants who are demanding a place in the HAL, After all $10 million is not exactly “small bickies” and yet despite asking some of these claimants I have never received a detailed explanation as to how they foresaw getting the necessaries to maintain themselves in that company.
          That leads us to the other problem facing the FFA. the top of the pyramid in football administration.
          Would someone please explain to me how decision making would be improved by introducing another 10 , 20 or even 30 people,all with differing agendas, into the melting pot.
          For anyone with localised committee operations experience, the mind boggles.
          Even at the highest levels of our game ,FIFA, the committee system of management has been found to be flawed with previously highly respected figures given a red card and banished to the sidelines.
          Are we following that route?. Cheers jb.

      • November 3rd 2017 @ 8:25am
        AGO74 said | November 3rd 2017 @ 8:25am | ! Report

        Good post Buddy. I agree with you on the junior fees quoted based on what I see where I live in Sutherland shire which is Australia’s largest junior football association.

        The vested interests comment doesn’t surprise me even though I’ve had no exposure to what you describe but the Stories I’ve heard suggest strongly at nepotism and/or downright fleecing.

      • November 3rd 2017 @ 9:49am
        marcel said | November 3rd 2017 @ 9:49am | ! Report

        Interesting posts Bud and Punt.

        …odd that the FFA Congress evangelists on this site can’t see that exactly these vested interests you speak of … and what’s in it for me people….are supposedly going to lead us to the promised land.

        • November 3rd 2017 @ 1:02pm
          R King said | November 3rd 2017 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

          sad but true. Maybe when FIFA get here and start to sort out the mess that is our Federations, maybe they will suggest that they are infact not the best people to elect the Board to run the game in our country.

          • November 3rd 2017 @ 3:40pm
            Brainstrust said | November 3rd 2017 @ 3:40pm | ! Report

            If FIFA intervene the mess will be a lot bigger.
            The easiest way to get more money into the system and have the A-league clubs get more of the revenue pie is to increase the contribution from registrations.
            Then you have the PFA and the NPL senior players wages are funded from overcharged juniors so why not get rid of the recently introduced restrictions on them.
            The second divison will result in further increase in player wages highly attractive to the PFA.
            So then even more money will be needed to fund that from the grass root pockets.
            It won;t be a disaster to have every player pay 50 dollars extra registration to fund all of the above but its not an improvement on the current system.

      • November 3rd 2017 @ 10:46am
        Kangajets said | November 3rd 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

        Totally agree with you buddy

      • November 4th 2017 @ 3:16pm
        Paul said | November 4th 2017 @ 3:16pm | ! Report

        Great post buddy the more I read your comments the more i want to deploy the proverbial broom.

        My thinking is all clubs should just return to their respective local association and let members of all ages and abilities enjoy their football. Their local football association should provide scouting or talent ID’ing then provide free training for the best players or as a centre of excellence.

        Footballing states bodies can provide the next level of football excellence or AIS-esque for HAL, WL. National teams from joeys/young matildas, olyroos to socceroos/matildas.

        Currently we have npl 1 2 3 and a state league or level 4 setup which benefits who? Not the emerging talents but those that can pay. This is factual.

        The talent is out there but it’s not managed correctly.

      • November 4th 2017 @ 3:58pm
        Footoverhand said | November 4th 2017 @ 3:58pm | ! Report

        Yep good post.
        Total fee’s in Victoria are:
        U12’s $20
        12-18 Metro $86
        12-18 Regional $34
        So the federations fee’s aren’t to bad.
        One thing the federations could do is charge less for coaching courses and make them more accessible, so more kids can be trained by qualified coaches no matter how much they pay.
        As Iceland has shown, for such a small population, they do have a large proportion of top players!

        Arrigo Sacchi famously suggested elite coaching should be open to people from any walk of life, from elevator operators to stockbrokers. At the end of the last century the Icelandic FA put this into practice. Bolstered by the TV money pouring into every Uefa country, Iceland set up an open, hugely popular training scheme. Currently this nation of 335,000 has around 600 qualified coaches, 400 with Uefa B licences, or one per 825 people. To put this into context, in England this number falls to one per 11,000.

    • Roar Guru

      November 3rd 2017 @ 7:43am
      Grobbelaar said | November 3rd 2017 @ 7:43am | ! Report

      While participation numbers remain high, and parents continue to pay, then it can hardly be called a “crisis”.

      Simon Hill reports on FFT this morning that by the end of November we could soon be without a Chairman, a CEO and a national team coach – that sounds more like a crisis.

      • November 3rd 2017 @ 7:56am
        punter said | November 3rd 2017 @ 7:56am | ! Report

        As one of the greatest voices of our time Mick Jagger, once said;

        ‘You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you find, you get what you need’.

        • Roar Guru

          November 3rd 2017 @ 8:33am
          Grobbelaar said | November 3rd 2017 @ 8:33am | ! Report

          although at the time of the father to son handover, there were plenty who stated publicly that that was precisely what they wanted.

          • November 3rd 2017 @ 12:09pm
            punter said | November 3rd 2017 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

            Did they or were like plet, who cares? Big difference.

      • Roar Guru

        November 3rd 2017 @ 8:07am
        Chris Kettlewell said | November 3rd 2017 @ 8:07am | ! Report

        Although, as per buddies comment above, if general low level club football isn’t too expensive, but the moment you get a to higher levels it becomes exorbitant, then you are going to find less players being able to play at the higher levels. The idea of charging juniors a fortune so you can take that money and pay senior players is patently obscene and shouldn’t be allowed!

      • November 3rd 2017 @ 8:16am
        Buddy said | November 3rd 2017 @ 8:16am | ! Report

        I did suggest in my initial response that the subject needs dividing up into distinct areas. Grssroots football will continue to attract plenty of families and it is reasonably inexpensive. I grant that there are clubs even at local level that dress themselves up as something else and charge accordingly but they are, I believe, a minority. There are councils that charge a fortune for the hire of fields, lighting etc but grassroots football can overcome those obstacles through the conmunity angle.
        It is the next few levels, when parents want their child to “take the next step” where the issues lie and whilst I don’t refer to it as a crisis, there are many things that require major surgery. In the meantime we can enjoy some A League and a world cup qualifier away from the rumblings of the boardroom and the squabbling that goes on as clubs and governing bodies fight over the scraps on offer further down the chain.

        • Roar Guru

          November 3rd 2017 @ 8:32am
          Grobbelaar said | November 3rd 2017 @ 8:32am | ! Report

          I agree with you on the point about elite programs, and needing to treat that as a separate issue.

    • November 3rd 2017 @ 7:59am
      Fadida said | November 3rd 2017 @ 7:59am | ! Report

      Can we stop using the word “crisis” every time there is a perceived problem?

      • November 3rd 2017 @ 8:05am
        punter said | November 3rd 2017 @ 8:05am | ! Report

        It sells newspapers, gets the bloggers in, incites criticism.

        Me, I’m loving the football, SFC v MC tonight, Champions league during week, Socceroos v Honduras, Matilda’s v China. I just wish the boardroom stuff would just work it all out & let us watch football in peace.

        • November 3rd 2017 @ 9:33am
          Fadida said | November 3rd 2017 @ 9:33am | ! Report

          I just ignore the boardroom stuff. I’m loving the football too

      • November 3rd 2017 @ 9:54am
        marcel said | November 3rd 2017 @ 9:54am | ! Report

        Absolutely.. Spurs just spanked Real. it’s going to take sometime before anything is a crisis in my world.

        • November 3rd 2017 @ 12:10pm
          punter said | November 3rd 2017 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

          Gutted, my brother is a spurs fan & I’m a Real Madrid fan.

          Though in EPL I do like Spurs.

        • November 3rd 2017 @ 3:37pm
          Gary said | November 3rd 2017 @ 3:37pm | ! Report


      • November 3rd 2017 @ 9:58am
        Realfootball said | November 3rd 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

        Some hope, but agree completely.

      • November 3rd 2017 @ 10:58am
        jamesb said | November 3rd 2017 @ 10:58am | ! Report


        Arsenal are coming fifth, and not their favoured fourth spot. Now that’s crisis.

        • November 3rd 2017 @ 12:06pm
          Fadida said | November 3rd 2017 @ 12:06pm | ! Report


    • November 3rd 2017 @ 8:08am
      Waz said | November 3rd 2017 @ 8:08am | ! Report

      It’s a topic worthy of discussion but way more complex than even an article of this length can do justice too.

      As Buddy says above, the fees vary wildly from club to club – my junior club has 1600 kids in it and we turn away hundreds each year due to lack of facilities, the TD is a full-time, ex-professional footballer with excellent coaching and organisational skills. Basic fees are $400 for a season with no extras.

      Around us are several NPL clubs who charge in the thousands. And they will often poach our players so where is our compensation? Worse still they often poach our players and return them as opponents to their former teams in D2 and D3 levels where they’re in the same level paying 5x the fees. That is unjustifiable.

      Before running off and instilling transfer fees to compensate greedy NPL clubs, a few things are worth considering.

      – as a club we need more coaches but courses are expensive and generally run by the FFA in Sydney. The ffa needs to stop seeing coaches courses as a cash cow. If we had more/better qualified coaches we could do more for $400 per kid.

      – as a club we turn away 300 kids each year due to lack of grass to play on. If we had more grass or an artificial turf, we could take on more kids. At government level we get stonewalled while the perception is private schools and other codes get more. The ffa could help with government relations and ease the flow of finding. If we had more space we’d coach more kids for $400/year.

      We are not alone in these two points. There are several hundred clubs below NPL level that can and do work this way and have the same challenges.

      The crisis though is in our elite pathways where the greed (and yes, cost) built in to the pay for play model is a blight. When Roar announced their academy it was pleasing to see that kids would be charged $0 …. and more interesting to see several NPL clubs oppose this because they “couldn’t compete with free”. All HAL clubs need to charge $0.

      There’s much to do but transfer fees aren’t the answer – if they are ever introduced ALL clubs must drop their fees to a reasonable level. They can’t have it both ways.

      • November 3rd 2017 @ 9:47am
        chris said | November 3rd 2017 @ 9:47am | ! Report

        Good post Waz and I agree with most of what you say. Qualified coaches cost money because FFA/State Feds charge a fortune for licenses. Eg: costs up around 2,500 to get a B license and you need to take 2 weeks off work!
        I attended a state coaching conference on Saturday and that was $125. (This is a compulsory course that needs to be done on top of license fees).
        Plus the cost of grounds, physios, gear, refs, insurance and you can see that there is very little left in the kitty.
        Plus FFA/State Feds don’t subsidise players fees (like AFL & NRL do) simply because there are too many players.
        Too many players and not enough grounds. Even at “elite” levels, 2-3 teams are meant to share 1 field.
        So those who think there is a whole lot of fleecing going on, its not quite that simple.

      • Roar Guru

        November 3rd 2017 @ 2:12pm
        Griffo said | November 3rd 2017 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

        Agree here Waz. My thinking along with Buddy is that it has multi-faceted issues.

        Coach training fees is one aspect – if you wish to pursue a coaching career you pay for the learning, and mostly don’t work for free. So the costs comes from somewhere, and usually passed on to the ‘elite’ youth…

        There was an article a few years ago looking at coach education models: costs vs the numbers at various qualification levels. It was Germany that had the greatest number of highly qualified coaches in their youth systems at all levels, especially compared to England, as compared to the UEFA qualifications.

        Similar in my region there are clubs who ask a lot, even for general grassroots teams, with the promise of kit and ‘qualified coaches’ as part of the fee, but then others will ask for very little, or none at all and look for other means (eg: sponsorship) manage youth development for anyone that qualifies on skill alone. This is what our club is doing, and are hamstrung by facilities and turning players away as well, but are making every effort to provide more on their own where some grants if they were available would help.

        The Jets have recently taken back the ‘Emerging’ Jets (the ‘Emerging’ name is being dropped, with the kids and kit all aligning with the parent club), but it seems this year (2018) will charge $1200-$1500. Who knows whether that will be dropped or heavily discounted in due course, but was once cheaper until Tinkler handed them fully over to Norther NSW Football, who after a couple of seasons had to raise fees.

        I also think another aspect of youth development, that is related to fees in some aspects, are the number of ‘academies’ that have cropped up from ex-players and the like. I think the FFA have not applied any criteria or ‘approval ratings’ to these sort of academies that could help to determine things like fees and quality coaching. To me this seems to solve a few issues the FFA may have (one would be providing development opportunities outside of clubs, and avoid funding a deeper development system at grassroots level) but is rife for exploitation. Some parents, when their kid/s miss out on the club or NPL teams, will just supplement game and training with these ‘academy’ sessions. Some of them have their own academy teams, with tours. Sure if you go the money to burn, but there is an economy here that isn’t serving football in the wider sense, and perhaps indicates their is potential for funding (from parents), or a real lack of quality in the formal club environment, or a real need to invest in greater opportunities for the large swathes of youth the current grassroots just can’t cater for, again for various reasons.

    • November 3rd 2017 @ 8:14am
      Buddy Holly said | November 3rd 2017 @ 8:14am | ! Report

      I would like to see the fees categorised by division, age. Then also define what “elite” means from a development and coaching point of view. If we had the numbers and definition then we could quantify and qualify the assumptions. For instance what happens in NSW for players who are selected as “elite”. Do they get one on one coaching or is it all a ruse? This sort of information should be with the FFA. Or what is stopping the a league clubs from presenting their concerns to the powers that be rather than on Twitter! We only see bits and pieces of the story!

      • November 3rd 2017 @ 8:31am
        Buddy said | November 3rd 2017 @ 8:31am | ! Report

        Wow… that is a real “can of worms”. Elite means many things to many people but generally it is anything higher than grassroots football. Typically teams train 3 times a week and travel many kilometres to play their games. Coaching varies enormously and there is little to zero one on one coaching unless paid for separately. Waz made a few points about so called elite teams poaching, charging 5x the fees and offering nothing much more than his own club. That is often the case. So called elite team coaches contact grassroots clubs for trial games, often during the season and regularly it is just a ruse to see if there are more players they can poach or just recruit to fill their gaps. Whilst I am in favour of players stricing to reach and play at a level they are more suited to, quite often there are clubs and teams out there that really shouldn’t be participating at any so called elite level.
        I sat on a review board a few seasons ago and it was FFA reps that were pushing for expansion of elite football. There should be more clubs and more opportunities was the cry. I argued that the standard needs to be high and competition fierce so that only the best get there….I lost the debate. Parents all too often seem to belive that if their child is selected to play in any team higher than grassroots, they will be on their way to being a professional player and they will be noticed, scouted etc etc…… so many dreams that you just don’t dare to try and shatter!

        • November 3rd 2017 @ 10:00am
          Post_hoc said | November 3rd 2017 @ 10:00am | ! Report

          Buddy and Waz plus others, great comments and thoughts. My association because it is new, and I would argue because of some of the people on the executives are real football people and are not in it for themselves or their clubs but rather football as a whole, we have set up things a little different.

          We have 22 clubs, and 1 “elite” club. This “elite” is the representative club for our association. It is not allowed to field teams in our association it can only play in the SAP and Youth Leagues.

          None of the clubs are allowed academies to field teams in the competition, if they want to host an academy that is fine, but they are not allowed to field a team.

          The association has a separate talent identification program that is Free, I think it is for 9,10,11 and 13 at the moment. Clubs are allowed to send players to try out, if they are selected these kids play in one of 6 teams in an inhouse association competition on Sunday. So they play with their regular club team on Saturday and then have this second comp on a Sunday where they have access to better coaching etc and it is used by the representative club has a scouting option.

          It is working well so far

          • November 3rd 2017 @ 8:10pm
            Paul said | November 3rd 2017 @ 8:10pm | ! Report

            i say this has been one of the best and productive lines of commentary about the game that i’ve read in a while. the think tanks in this room should make themselves available to organise and restructure the whole of Aus league.

            Post Hoc your Football Association is exactly how association football should be run – hats off!!. 22 Association clubs and only 1 Representative Club servicing its football community from grassroots to development.

            my football association has 23 clubs some attached with academies and unbeknown to their governing FA and with 7 NPL clubs tiers 1, 2, 3 and state league in its footprint. these NPL and academies just strip the life out of community football. i remember and still bear the disappointment when SAP debuted with 50 licenses distributed via FNSW, our U10 league dropped from the previous year of 101 teams to 61 teams in U11s. NPL SAP clubs soaked up whatever division 1 or 2 teams there were available. the system simply stinks.

            we need more associations setup like Post Hoc’s

      • November 4th 2017 @ 4:13pm
        Footoverhand said | November 4th 2017 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

        FFA have a star rating for A League clubs, but as far as I know it doesn’t extend any further.
        I think you have come up with a reasonable solution, that a club need to be assessed to this star system and charges/fee’s must not exceed what is expected for the given star rating.

    • November 3rd 2017 @ 8:23am
      Ad-0 said | November 3rd 2017 @ 8:23am | ! Report

      It’s ridiculous the price parents are paying for their kids to play sport. I remember my Dad paying $50 rego and $2 per game to turn out for Mansfield Junior Cricket Club when I was a whipper snapper.
      Now I live in the USA and Pay to Play has been universally recognised as the root cause talent has failed to materialise in a country with more registered footballers than Australia has people. It’s no coincidence that Basketball and Gridiron sweep up the talent (especially from minority communities) when it costs little to play the game as a junior. The same thing exists in Europe where youth teams cost little or nothing to play for.

      • November 3rd 2017 @ 8:39am
        Buddy said | November 3rd 2017 @ 8:39am | ! Report

        I was with friends in L.A last month and went along to see their son train and then play the following day. The fees were relatively low but their facilities were poor. There was baseball training in adjacent areas, creating a dodgeball environment. Considering it was the beginning of the season, the playing field they played their competition game on was pretty poor. The coaches had little experience and certainly no football/soccer coaching qualifications. We are certainly a lot better equipped and organised in our district of Sydney although there are still far too many non qualified coaches running around….volunteer land is a tough playground though.

        • November 3rd 2017 @ 9:49am
          Ad-0 said | November 3rd 2017 @ 9:49am | ! Report

          It’s my understanding that the real expense comes once your kid has been identified and is playing for a rep team. Fees of 5000USD plus travel costs are normal. There is not a strong central administration and some of these operations have been prosecuted for all types of financial improprieties.
          Once that type of money is sloshing about the system, the scumbags are pretty close behind.

          • November 3rd 2017 @ 1:15pm
            chris said | November 3rd 2017 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

            Ok I think $5,000 is slightly exaggerating the actual costs. Do you have examples?

            • November 3rd 2017 @ 8:45pm
              Mitcher said | November 3rd 2017 @ 8:45pm | ! Report

              THis is the very first article I clicked on, quoting $2000 for 11 year olds.

              Yeah sure, $5000 is another step. But is it so unbelievable with mie than 29 seconds research.

            • November 4th 2017 @ 2:26am
              Ad-0 said | November 4th 2017 @ 2:26am | ! Report

              There’s a Guardian article regarding Pay to Play where a parent claims she is paying $12000 a year including travel.

            • November 4th 2017 @ 2:48am
              Ad-0 said | November 4th 2017 @ 2:48am | ! Report

              Also try USA Today, the cost of youth sports.

      • November 3rd 2017 @ 9:35am
        Fadida said | November 3rd 2017 @ 9:35am | ! Report

        All this talk of “grass roots” made me read your comment as “whipper snipper” not “snapper”!
        Just going out to water the garden

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