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It's time for the FFA to step up - or stand aside

What has Steven Lowy actually achieved for football in Australia? (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)
Expert
18th February, 2018
228
2914 Reads

AFLX might be the most blatant act of colonisation since Australia was first settled, but football should get its own affairs in order before we point fingers.

Let’s call a spade a spade here – the AFL’s hybrid game is an obvious attempt to take over rectangular pitches and extend their season well into summer.

No one cares about this Mickey Mouse nonsense – least of all AFL fans – but if they set out to inconvenience the A-League, then mission accomplished.

This is an AFL, it’s worth remembering, that sent around a memo less than two weeks ago telling coaches what tactics to employ to ensure higher-scoring games in their women’s league.

So they don’t care about how they look, just as long as it looks good to them.

And they won’t have cared about how the Coopers Stadium surface looked on Saturday night either.

Nor, for that matter, do the South Australian government or Adelaide Venue Management Corporation.

And the total lack of respect shown to football is mirrored by many other state governments around the country.

Still waiting for Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to weigh in with her thoughts on what hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup could do for her state?

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Or scouring Minister for Sport Mick de Brenni’s Twitter feed looking for his congratulatory tweets to Brisbane Roar for their successful W-League campaign?

Don’t hold your breath.

Mainstream politicians still view football as a foreign sport played by ethnic invaders, even if those same politicians hail from ethnic backgrounds themselves.

It’s why they always seek to ingratiate themselves with what they think is middle Australia, which to them is represented by a homegrown sport like Aussie rules.

And there’s only one sure-fire way to deal with politicians who have zero interest in listening to their constituents – vote them out.

Which is clearly not a concept Football Federation Australia chairman Steven Lowy is familiar with.

Since being parachuted into power by his father Frank Lowy in November 2015, Lowy junior has accomplished for football… what, exactly?

Steven Lowy

(Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images)

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On Friday, the FFA released a statement to say there will be two new A-League teams by the start of the 2019-20 campaign.

Great! But didn’t they release the exact same statement 18 months ago?

What, then, have Lowy and David Gallop and Greg O’Rourke been doing in the interim?

Trying to hold on to their jobs is the short answer.

And this most recent announcement is the latest in a series of desperate attempts to hold on to power just long enough for FIFA to lose interest in Australia’s affairs, and placate just enough stakeholders to avert the threat of an independent A-League.

It’s as see-through as a wet t-shirt contest.

But – and this is a big but – football fans calling for the axe to fall should be careful of what they wish for.

Calling for anyone to lose their job is a nasty bit of business, even if it’s behaviour we see around the football world every day of the year.

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And calling for the FFA to stand aside and let someone else take charge is fraught with danger as well.

What should we return to? The National Soccer League?

There’s got to be a middle ground – alert the politicians! – and it’s about time the various stakeholders in the game started working together to try and find it.

The product on the field is worth selling – Melbourne City’s 2-0 win over Sydney FC in the W-League grand final is proof, even if Jess Fishlock’s opener should have been disallowed for a foul on Sydney FC goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsloe – but right now the game’s powerbrokers are too busy squabbling instead.

And rivals like the AFL are only too happy to exploit the power vacuum left by football’s absent leaders.

If we want football to take the next step, we need someone to take charge.

FFA are the incumbents. They need to either step up, or stand aside.