It’s time for the FFA to step up – or stand aside

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By Mike Tuckerman, Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

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    What has Steven Lowy actually achieved for football in Australia? (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

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    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?

    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)

    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.

    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.

    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 (228)

    • February 19th 2018 @ 6:48am
      Kangajjets said | February 19th 2018 @ 6:48am | ! Report

      The ffa should definitely step aside .

      I’d be willing to the job, but I’m too likely to call a spade a shovel and don’t like brown nosing

      let’s never have Football x ,
      Let’s get the competition up to 14 teams
      Lets toss the var off a cliff
      Let’s have more goals like nabbout

      That’s my adgenda , move aside mr gallop

    • February 19th 2018 @ 7:10am
      Ahmed said | February 19th 2018 @ 7:10am | ! Report

      If you were to read the AFL annual report (http://s.afl.com.au/staticfile/AFL%20Tenant/AFL/Files/Images/compressed_2016-AFL-Annual-Report%20(1).pdf)

      You would see that a significant focus is placed on participation. Whilst Demetriou was in charge, a significant effort was placed into attendance figures and economic factors, simply because he bonus depended on it. McLachlans bonuses are set by the AFL commission and are focused very heavily on participation.

      Why are they using rectangular pitches to grow the sport?
      There are number of reasons.
      1. There are a limited number of oval grounds across both Australia and the world to play football, hence the development of a game to play on the most common pitch type.
      2. Cricket controls many of the oval grounds in Australia until football traditionally starts in March.
      3. Trends within the global sports industry are towards short/fast versions of traditional games.

      The AFL is looking after its own backyward first. If that effects the A-League so be it. But I can guarantee you, that the AFL is not simply developing a WHOLE new version of football simply to wreck the surface of the stadiums where they play.
      Yes the AFL wants their sport to be played in summer, and yes they want to grow participation.

      • February 19th 2018 @ 9:47am
        Kangajets x said | February 19th 2018 @ 9:47am | ! Report

        Ahmed

        Great summary of the aflx, cheers for that .

        What did you think of the A league and Andrew Nabbout goal ?

      • February 19th 2018 @ 9:54am
        Jack Russell said | February 19th 2018 @ 9:54am | ! Report

        Yeah but that doesn’t support the victim narrative.

    • February 19th 2018 @ 7:26am
      Fadida said | February 19th 2018 @ 7:26am | ! Report

      Guessing 173 comments for this code war inciting piece, particularly given it throws in a bit of “soccer persecution” for good measure.

      I could have sworn I watched a cracking round of football

      • February 19th 2018 @ 8:07am
        jamesb said | February 19th 2018 @ 8:07am | ! Report

        Agree.

        Jets v WSW and Adel v CCM were good games. The W League GF was also good. At the moment, it is a best kept secret from the mainstream.

        • February 19th 2018 @ 5:04pm
          Too many X in the one basket said | February 19th 2018 @ 5:04pm | ! Report

          James b

          I see what you did there , mentioning how good the football was on the weekend.

          Agree totally

      • Roar Rookie

        February 19th 2018 @ 8:16am
        Stevo said | February 19th 2018 @ 8:16am | ! Report

        200+ and I’ll help nudge it along

    • Roar Guru

      February 19th 2018 @ 7:44am
      The_Wookie said | February 19th 2018 @ 7:44am | ! Report

      The AFL will “takeover” – or you know, just rent, publicly available stadiums that governments and stadium managers are more than happy to rent them. You want exlusive use of a stadium? Buy the damn thing.

      • February 19th 2018 @ 7:54am
        chris said | February 19th 2018 @ 7:54am | ! Report

        How do you become a guru on this site anyway?

        • Roar Rookie

          February 19th 2018 @ 8:15am
          Stevo said | February 19th 2018 @ 8:15am | ! Report

          Who would have thought that a paid employee of the AFL Media unit would post a comment on this topic (yeah I know, a totally inaccurate cheeky comment 😉 )

        • Roar Guru

          February 19th 2018 @ 1:49pm
          Matt H said | February 19th 2018 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

          For a start, you take the time to log in and create a user profile. Then you start commenting, Then you write some articles. When you’ve done enough of that over a long enough period, there you go.

          • February 19th 2018 @ 3:01pm
            chris said | February 19th 2018 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

            Thats it?

            • February 19th 2018 @ 3:16pm
              obsession with X said | February 19th 2018 @ 3:16pm | ! Report

              You’ll never make it as a guru…they don’t accept articles that talk about adoration of Nemesis or seek to divide the world into football and non football followers.

              • February 19th 2018 @ 3:40pm
                chris said | February 19th 2018 @ 3:40pm | ! Report

                How about meaningless comments on the wrong tabs? You and wookie would be absolute legend status if that was the criteria

              • February 19th 2018 @ 4:05pm
                obsession with X said | February 19th 2018 @ 4:05pm | ! Report

                “Wrong tabs”…

                Thanks for proving my point! You have actually got nothing else do you?

        • Roar Guru

          February 21st 2018 @ 10:31am
          apaway said | February 21st 2018 @ 10:31am | ! Report

          Write a lot of articles.

      • February 19th 2018 @ 8:14am
        Kangajets. X said | February 19th 2018 @ 8:14am | ! Report

        Wookie

        While we are on the football tab , what did you think of Nabbout s goal for Newcastle?

        • Roar Guru

          February 19th 2018 @ 1:51pm
          Matt H said | February 19th 2018 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

          Unfortunately for you, when the expert writers ignore the actual football, the comments do too.

          • February 19th 2018 @ 4:47pm
            Kangajets X said | February 19th 2018 @ 4:47pm | ! Report

            it’s Matt h providing the common sense.

            The article was involved far too much talk of non football.

            Maybe he didn’t talk football because Sydney FC didn’t play, they are the only team that seam to matter .

    • Roar Guru

      February 19th 2018 @ 7:57am
      Grobbelaar said | February 19th 2018 @ 7:57am | ! Report

      MIke writes: “Great! But didn’t they release the exact same statement 18 months ago?”

      In fact, there have been multiple statements about expansion over the years.

      Exactly four years ago the SMH quoted Damian De Bohun saying that the A-League would expand by two teams for the 2017-18 season.

      Then, when the new massive TV deal was announced, the FFA said it included a proviso for the expansion of the league by two clubs for the 2018-19 season.

      And now we have another statement, to expand the league by two clubs for the 2019-20 season.

      No shortage about expansion statements over the journey.

      The league will eventually expand, of that I am certain. It’s a slow process, expansion, but Rome was not built in one day.

      • February 19th 2018 @ 9:52am
        Grobelaar X said | February 19th 2018 @ 9:52am | ! Report

        How were the ratings in Sydney for the X footy ?

        • February 19th 2018 @ 7:39pm
          Boz said | February 19th 2018 @ 7:39pm | ! Report

          Accoring to MediaWeeekAus on Twitter, the following figures for AFLX over the weekend

          71k (Syd 11k Mel 26k Bri 10k Ade 14k Per 10k)

          • February 19th 2018 @ 8:02pm
            Kangajets said | February 19th 2018 @ 8:02pm | ! Report

            So the A league beat the aflx.

            That’s why there has been no gloating , let’s wait for his fake ratings now

      • February 19th 2018 @ 8:55pm
        Leonard said | February 19th 2018 @ 8:55pm | ! Report

        Reminds me of all those Hawkie-style “By [year], no Australian child will be monolingual” spouted by various ministers of education and state premiers about how they will bring genuine teaching of foreign languages into mainstream schooling.

        If you want to know how well they succeeded, listen. FL lessons in your average Yr 9 classes degenerate quickly into the three fake Cs: cuisine, colouring-in and ‘culcha’ – language learning (and teaching) it ain’t.

        Wait and see what happens in 2019/20.

        Quick question: why is an NZ club in an Australian league? It’s obvious that FIFA doesn’t like it, and equally obvious that the good folk of NZ can’t be bothered going to matches.

    • February 19th 2018 @ 8:04am
      AR said | February 19th 2018 @ 8:04am | ! Report

      One thing is for damned sure, we on the Football tab really definitely absolutely do not care what the AFL is doing.

      We just worry about our own backyard and what we need to do to improve football.

      • February 19th 2018 @ 9:24am
        Kangajets X said | February 19th 2018 @ 9:24am | ! Report

        AR

        I’m glad you said we and have joined the collective love for football .
        It’s obvious you have been converted after seeing the X footy on the weekend.

      • February 19th 2018 @ 9:52am
        Grobelaar X said | February 19th 2018 @ 9:52am | ! Report

        AR

        Love your passion for the A league

      • February 19th 2018 @ 5:12pm
        Paul2 said | February 19th 2018 @ 5:12pm | ! Report

        The opening paragraph reminded me of this gem from the Late Show (Rob Sitch impersonating Imran Khan).

        It’s funny, sometimes I wonder whether Mike Tuckerman’s entire online persona is one giant piss-take.

        • February 19th 2018 @ 5:39pm
          Aligee said | February 19th 2018 @ 5:39pm | ! Report

          LOL, i wonder that about many who post here, including myself 🙂

      • February 19th 2018 @ 8:57pm
        prince igor said | February 19th 2018 @ 8:57pm | ! Report

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

        Aint that the truth and you can add the wast majority of Australian sports fans think the same way about soccer in this country and yes the AFLX is a deliberate shot across the bows of ALL other football codes by the AFL.

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