Since the FFA Hall of Fame started in 1999, 245 people have had the honour of being inducted, from players to coaches to administrators to anyone that has made a significant contribution to Australian football.
The Matildas achieved what they achieved despite the efforts of the FFA, who threw a hand grenade into their World Cup preparations by sacking Alen Stajcic only five months before the tournament kicked off.
The sacking ruined our chances, damaged a coach’s reputation, caused his family untold grief, let down football fans, damaged football’s reputation in this country and contributed further to the code’s decline.
With all this in mind, the entire board need to be held accountable.
The Matildas did the best they could under the circumstances, ultimately losing to a classy Norway outfit. Ante Milicic had little time to stamp his authority but further compounded matters by trying to introduce a new style in such a limited time frame.
But what do they say? One bad decision begets another and so problems are compounded. This is yet another blunder in a long list of blunders by an organisation that is a laughing stock of Australian sport.
The culture is toxic. The FFA do not appreciate football’s unique value proposition nor culture. Their one-eyed obsession with TV rights has helped drive the game into the ground and led to short-term cash grab decisions to the detriment of the long-term prosperity of the game.
And let’s not even talk about the war with the A-League clubs and the fans, which is destroying the sport.
Instead, let’s focus on the FFA’s current debacle.
Heather Reid said if what Alen Stajcic did was made public, he would never work in the game again. She later apologised unreservedly for her comments.
Stajcic did nothing. A man’s career was ruined on a falsehood.
This was a man who took the Matildas to an unprecedented high world ranking, only to be cut down by people who put their own self interest before the well-being of the game.
David Gallop then came out with a couple of bizarre press conferences that shed no light on the situation.
But wait, there were more blunders to come.
Along comes Ante Milicic, hired by the FFA for a national team position despite having no top-level head coaching experience. This is a slap in the face to the Matildas and the esteem in which the FFA holds them.
Would this happen to the Socceroos? There was one simple reason Milicic was hired: he was already on the FFA payroll and the FFA couldn’t hire anyone else because they simply could not afford it.
To make matters and appearances worse, Heather Reid – a key player in this debacle – flew to the World Cup, albeit in a self-funded private capacity.
Reid’s position is untenable. But she did not act alone. Who else was involved? Who was sidelined? Who started this push, which served as the latest debacle in long line of debacles?
The fans need to stand up and demand accountability. The toxic culture must be destroyed. A new era of accountability, long-term strategy, selflessness and honesty must be ushered in.
All fans, from the ones in the stand to journalists and politicians, must act as one. The government needs to step in to fix this mess if needs be.
The FFA should be there to run the game in good faith on behalf of the fans.
They are, however, destroying the sport.
We need to take our game back. We need to stop them from destroying what we love. There needs to be an enquiry into the game’s governing body and into the game itself before there is no game left.
We owe it to ourselves, the future generation, our country and our sport.