The prospect of a second COVID-19 wave across Australia is feeling more and more like a matter of when, not if, the further we plough through this pandemic together.
Australian soccer should explore owning its broadcast rights and shift domestic seasons to align with Asia, according to members of the country’s ‘golden generation’.
A group of esteemed Socceroos including former captains Mark Viduka, Lucas Neill and Craig Moore are urging soccer’s hierarchy to use the coronavirus shutdown to reset the sport in Australia.
Viduka, Neill, Moore, John Aloisi, Scott Chipperfield, Vince Grella, Zeljko Kalac, Josip Skoko and Luke Wilkshire are urging a rethink of the way soccer is managed.
“We are not looking to be agitators,” Moore told AAP on Thursday.
“We’re looking to be able to support and push the right outcomes to a level where they’re at least getting discussed.
“A reset will happen. It’s when.”
The group, part of the 2006 Socceroos dubbed the ‘golden generation’ for taking Australia the World Cup – for the first time in 32 years – believed soccer “was a little bit stale and certainly needs to be freshened up”, Moore said.
“There’s a lot of discussion points within the game and we want to be a part of those discussions because we know changes need to occur for our game to move forward,” he said.
The group want administration costs reduced to ensure more funds for grassroots.
“We’re not saying that we don’t need state member federations but … the layers of administration that we currently have certainly can be streamlined,” Moore said.
“That will then allow the reductions of costs to be able to be passed on to participants and clubs … we need to try to find better solutions financially.”
Owning future broadcasting rights via a streaming service covering everything from national teams to state and junior competitions should also be on the agenda.
“We understand there’s a broadcast deal in place but, in terms of securing the future of the game, it’s a really good discussion point about how can we have ownership of our game,” Moore said.
“Are we able to find a smarter solution moving forward that gives us a better opportunity to have more control of our content?”
Aligning domestic seasons to coincide with Asian competitions should also be considered.
“Are we brave enough to say … we’re going to align with Asia?” Moore said.
“That, to me, is something that would be a huge success because I believe longer-term it’s going to be beneficial for the game.
“It then allows the discussion around promotion and relegation and all those kind of things become a lot closer because the whole football pyramid is in line.”