It is great to see that the FFA and the Government taskforce have sat down with the rival footballing codes to discuss Australia’s World Cup bid. The question that has to be asked is why has it taken so long?
With the World Cup Bid book due to be presented to FIFA in May it seems crazy that the meeting has only happened around eight weeks out from the deadline.
It is understandable that the rival codes should benefit from any disruption to their codes, however they will also benefit in a number of cases from improved stadia, should the bid be successful. They are also likely to benefit from inquisitive football fans from around the globe wanting to take in their sports too, while in Australia.
What is interesting is the news that Etihad stadium will not be available as the NRL may use it for State of Origin, and the AFL wish to keep the stadium available for their sport. This smacks of an alliance between the two codes.
Why do the NRL have to play State of Origin in Melbourne in 2018 or 2022, why could they not keep it in Queensland and New South Wales, or for that matter take it to another state?
The AFL will also have done their homework, and will know that currently the MCG does not meet the FIFA requirements for a World Cup venue, as the seating will be too far away from the pitch. By supposedly acquiescing over Melbourne’s biggest sporting venue, and asking for Etihad Stadium in return, they have in fact handed the FFA a monumental headache.
The saddest thing about all of this is these discussions should have happened much earlier, and the rival codes been included. Then we may have we truly had everyone pulling together for the hosting rights, because the benefits to all, be you a rugby League fan, or an AFL fan, would far outweigh not hosting the World Cup.
Surely even the paranoia of the ‘sleeping giant of Australian sport’ finally awakening would not stop you looking at the overall benefits to sport and the economy in this country, would it?