While on the subject of funding for sport, “Not The Footy Show” believes that the Football Federation of Australia is headed for a showdown with the state bodies around the country over the lack of funding filtering down to the game at grass roots level. An issue that we have raised on the show and on this site. Listeners may recall the Head of High Performance John Boultbee stating on the show that there would be no funding coming from the FFA for the state bodies and clubs to implement the FFA’s demands for an Australian Premier League.
The Australian Premier League is necessary for the FFA to keep promises made to the Asian Football Confederation which have of course resulted in Australia’s allocation of places in the Asian Champion’s League being reduced. The FFA promised the AFC relegation and promotion in the Hyundai A-Leage as well as a national Cup competition, both still look a long way off and the deadline with the AFC has passed.
It is good to see the state bodies looking to form a united front and make such demands, as part of the Australian Premier League is to force semi-professional clubs, which in truth are far from professional in many cases, and are run by well meaning passionate fans of the game, set up a development program that the A-League clubs will benefit from. The expense of this development will fall on these clubs and the compensation that they will receive will be minimal.
One has to feel for new CEO David Gallop, as he has not been in the job six months and is faced with what could be the biggest issue in football since the revamping of the game and the creation of the Football Federation of Australia. His predecessor Ben Buckley chose to ignore the needs of the various state bodies and his focus was purely on the national teams, – although very little attention was given to the women’s game – and the Hyundai A-League, Gallop will pay for that tunnel-vision.
All of the elite players of tomorrow come through the state ranks be they junior or senior today. That is why money has to be spent at this level, otherwise the well of talent will become a drip and the game at the highest level will suffer, then the financial benefits that this brings will cease. The same applies to referees, and coaches. In fact if the FFA were really serious about developing the second tier of Australian football, rather than imposing Technical directors on the State League clubs at this time, maybe they could arrange courses to help in the administrative running of a football club; in fact they may want to do the same for the A-League too as it is likely that most clubs at the end of this current season will once again return a loss.
Let us hope that the State Bodies do stand firm on this and use their collective muscle to improve the game at the levels they are responsible for, as without such a stance it would appear little will change and that will not be good for the game overall.
2013 is shaping up for an interesting showdown.