Today the FFA have handed over control of Western Sydney Wanderers to the consortium who have purchased the club for in the region of $12million. This is good news as the game’s administrators should not be running football clubs in competitions that they manage. The Asian Football Confederation who a spokesman said was “Monitoring the situation closely,” will also be pleased that the sale has gone through.
First of all let us make the point that the job done by the FFA in setting up Western Sydney Wanderers and making them a viable franchise in the Hyundai A-League, was first class. The job that Tony Popovic and his staff have done in making them a competitive team who plays an exciting brand of football is also to be acknowledged. Everyone involved with the club should be exceptionally proud of their achievements.
The big question is will the FFA now reveal how much they spent on getting Western Sydney Wanderers to this position? The truth is the Football Family ethically have a right to know, although under the structure of Football in this country have no avenue through which to demand or find out these figures. With every club in the country paying membership fees to the FFA one would think that it would be prudent to disclose such figures. Everyone has known for a long time that Western Sydney Wanderers operated with higher staffing levels than other A-League clubs, and also that it had dispensation on foreign players. It will be interesting to know if these will be maintained. (If You Were Wondering About Wanderers)
The word is that each A-League club will now receive $250,000 as a result of the sale of Western Sydney Wanderers. One has to ask why? These are privately run clubs with private investors. Western Sydney Wanderers was a club created from government funding and run by the game’s administrators, so in many people’s minds was a club belonging to every registered football player in Australia.
We covered many of the issues regarding the sale in our post Show Us the Money in March, so will not repeat these, but questions need to be asked as to how it can be justified that the other A-League clubs benefit.
Most football fans would agree that the money would be better spent if the FFA subsidised the costs of juniors for a few years and reduced the financial burden on parents, with lower registration fees. Another option would be with the money from the sale they offered families a subsidy for more than one player being registered from one family. That would go some way to helping build the game from the bottom up, rather than the preferred from the top down; which is not working.
Having witnessed the Matildas go so close to winning back-to-back Asian Cups, why not allocate a chunk of this money to give them the best chance possible of making the semi finals or final of next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup? They have the best realistic chance of any Australian team to win a World title and have the talent, they just need investment to ensure that they have the best and longest preparation possible, so that everyone can say they were given the best opportunity to succeed.
Many may disagree, and feel that this money should stay in the A-League, but it is hard to reconcile profits made on money that was given to the game by the Government being then passed on to private enterprise. It would help if we knew the FFAs costs to run Western Sydney Wanderers and also the final profit, but surely the with such a weak group of players at the top of Australian football at his moment in time it would be obvious that money needs to be spent at the bottom rather than the top?