The Asia Cup is being billed as the biggest football event to be held in Australia, which it most definitely is. However Western Australia has probably never felt so far away from a national sporting event.
It has been truly remarkable how Perth, or any areas of Western Australia have been completely ignored in relation to the Asia Cup, yet we are the closest city to Asia, and are – so we are told – the biggest city in terms of trade with Asia. In fact Western Australia were the first Australian side to play in an Asian football competition!
It really is remarkable that Western Australia has been so neglected. The Football Federation of Australia talk about “the Football Family” but it would appear that the Western side of the family are very much estranged.
When The FFA announced that all games would be held on the East coast Not the Footy Show asked the FFA what Western Australia could look forward to, seeing as the nation was in fact hosting the tournament. The email reply assured us that teams would be based in Western Australia in the lead up to the tournament.
Not surprisingly there have been no teams based in Western Australia leading up to the tournament, why would there be? As a result of that there are no pre-tournament international friendlies to enjoy either.
In the build up to this great event Western Australia’s former Socceroos were also snubbed as they saw their former team mates made ambassadors for the tournament, in cities where the games were being played. Surely you needed ambassadors to promote the tournament in cities where games were NOT being played?
The least we thought we would get would be a fan park where Western Australian fans could all congregate and watch the national team in one place and cheer on the team together and dissect their performance. Yes, you guessed it we do not even get a fan park to feel a part of this national tournament.
In fact living on this side of the country one would hardly know that the biggest Football tournament in this region of the World is about to get under way. Try finding any merchandise, try finding much news on the tournament in local media, it really is as if this event were being staged in another country.
It is incredible to think that the Olympic Games were hosted by a city, Sydney, in 2000, yet we felt more a part of that than we do when the country hosts a major sporting event fifteen years later.
Western Australia is used to delayed telecasts of major sporting events; we don’t like it, but that has become a part of life. It is either incredibly poor management that Western Australia has been neglected so, or it is a deliberate cost saving measure. What other excuse can there possibly be?
We have a team in the A-League, We have produced Socceroos and have plenty of Western Australian talent playing in the A-League and overseas. In fact we even have two players from this side of the nation in the 23 man squad representing Australia at the tournament.
This was a tournament that many were looking forward to. Some have bought tickets and opted to fly across the country to watch games, others are not so fortunate. Those left in Western Australia will no doubt have to search the internet for information, and sit on their sofa or head to the pub to watch the games, just as they would any week for an A-League, EPL or La Liga game. Whereas this tournament should be making them feel proud and different, there will simply be a similar feel to watching football week in week out.
There is no doubt opportunities have been missed, but worse than that, the resentment that was simmering in Western Australia towards the football hierarchy in Australia has worsened due to the neglect and contempt shown.