Today this writer was asked if he supported Football West’s campaign for a Home of Football. The short answer is a resounding “yes.”
However the timing of this push and the direction it has taken is hard to support. If the games governing body in the West wished to influence Government why wait until the election campaign to do it? I love football, but seriously is it more important than Hospitals, education and other sectors that affect the day to day running of this state? By trying to make football a part of the political debate appears totally misguided and ill timed. It is also just as likely to get politicians off side with the game, because it appears the game feels that it is a Political issue that warrants discussion.
The sad thing is most parties have already put in place their proposed budgetary spends should they win office, so lobbying should have been done months ago prior to the election date being announced.
Then there are a number of questions that no one seems to want to ask. In November 2012 Football West was in the papers saying that a Home of Football would cost $10-15 million, now just three months later they are saying it will cost $20million. Which is it? Can the price really have gone up that much in three months?
Where is the Home of Football to be based? That too is yet to be determined. Several of the councils at the end of last year took it off their agenda when they were given a deadline by Football West CEO Peter Hugg for Expressions of Interest, the two councils being the City of Bayswater and the City of Stirling. Surely the game has a better chance of receiving funding if it has a location on which the home is to be built? Which then raises the question as to what the former Chairman of Football West has been doing during his time on the board. Bob Kucera was appointed to the Board in 2009 with the main purpose of finding a location that Football could call home. Four years later the game is still looking.
The other concern in relation to the games governing body requesting funding is that there has been no plan released in relation to a funding model and how those funds will be spent. If such a model exists then only a very select few are privy to it. If one does not exist then this campaign is doomed from the get go.
Finally, there is the video clip that was produced to stir the emotions and get people to sign up to the petition. A great concept and well put together but all that good work was pretty much undone by headlining it “For F%&*#$ sake !” This has now been changed after understandably many people took offence.
Yesterday Football West CEO Peter Hugg was forced to come out and state that ‘F%&*#$’ was supposed to mean “Football.” Something that most people knew, but to have the opening voice in the clip, that of Glory Legend Bobby Despotovski bleeped out as if he was swearing rather than saying “Football” did not help matters. It was a good idea in principal but back fired terribly. I for one cringed the minute I saw it. It was a very risky approach to take, and when children and their parents make up such a huge percentage of your stakeholders it was foolish.
Football West’s intentions are honorable, they are for the good of the game in the long term, but one cannot help feeling at this point in time that this push for funding was not thought through thoroughly in terms of the creative clip and its promotion and it is also ill timed, with far more pressing issues on the political agenda. Find a location and build a budgetary plan around your design and then you will find more Politicians will listen as it will be crystal clear what is being achieved for their investment.