At the Football Federation of Australia Fan forum on Monday night in Perth a German lawyer, Gerhard, stood up and asked an extremely valid question on the NPL. It was abundantly clear that the FFA did not want to discuss the NPL as after his question the topic was shut down.
Having stated that he was a lawyer in Germany and had been involved in helping the smaller clubs receive financial benefits from the 2006 hosting of the World Cup, and how only by uniting as a group had they managed to achieve this, he backed up the questions raised by this writer on behalf of the Football Union that the NPL is light on financial information. He asked why the FFA could not give at least $1million from the $160million the game’s administrators had raised in the TV deal with Fox, to help the clubs train coaches and be in a better position to enter the NPL.
The question was not well received. After a few comments backwards and forwards the Moderator for the evening, the FFA’s head of Corporate Affairs and Communications, Kyle Patterson, tried to shout the lawyer down by saying “this is Australia.” If his comment was supposed to be humorous it missed the mark by a very long way. In fact many in the audience verbally accused Patterson of racism. Many others waited for the CEO Mr Gallop to step in and apologise for his ill advised comment, this never happened.
What makes the comment all the more unfortunate is the fact that 19 days previously the FFA signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the German Football Federation. That MOU according to the press release ‘identifies a number of areas of collaboration between the countries including football development, management and hosting major events.’ The issue being raised was to do with ‘football development’ yet it appeared the FFA did not want to hear from a man well voiced in the German game. It would be very interesting to know the reaction of the German Football Federation if a clip of that comment were to cross their desks.
Many have emailed Not The Footy Show since Monday night stating that Mr Patterson should be made to issue a public apology. What do you think?
It would have been better if David Gallop had demanded one on the night, as the failure to do so has leant more weight to the clubs argument that the NPL is being pushed through with little or no consultation with the clubs it will affect.