Wonderful scaremongering by AFL Chief Andrew Demetriou yesterday, making fans of his code of Football contemplate a season without football. Which even if Australia wins one of its World Cup bids is unlikely to be the case.
It is one thing to accuse the FFA of not communicating properly, but the timing is an exquisite attempt at blindsiding the World code of football. Is it a coincidence that he makes these statements the weekend after the World Cup draw?
Stadia are undoubtedly a major issue with the FFA’s world cup bid, with the much talked about MCG currently not meeting FIFA’s requirements in that spectators will be too far from the pitch. This means that Etihad Stadium, Stadium Australia and Suncorp are the only three stadia currently acceptable.
FFA CEO Ben Buckley stated that changing the configuration of the MCG is an option that the FFA are not “actively pursuing.” So the Australian code of Football does not need to worry.
Also we are one year away from the final bid being lodged and there are bound to be many issues that need to be ironed out. Issues that no doubt the FFA are exploring all options on before broaching them with rival codes; It is better to eliminate possible obstacles before sitting down and discussing issues that may become irrelevant.
The World Cup may only last four weeks, but FIFA will take over the stadia two weeks prior to the tournament as they did in South Africa, so they are likely to be out of commission for a minimum of six weeks. Although after the first two weeks when the group stages have finished and the tournament enters the quarter and semi final phases some interstate venues could become available as they will no longer be required by FIFA to host games.
Surely the AFL is able to come up with some creative fixturing during this period? After all many overseas visitors may want to witness the Australian version of football while they are here for the greatest show on earth.
Why can’t the AFL take games to remote or country areas of Australia to help spread the word? Surely they should be looking at this as an opportunity rather than simply seeking every opening to try and turn the sports-loving public of Australia against the possibility of hosting the greatest show on earth? They may be surprised as to how many of their sport’s fans would welcome the chance of seeing the greatest footballers in the world on their doorstep, and would put up with a few weeks disruption. Maybe they should run a poll on it, but then again maybe it may not tell them what they want to hear.
For many it will be the only chance they may ever have of seeing Australia host the FIFA World Cup. It is a chance to showcase this great country and show the World how we embrace every sport and are one of the best host nations when it comes to hosting sporting events.
As the song goes it’s time to “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative- Don’t mess with Mr. In-between!”