Marketed as the ‘Beautiful Game’, the A-League and the FFA have demonstrated nothing as such of our game in the past week. In the thick of a public relations battle between Sydney columnist Rebecca Wilson, following her ‘Football shame file’, the FFA have lost the most important stakeholders of the game.
The supporters, who week in and week out pay money straight into the FFA coffers for the privilege to watch their team.
Caught in the lust to secure new commercial sponsorships and television deals, the FFA have become desensitised to the deteriorating situation around them. Through the eyes of an Australian football supporter it would appear that the executives in-trusted with the survival and growth of football in Australia no longer care for thousands of men and women who week-in, week-out for the past 11 seasons have allowed the A-League competition to survive.
A complete lapse of confidentiality and privacy on the FFA’s behalf allowed News Corporation papers to post images and names of 189 supporters banned from A-League matches. Whilst anti-social behaviour is completely unacceptable and life bans should be issued to anyone who wants to stick their head out of order, the FFA have recklessly pushed supporters in-front of the bus by not standing up for them.
Acknowledging Australia’s problem with football violence, isolating the fans isn’t going to change anything and in many cases, make it worse. It’s time that the FFA stood up for their fans and treated them with equal respect, despite the pre-determine agendas of a select few.
What did Rebecca Wilson really expect when she decided to poke a sleeping giant?
Unfortunately, David Gallop and the FFA are slowly losing the trust of their most important stakeholders, who in their hands hold the future of the game. It’s time the FFA pulled their heads out and paid attention. It’s time to get off the high horse and get down to the grassroots level. It’s time that stuck up for the fans.
For our game to grow and flourish in this country, all of football’s stakeholders need to untie as one.
Words by Jacob Arnott. Photos Aleks Jason.