FFA releases discussion paper to transform soccer in Australia
Football Federation Australia, the national soccer body, has released a discussion paper, with 11 proposed principles aimed at the future development and growth of the sport in the country.
Boosted by Fifa’s recent decision to award Australia and New Zealand the right to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup, as well as FFA’s new broadcast deal with pay-television operator Foxtel, the paper, titled ‘XI Principles for the future of Australian football’ presents FFA’s 15-year vision for the country’s biggest participation sport.
The FFA said the 11 principles will address some major challenges it faces today, from the development of Australia’s soccer identity, to the optimisation of competition structures, the establishment of world class youth development pathways and the ongoing position of Australia’s men’s and women’s teams.
The principles include building an identity for Australian soccer, developing a narrative for soccer that distinguishes it from other football codes, establishing a domestic transfer system, improving coaching and governance, reducing costs for players, continuing the growth of the game for women and girls, creating a better operating model for the professional leagues and position its men’s and women’s national teams as unifying symbols of the game.
James Johnson, FFA chief executive, said: “Throughout the course of 2020, FFA has received extensive feedback in relation to areas of possible transformation from stakeholders, partners, and participants across the Australian football ecosystem.
“Based on this feedback, FFA has development the 11 principles outlined in the document, supported by a range of proposed measures that could be introduced in pursuit of these principles.
“Australian football has taken a massive hit because of Covid-19 and there is no doubt the game will feel the effects for years to come. So anyone that’s not talking about change in the sport industry, or in the football industry, I think is just going to be left behind.”
FFA said the paper has been published as a ‘living document’ and will continue to be shaped by FFA as it uses the paper as a basis for engagement and consultation with the Australian soccer community.
The paper also notes the coronavirus pandemic had exposed the underlying fragilities of the current governance framework of soccer in Australia, including the duplication and confusion of many layers of management across the FFA’s and states’ 10 different legal entitles, 10 chairpersons, 10 chief executives and around 70 directors.
Johnson said the model had led to soccer’s 'bottom-up' funding model, in contrast to Australia’s other football codes, which means players end up paying $164 million in registration fees to keep the game afloat.
He called on all stakeholders to “consider what the purpose of various administrative bodies in Australian soccer are for”.
He said: “The 11 principles are reflective of Australian soccer’s need to embrace change and innovation as the game emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We believe this document and the discussion which it will generate within the soccer community will provide an important stepping stone towards developing a united vision for Australian soccer.”
Meanwhile, Melbourne Victory, City and Western United, the Victoria-based teams of Australian soccer’s top-tier A-League, have been relocated to New South Wales due to a spike in coronavirus cases in the state.
Today it was confirmed that the NSW–Victoria border would close on Tuesday at midnight as the virus continues to spread in Melbourne.
Victoria recorded 127 new coronavirus cases on Monday, its highest daily increase.
Along with Victoria-based teams in Australia’s National Rugby League, Super Ruby and Australian Rules Football, the trio of A-League teams have been forced to relocate without a clear idea of when they will be able to return.
The Victorian A-League clubs had previously been briefed on the possibility of heading into NSW and had been preparing to move interstate if necessary.
The A-League season is scheduled to restart on 16 July in a revamped season, which will see the remaining 27 matches played daily.