AFL snookers FFA beautifully (or why we will not get the World Cup)

Outrage this morning amongst Association Football supporters in Australia about an article in today’s Age.

AUSTRALIA’S bid to host the World Cup finals in 2018 or 2022 was almost abandoned 12 days before the bid book was due to be submitted in Switzerland because of ”outrageous” demands by the AFL, a source close to the bid has told The Age.

As talks continued ahead of the May 14 deadline for confirming the application, the source, who asked not to be named, said that Football Federation Australia and the federal government had virtually given up on getting an agreement and were prepared to shelve the bid.

”It got to the point where it didn’t seem there was much point, and the federal government had agreed with the FFA that we might not go on with the bid,” he said. ”There were some outrageous demands from left field by the AFL.”

That shouldn’t come much as a surprise.  I think that both the FFA and the Government underestimated the voraciousness of the AFL to protect its patch no matter what.

Maybe the FFA and the Government would have thought that even the AFL would have seen having the World Cup as a good thing for Australia as a whole.  But the AFL didn’t become the most successful code in Australia by accident.  I’m sure there would have been plenty of strategy meetings at AFL house and I think they have been pretty successful.

A World Cup in Australia would have created plenty of headaches in AFL land.  It wouldn’t have dented its popularity by any stretch of the imagination, but undoubtedly would have given Association Football a major boost.

So while publicly the AFL ‘supported’ the bid I am sure that a strategy to minimise its success or at least get most out of it would have been devised, and it seems that it is game set and match to the AFL.

It appears that all the brouhaha about stadia has seriously dented our bid, as stated by this article in The Age.

HE cross-code wrangle over stadiums for the FIFA World Cup has put the boot into Australia’s joint 2018-2022 bid.That is according to a leading football industry website – World Football Insider – which has produced a damning assessment of Football Federation Australia’s recent handling of the bid.

After rating Australia as the second favourite behind England for hosting rights in February, WFI’s latest World Cup survey ranked it seventh due to recent stadium dramas. ”Australia loses marks after a difficult few months during which the bid team has struggled to win domestic support and sort out its stadia plans, raising serious concerns about the country’s ability to deliver a World Cup,” said WFI Editor Mark Bisson.

So ‘well done AFL’.  While my temptation is to immediately label them as a bunch of selfish bastards I would be wrong to do so.  The fact is that to get to present a bid, the government had to give so many gifts to the AFL (massive sums  for upgrades to Adelaide Oval, Skilled Stadium and for the development of a new stadium in Perth) so that in the unlikely case that we host the world cup the AFL will gain as well.  So it’s a win win situation.

As Scoop states in the Melbourne Victory Forum, Demetriou/AFL have played the FFA to a tee.  Showed up the FFA as a pack of rank amateurs.

The AFL did what any self interested organisation in a competitive market would do.  Demetriou is just trying to protect his organisation first and foremost which is his job.  If he bent over to the FFA the AFL clubs and their 1000s of employees would be calling for his head

An agreement with the AFL and the NRL  should have been locked in years ago before the FFA even launched a bid, instead of the FFA naively thinking they could use Etihad Stadium without even asking the AFL first.

When in December the bid fails many Association Football fans will blame the AFL.  But let’s remember that the FFA will have to bear most of the blame.

I hope this will be a wake up call to the FFA.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “AFL snookers FFA beautifully (or why we will not get the World Cup)

  1. Good summary – one thing you didn’t mention, which is much worse than what the AFL has done, is that the same article states how the Victorian Government was completely submissive to the AFL’s demands.
    Demetriou was doing his job, but the problem is Brumby was also doing Demetriou’s job instead of serving the people who elected him.

  2. wal

    Thank God for the AFL or Oz soccer would only have itself to blame for being a third-rate try-hard that couldn’t organise a kid’s birthday party.

    With the WC bid all but sunk, will Oz soccer now do what it should have done in the first place and concentrate on doing the small things well, or will it curl up its toes and go back into a coma because it can’t buy its way out of the shit using gimmicks and govt money?

    I’m tipping the latter.

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