Horses for courses. Why misbehaviour at the races treated differently than an #Aleague match.

Why is misbehaviour at the horse racing and the football treated differently? How this exposes the cultural divide.

There have been many comments on social media regarding the way misbehaviour at the Spring Carnival Racing was treated so differently from the misbehaviour at A-League matches. How if football fans got drunk and unruly like many who went to the races it would have been reported with the usual ‘soccer shame’ articles.

However the equivalence is not there.  Going to the races and getting blind drunk (or even at the cricket in some way) it is not ‘acceptable’ but falls within what is a behavour that is within the norm in Australia.  Even at the start of European colonisation alcohol was a feature, as Rob Moodie wrote in The Conversation.

There’s little doubt that alcohol is an important part of Australian culture. According to the author of The Rum State, Milton Lewis, heavy drinking was an established cultural norm transported to Australia at the time of colonisation…..

It was the norm in Britain to drink heavily and gin epidemics were devastating entire communities at the time. Lewis says that alcohol in Europe had long served as a food and source of nutrition as the diets of the time were very restricted and there wasn’t a lot else to choose from.

For a time, spirits were used in barter and convicts were part-paid in rum. In this way, rum became a currency of the colony – hence the term “a rum state”. The control of alcohol gave enormous political power. And alcohol was reportedly involved in the only military coup in Australia – the Rum rebellion in 1808.

So, while it is nothing to be proud of, alcohol consumption even to excess has been part of Australian white culture from the start.

So when it happens at an event such as the Spring Carnival, at an AFL match or at the cricket incidents tend to be sporadic, isolated to individuals which the police can handle quite easily.

With active fans police is confronted with something quite different.  An organised large group of (mainly) young men who jump and chant in unison.  I think this creates a different mindset.  When police have to deal with crowd behaviour, they are not dealing with a few drunken yobbos but they see a whole large group of people as a unit.  No wonder why in certain cases they bring out the riot squad because they believe that if there are any issues they may have to take a large group of excited fans on, rather than pick one or two individuals.

As I said before this type of policing is counterproductive. But it demonstrates the perception that a few too many and falling down stairs or trying to hump a garbage bin is ‘just a few people being worse for wear’ while football support is seen still outside the Australian cultural mainstream and therefore problematic, dangerous and foreign.



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Rebecca Wilson. Football, Leyonhjelm and respecting a human being.

I really didn’t want to write this post very much, but as I got involved in twitter debates after the untimely death of Rebecca Wilson I decided I needed to explain my views on this matter.

Should we stop criticising someone just because they died?

I share somewhat the opinion that when someone dies he or she is shielded from criticism.  I think of this when the lives of those who died in terrorism attacks is reported in the media, they are always wonderful human beings. After a few year I remember someone questioning the account of the 3000 people who died in the 9/11 attacks that it was impossible that everyone would have been an absolute angel.

However we must also remember that everyone has a human dimension.  Rebecca Wilson was a soccerphobe, but that does not mean that her death at a relatively young age should be celebrated because ‘it is one less voice against football’ as some have tweeted.

She was a daughter, a sister, a mother and a wife of someone.  Her passing will give grief and pain to other human beings no matter what she wrote in a newspaper, and this will always have to be remembered.

Perhaps I feel strongly because Wilson was one year younger than myself, and I could think of the desperation I would feel facing a diagnosis like that when I have so much life to live, wanting to see my son grow perhaps having children of his own, and having that taken away.

Perhaps because this evokes memories on my brother in law, a healthy man who would ride his bicycle every weekend for hours, struck down by esophageal cancer at 56.  His daughter just had a baby three weeks ago, and he was not to share this event with her.

Perhaps people that tweet somewhat pleased that Wilson is no longer around to write against football are young and have been fortunate enough to experience the feelings that a cancer diagnosis of a loved one can have.

Why I criticise David Leyonhjelm’s tweet

This tweet by Senator David Leyonhjelm has created a huge backlash.  And I have criticised it myself.  Senator Leyonhjelm defends this tweet by bringing to attention her reporting of a leaked document about people banned by FFA (often for minor misdemeanours or even for wrong people) has seriously affected some people’s lives (being sacked from their jobs etc.) He put out this statement:

“Rebecca Wilson wrote a story in the Sunday Telegraph in 2015 in which she purported to name and shame fans of the Western Sydney Wanderers who she claimed had been banned by the Football Federation for loutish behaviour.  This was accompanied by photographs of the individuals.

“In fact, some of the people named had never been banned, some had been banned on spurious grounds, and some were under 18 and should never have been named even if they had legitimately banned”

“The response by fans was to boycott games, eventually forcing the FFA to modify its approach to banning fans and to treat them with decency and natural justice.”

“However, Western Sydney Wanderers fans never forgot Wilson’s failure to check facts or shabby treatment.  As I said in my tweet, I do not expect them to attend her funeral.”

“If you think that’s offensive, you need to get out more.  I stand by my tweet.  Furthermore, death does not suddenly absolve us of what we did when we were alive”


I have criticised Wilson in the past. And I stand by that now.





However, I believe there is a time and place. Wilson was wrong when she wrote that article, and it was shameful she ‘exposed’ minors, innocent people or made out that those who made minor infringements were ‘hooligans’. She didn’t like Association Football and she wrote negative things about it. That is not disputed. I also don’t dispute that when we will remember Rebecca Wilson this should be also be part of her legacy. But to make what could be construed as a lighthearted remark that Western Sydney fans would not attend her funeral just a few hours after her death I think is really insensitive.

The other issue is that what Leyonhjelm is counter-productive. I can see that for some fans, the positive eulogies in the media would have been perceived as unbalanced because her actions against A-League fans were not mentioned.

If the intention was to highlight the injustice meted out to the banned fans then the Senator did an ‘own goal’ by his timing and tone of the tweet, as all the attention and anger was towards him rather than on the issue he wanted to highlight.  Too ‘smart’ for his own good.

I can’t speak for Rebecca Wilson as I didn’t know her.  But from I can gather she was a strong woman and stood by her stories, even if most football fans felt they were biased and wrong.  I think that her actions and writing should not be whitewashed and same as maintaining a critical of them.

There will be plenty of times to talk about Rebecca Wilson the writer.  At this time we should let Rebecca Wilson, the daughter, the sister, the mother, the wife take precedence.

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Western Bulldogs #AFL premiership shows important lessons for #ALeague

Harcourt, E. (2012, October 1). Whitten Oval container and skyline [Digital image]. Retrieved October 2, 2016, from

There is a positive vibe in Melbourne today.

The Western Bulldogs (aka Footscray) have won a Premiership after 62 years, and the majority of Melbourne footy fans were hoping the ‘Sons of the West’ would finally lift the cup.  I believe there are some lessons in this for the FFA.

“Old soccer – New Football….Old VFL – New AFL”

The FFA when instituted the A-League it spoke of ‘Old soccer, new football’.  This was an attempt of saying to potential fans that the old days of soccer on small grounds played by teams with predominantly Non English Speaking Background (NESB) heritage in the NSL were over and Association Football would be played by new teams with no apparent affiliation to any particular community.

While the AFL was not created with such an abrupt brake, it also went through a number of changes as it transitioned from the Victorian Football League to the Australian Football League.

Traditional VFL teams such as South Melbourne and Fitzroy were exported and re-branded as Sydney Swans and Brisbane Bears (later Lions).


Fitzroy farewell their fans after their last match as AFL team. 25/8/1996

Keating, M. (2012, April 3). Brad Boyd and his Fitzroy side farewell its fans at the MCG [Digital image]. Retrieved October 2, 2016, from

This caused consternation amongst their fans who saw their teams ripped away from them.  But the AFL continued to thrive, and it is not an organisation to give up easily, and it has the money and the power to go for the long haul and after the first bumpy years both the Sydney Swans and Brisbane Lions went on to win premierships and establish themselves in their new cities.

But for many Victorian supporters these teams, in parts of Australia where Australian Rules Football was not part of the culture, were seen as a bit on an imposition.  They were seen as a business strategy by the AFL, rather because they were clamoured by people in NSW and Queensland.

This was the case especially for the Greater Western Sydney Giants.  While Melbourne fans may accept now that Sydney has an AFL team, many see the creation of the GWS as a purely business enterprise to introduce Australian Rules into an area of economic of demographic  growth.  It is seen as a purely artificial creation by the AFL who has subsidised them over $100m, gifted them No 1 draft choices, salary cap concessions and exclusive access to NSW regions to put them in a position where they could have made the grand final after five years.

So ironically, some of the antipathy that Association Football supporters feel about GWS is somewhat also shared by Victorian AFL fans

Western Bulldogs a community team

I think that one of the main reasons why so many Melbourne AFL fans were so supportive of the Western Bulldogs, was not only because they didn’t win a premiership for yonks, but also because it is one of the AFL teams that imbues the old feelings of a team-one community.

Other ‘bigger’ teams such as Collingwood, Carlton and Hawthorn have lost a sense of geographic connection, while (with the exception of Geelong, that represents a separate city altogether) Western Bulldogs is a traditional VFL/AFL team that still has a strong connection to its Western suburbs origins.  And that why the finals against the Sydney Swans and especially the Greater Western Sydney Giants took on an extra dimension.  Here was a traditional team, supported by mainly working class people from a working class area, who haven’t won for yonks.  Who like South Melbourne and Fitzroy was almost obliterated by the AFL  but managed to survive through the resolve of its fans against the odds winning a premiership against the AFL ‘creations’ to benefit its corporate strategy.

Now, I know there are plenty of genuine Sydney Swans and GWS supporters out there.  I am just expressing what I believe is a very Melbourne sentiment.

But as I will reiterate later, sport is often more based on emotion and perception than reality.

 What this has to do with the A-League?

I think there are some parallels with teams such as GWS, Sydney Swans and Brisbane Roar and most A-League teams.  All of them share the fact that they were all a creation of their respective bodies, the FFA and the AFL.

They were created specifically as a strategy rather than organically from members and a community.

So while a club like GWS has more in common in its origins with a Melbourne City, what the Western Bulldogs would have more in common as an Association Football equivalent in that part of Melbourne?

The answer are teams such Footscray  JUST (no longer in existence) and Melbourne Knights.  The connection was even acknowledged by the Knights in a tweet before the AFL Grand Final.

But now we arrive at the elephant in the room, where angels fear to tread.  The fact that teams like Footscray JUST and Melbourne Knights are not artificial constructions – they were created by a community, and that community is predominantly from a certain part of Europe.

I can go through all the arguments I’ve had on this subject before.  The main one that it really doesn’t matter whether a team was created by Australians who happen to be of Croatian, or Greek heritage no more than those from Ireland or Scotland.  But the fact is that following a team is in the realm of emotion, not rationality.  I know of committed Association Football fans who didn’t give a hoot who created the team, they wanted to follow football.  The evidence remains whether there were enough to sustain a competition.  Beside emotion, we are dealing with perception rather than reality.  And while true believers knew that many teams were broadening from their traditional origins didn’t matter if the perception was there amongst some potential Association Football fans.

So the A-League was created with no or little NESB heritage.  This was construed as appeasing xenophobia by some traditional team supporters.  It may also be understandablein marketing terms (remember we are dealing with perception) that the FFA wanted a ‘clean break’ from a competition that perhaps undeservedly didn’t have a great reputation.  But this placed those communities that fostered and nurtured the sport for years offside, and adding to the injury when they were allowed to participate in a nation wide competition with the FFA Cup, the FFA rushed to ensure they wouldn’t display any ‘ethnicity’ through the National Club Identity Policy    (NCIP)

Moving ahead. Traditional teams are an asset, not something to exclude

One thing that the premiership by the Western Bulldogs have shown is that true community teams create a buzz.  The history, the stories of people who have supported the team for generations etc.  These stories are powerful.  The fact remains that only traditional teams such as the Melbourne Knights, South Melbourne or Sydney Olympic can deliver these type of stories when Melbourne Victory or SydneyFC can’t.

I saw a bit of that when The Age sent one of its most lyrical writers about Australian Rules Football to write about a FFA Cup match.  If anyone reads Martin Flanagan he writes often of the history of Aussie Rules and the AFL, it’s indigenous traditions and past.  It was fascinating reading something similar about Association Football.

The main feeling you get about South Springvale Football Club is its closeness.  Its star striker, 20-year-old Hameed Ali, is a very quiet young man.  Asked what he likes about the club, he says, “They take such good care of you.” Alex Florea, the young man who arrives for training wearing crystal pendants and medallions around his neck to ward off negative energies, puts it this way: “When you love something, you do it unconditionally. You don’t expect anything in return. That’s how it is here – we don’t even get paid.”

These are the ‘Western Bulldogs’ type of stories that only truly community clubs can generate.

While a break from the past may have been necessary twelve years ago, we have now moved on where persisting in excluding traditional teams is illogical and in fact is a loss to the advancement of football in Australia.

Communities that love football and have nurtured it for the past half a century is an asset that has to be included and made felt welcome by the FFA.  The creation of a competition where current A-League teams and traditional teams feel are part of something all together through a promotion and relegation system can create something unique in the Australian sporting landscape.

The FFA should  not be scared of identities that are NESB.  As a first step it should abandon the NCIP, they will see that the sky will not fall down.  And then institute a plan for a promotion/relegation system that is viable and sustainable.

Then also Association Football in Australia can have its good vibe stories.

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Will there be peace in the footy wars? A response to Tim Harcourt.

There are two sporting events that I hold as the greatest ones I witnessed in my life.  One was in Sydney when Australia after more than three decades the National Team qualified for a FIFA World Cup, and the other was my first Carlton premiership at the MGC in 1979.

These statements is something that I often feel I need to reiterate when discussing the so called ‘Code Wars’ because -as games- I like both the code I grew up with: Association Football, and the one of the place I migrated to: Australian Rules Football.

Anyone that has read my blog would have noticed that the issue of ‘code war’ between Association Football and Australian Rules is a favourite of mine.  Not the sport itself, because as I said before I love both, but my criticism is of the way Association Football is portrayed in the media, and as an extension of that how it reflect a notion of ‘us vs them’, even among fellow inner suburban caffe latte sipping lefties like me.

When I read the title of Tim Harcourt article in the Footy Almanac: Will there be peace in the footy wars? initially I thought it was dealing with the ‘war’ between the AFL and Rugby League.  After all in the past few weeks we had the great success of the Greater Western Sydney Giants who were just a goal away to be in a Grand Final who would have ruffled a few feathers in NRL land considering they would see Western Sydney as their patch.  And also we have the Melbourne Storm now in a Grand Final.

Tim’s article deal with this for half of his article, but does not seem to be overly critical.  For instance, Tim mentions NRL journalist Roy Masters who wrote a scathing article about the GWS before the preliminary final.

….the Giants are not perceived as representatives of what they cloyingly call “Greater Western Sydney.”  They are representative of the AFL’s drive to gain access to the NSW and Queensland share of the national advertising spend, with the two states contributing nearly 60 per cent……The AFL’s born-to-rule arrogance was obvious when it decided to start a second team in Sydney, assuming Blacktown is the heart of what they call Greater Western Sydney…..The Giants don’t belong to Sydney; they belong to the AFL who has subsidised them over $100m, gifted them No 1 draft choices, salary cap concessions and exclusive access to NSW regions to put them in a position where they can make the grand final after five years.

Tim writes:

Other non-AFL types like Rugby league loyalist Roy Masters have claimed that GWS don’t belong to western Sydney but belong to the AFL. But fortunately for Roy Masters and the scared Victorians, the Bulldogs won a close arm wrestle in western Sydney on Saturday and will be the people’s favourite (well, the Victorian people’s favourite anyway) in the big dance at the MCG.

If we are talking about ‘code wars’ Roy Masters is certainly on the front line, but he seems to get a slap on the wrist in the article.

But then the article turns towards Association Football:

But healthy competition between the codes is one thing, but like in the same sex plebiscite let’s hope it doesn’t end up in bigotry against one code or the other. For instance, soccer, known as football beyond our shores, is the world game but the world game’s greatest commentator Les Murray appreciates Australia’s indigenous game Aussie Rules and the rugby codes as part of Australian society, as much as he loves his own code.

Contrast Les’s tolerance with the authors of Soccernomics Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski who say:

“It was striking how quickly the Socceroos learned EEC football…they beat Uruguay in a play-off to qualify for the World Cup. Suddenly the Melbourne Herald Sun found itself wondering whether Aussie Rules Football could survive as the dominant sport in Australia’s southern states. Already more Australian children played soccer than Aussie Rules and both rugby codes combined…a century from now Aussie Rules might exist only at subsidised folklore festivals.”

Tim Harcourt objects at this statement especially at the last line.  (which admittedly was a silly throw away one).  But it was surprising that Tim seemed more upset at this statement, which to me looks much more mild and less controversial than Roy Master’s talk about ‘AFL born to rule arrogance’.

What also surprised me is that Tim has chosen two foreign authors as an example of ‘code intolerance’ (which probably as Tim say may not be familiar with Australia).  In all the years of reading sport reports I’ve never read any journalist, or player deriding or critising Australian Rules (can’t vouch for Rugby League) while NRL and AFL journalists or associated people have done this with Association football many times.

Added to this the ‘code war’ is unfortunately is fueled by some irresponsible tabloid journalism  that portrays Association Football support as inherently violent, while  similar incidents in other codes don’t get associated with the sport.

Wherever unintentional or not the semblance to somehow brush over the ‘code war’ between AFL and NRL and somehow targeting the main thrust of the criticism towards two Association Football  can somehow diminish the message.

The other issue is that while I don’t know whether Tim follows Association Football in Australia or the A-League, to me the article seem to come across by primarily an AFL and NRL fan.  Another example is when Tim mentions that clubs like Melbourne, Geelong and Port Adelaide are older than Liverpool and Manchester United, but perhaps not being aware that Association Football is over 130 years old in Australia with the first sustained competition starting in Sydney in 1880 and quickly spreading to other states. 

I (and many who are multi-codal) totally agree with Tim’s sentiment and there is no dispute to me that Tim’s arguments come from a genuine desire to respect each other codes.  As he writes there’s no room for bigotry in sport as in life, we should respect all codes and that we should be true football ‘multiculturalists’ and support all codes or at least respect the rights of others to love their code as they would their culture.

I would add that as with true multiculturalism, there will be peace in the footy wars when all codes are seen as part and parcel of the Australian sporting culture, and not one seen as somehow a foreign import and the other as a ‘true blue’ one somehow reflecting ‘true Australian values’.


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That’s it. I want socialists in the Parliament even if I don’t agree with them.


Socialist Alternative. Picture of Socialist Alternative activists. Digital image. Socialist Alternative. N.p., 2016. Web. 23 Sept. 2016.

I’ve had enough of extreme right wing cuckoos in the Australian Parliament.  In the Liberal Party Cory Bernardi and George Christensen.  But even more alarmingly even more extreme One Nation Senators such as Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts.

These parliamentarians expound views that in the 80’s and 90’s would have been seen extreme right wing.  Those were the angry people who then would have gone around sticky taping photocopied pages of their xenophobia/homophobia and in the case of Senator Roberts conspiracy theories on lampposts and now they are in parliament.

How did we arrive here?  I blame both the Liberal and Labor parties who have since Keating losing in 1996 trying to appease some real or imagined ‘Aussie battler Sydney Western Suburbs’ voter.

This shifted the whole spectrum to the right.  So much so that people like Bernardi and Christensen who would have been at the margins of the Liberal Party are now MPs.  Ans now we not only see the return of xenophobia with Pauline Hanson, but now we are have even global conspiracy theorists such as Senator Roberts.

This shift has caused many ex-Labor voters to move to the Greens.  But we are shifting so much to the right that even they are not ‘left enough’.

If we have so many extreme right wingers in Parliament I think we should have some extreme left ones as well.  We need real Socialist parliamentarians.

What about  MPs that stand for the overthrow of capitalism and the construction of a world socialist system.  That espouse a system under the democratic control of the working class to establish a classless,society based on the principle “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need”. Someone advocating the expropriation of banks where the the accumulated wealth created by the working class is directed to the satisfaction of pressing social needs. That oppose all immigration controls and support open borders.

Now, do I agree with that. As a Social Democrat, no.  But if we have right extreme views in parliament (and therefore in the media) why not have extreme left wing ones?  Beside seeing some commentators (Yes, Bolt, Panahi, Devine and Henderson…I’m looking at you) going in apoplexy when a Socialist MP expresses their opinions would be fun just on its own.

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Why we should not get upset at Cahill wearing a Bulldogs scarf.

As the Western Bulldogs became every AFL’s second team except for Hawthorn supporters, and did the right thing of enlivening the AFL final series by eliminating them, angry tweets appeared on my timeline. Tim Cahill was ‘sleeping with the enemy’.

Then he was in the rooms after the match, and Bruno Fornaroli was on the act as well.

Personally I didn’t see any issues. But I tweeted that while it’s great to see our most famous player creating goo PR for an AFL team, it would be nice to see an AFL player doing the same for an A-League team in a final as well.

Some AFL supporters thought that I was having a dig at the AFL, which was in fact not the case – in fact quite the opposite.

Many responded telling me that there were plenty of AFL players going to A-League matches. But that wasn’t my point. Cahill was not just going to a match. He was on the news, being interviewed about the Western Bulldogs by the media etc. Are we going to see a Callan Ward from the Western Sydney Giants marching to a final match with Western Sydney fans, being interviewed about it on Channel 7 and have an article in the Sydney Morning Herald with a Wanderers scarf around his neck?

But could we also see it the other way? We could say that for those who only casually know about Association Football, seeing probably one of the few if not the only player they know amongst this AFL final publicity may make them aware that Cahill is playing for a Melbourne team in the A-League. Whether this would make anyone go and watch a Melbourne City match is debatable, but it does help raise the profile.

I do wonder if we did have an AFL player being involved in an A-League final some of us Association Football fans would whinge that the “AFL wants to hog our moment’.

Perhaps some Association Football ‘separatists’ may enjoy the thought that while the AFL sees the presence of a soccer player as an advantage, we may struggle to see the reverse as the case.

In any case Cahill reflects what is the reality in Melbourne. That while the AFL will do everything to maintain it’s dominance over other codes,  sport fans have no problems in supporting more than one.

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Is the #AFL turning Aussie Rules into an imperialist code? #AFLX


A couple of days ago news transpired that the AFL has been secretly trialling AFL X, a new, modified brand of football with just seven players on the ground per side, and played on a soccer pitch.  Why that is the case?  According to Sam Duncan in a article he wrote for the Fairfax press:

Strategically the AFL has just about every state and demographic covered. They are the King of the Sporting Castle.

But is the reality is, the AFL cannot afford to kick back and crack open a celebratory bottle of Grange when the season finally ends. Instead they must continue to grow the game.

The AFL, it seems, still harbours an ambition to take on the world.

Someone, somewhere within the AFL is imagining a world where the red Sherrin is kicked around every day and every night in every month of the year.

They are imagining a game called AFL X that’s played over the summer at the same time of the year and on the same pitches as the A-League…….

The game has the backing of Australia’s number one commercial broadcaster, Channel 7. There’s a men’s and women’s competition. You can play or watch some kind of AFL footy all year round.

If Duncan is right the AFL seems to be developing into the Rupert Murdoch of Australian sports seeking and sucking out any air where other sports find space.  For some Association Football supporters this development is another demonstration of how the AFL wants to stifle the A-League.  Western Sydney is growing and soccer is a major sport there?  Let’s set up a team, spend huge amount of money to support it and giving it favourable terms to become a winning one.

Women soccer has been an established sport for some time, and has huge participation numbers amongst girls?  Let’s set set up an AFL competition with lots of marketing behind it.

This AFL X shows again to some that the AFL is going the next step wanting to basically use the same pitches as soccer, and play in summer, when the A-League plays precisely to avoid being swamped by the huge media juggernaut that the AFL can produce.

Duncan continues with his article:

But here’s the clincher.

They are imagining the world embracing this new game of Australian football, too, because after all, it can be played in any town across the globe that has a soccer pitch…..

To me it sounds a little like Twenty20 cricket. And just look at that game now.

I’ve written before about my views about the ‘internationalisation’ of Australian Rules Football.  This desire of making Australian Rules football known overseas and even making a version playable on the pitch of the most played code in the world, shows that despite being, as Sam Duncan said “the King of the Sporting Castle”, the AFL has this inexplicable sense on inferiority and fear, as it was expressed by Mick Malthouse in an article recently.

I HAVE have been shocked by some disturbing numbers that I came across recently.

In at least three elite Victorian colleges, more students are playing soccer than Aussie Rules football.

If that’s not alarming for the AFL, then I don’t know what is………..


But here we are decades later and, suddenly, soccer is a genuine threat to football.

Soccer is an international sport with some very promotable role models in Australia — think Tim Cahill.

Victoria’s population is increasing by 100,000 people a year and many of them are either from overseas or have a strong connection to a country where soccer is the main sport. The Socceroos can play in the World Cup and at the Olympics, and Australians litter the English Premier League and Champions League.

This fear of the round ball is baffling.  We have seen with the advent of womens’ AFL the amount of media that the AFL can muster.  While the National Team won a difficult match in the United Arab Emirates, something that in most other parts of the world  would have been on the back page (if not in the front) of newspapers, in Australia it was hidden in the back after pages and pages of final footy reports.

And that’s what irks some soccer followers.  That despite the huge attention the AFL gets in the media, the free to air TV its has, and the subsequent amount of publicity it can generate, it is still not enough.  It is prepared to use its considerable financial might to stifle areas where the A-League has tried to create a niche for itself.  Why? Because of this irrational fear it is ‘taking over’?  The fact that Australian Football is not an international sport not only must irk the AFL, but also it makes it fearful of this ‘international force’.

The AFL most likely hasn’t heard the saying by Julius Caesar: “Malo hic esse primus quam Romae secundus” which translates as “Better be first in a village than second in Rome”.

I think the AFL should be content to be the ‘King of the Australian Sporting Castle’, something that it will not change,  rather than acting like an imperialist power trying to suffocate all and sundry.  It should enjoy its prominence in the big village of Australia, rather than delude itself it can be anything outside it.


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