Football Alive

FFA stitch up, has the old board white anted the game?

Rumours and conspiracy theories are what blogging was set up for so I will give a couple a bit of air time, there is no chance of seeing them in the papers as they are central ownership is part of the text.

There are mutterings in the forums that the old board has white anted not just the new board but the game of Football itself with claims that the TV rights deal with Fox is in limbo and could be canceled, a potentially seismic event that would hobble Football.

The anger at Arnold is palpable, with many suggesting he has been sent there to fail and should never have been appointed, the lists of names of managers who applied for the Socceroos job included  Louis Van Gaal, Roberto Mancini, Jurgen Klinsmann, Slaven Bilic, Marcelo Bielsa and World Cup gaffer Bert Van Marwick.

Instead of a world class manager, we have paid for an A-League manager who already had a shot at the Asian Cup back in 2007 when we had one of our finest ever teams.

The Arnold appointment was essentially choosing a big fish from a small pond to conquer the world wide ocean.

That such names were willing to take on the job is a testament to to where Football has come since Guus lead us to Germany, we have matured into a Footballing nation, the game is growing.

A key factor of that growth has been the A-League, the competition was booming just 4 short years ago, crowds were brimming, active support was turning heads, the other codes were looking over their shoulders.

Then the late Rebecca Wilson named and shamed 100 plus fans and Football imploded, the administrators and club owners in many cases turned on their most important stakeholders, the fans.

Walkouts were followed by peace deals with promises of appeals processes that never eventuated. 

Ridiculous points deductions were thrown into the bargain, the demonisation of Active lead to the disbanding of the NT and Squadron and has recently been followed by Melburnians.

In the last few weeks, the RBB numbers have been slashed by fans disengaged with the way Wanderers are run off the field, how the club is playing on it and then the final straw being bans being handed out to fans for yelling at their own players to pull their fingers out.

Conspiracy theorists will point at the Asian Cup not being on free to air TV and the complete lack of promotion of the A-League itself coupled with an expansion process which had already kicked the best applicants out before the new board got a chance to select them.

The theories continue that Fox may well pull the plug on the A-League should it become non-profitable, something that it is in very real danger of becoming.

The crowds have fallen to pieces, the ratings are down, the buzz about the competition is one of death watch, wondering if the high flying Phoenix will be in the competition next year, which active group will disband next and if the national manager will have a job this time next week.

There is not one positive thing to be written about the state of Football in Australia save for the on-field performances of Perth who seem to finally have reawoken as a trophy threat and Melbourne Victory who seem to be the model all Football clubs in the country should try to emulate.

If the rumours are true and Football is indeed sliding towards the abyss, then let us look at a future for the game without News Limited providing the primary funding.

Channel 7 will not by the rights, if they do they won’t play the games.

Channel 9 is obsessed with Rugby League and will likely stick to what it knows, the channel has a strong relationship with Fox as they share a lot of content, there is little to no chance of them jeopardising that relationship for a game that Fox can’t make a buck out of.

Channel 10 bless them might bid to put it on a subsidiary channel that they own which they invented 5 minutes ago, with the rating appeals of a Simpsons re run. Even if they did bid it would be for peanuts.

SBS had their funding slashed last time they made a foray into Football and the first thing that was suggested that they cut was Football, that is for another conspiracy theory post all of its own.

ABC can’t pay anything so they are a non-starter.

I really hope I am wrong and that these rumours are fanciful, but with our national team floundering, our national competition being abandoned and our options dwindling, we truly are a boardroom decision away from watching all the hard work since 2005 falling to pieces.

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