Posts tagged ‘Champions’
For many months “Not The Footy Show” – as well as many others – has questioned the reasons, and the structure of the FFA’s new National Premier Leagues (NPL) competition. Having read through the latest presentation one has to seriously ask why any club would want to be a part of such a competition.
For starters point number one in the draft of the common rules reads,”1. Football West may alter, add to, clarify or delete any of these rules at its discretion. Any changes to these rules will be communicated to clubs.” That is the very first point in the document! Any lawyer will advise you on reading this to not bother reading any further and walk away, as you are handing total control to someone who can change rules to suit themselves.
If you read the presentation that was given to the clubs accepted into the NPL which is on the Football West website this again raises some fairly major issues. First of all it states “Document reflects the standard template provided by FFA and signed by every State/MF and club in 2013.” (MF = Member Federation) Firstly If this is so, surely the terms and conditions are set in stone across the country – an issue Victorian Clubs successfully challenged in the courts – and secondly why has it taken Football West almost two months since clubs were elected for the NPL to present this document? Also why on the next line of the presentation does it state “Discussed and amended over the next month or so?” If this was a truly national competition surely there would be a standard Participation Agreement and no room for movement, or if there was it was discussed months ago. What is even more worrying is that there is no actual deadline for discussion with the league due to commence in four months.
The FFA Cup which is due to commence in 2014 and which is another competition that the FFA promised the AFC but did nothing about and have now been forced to rush through is being billed as “ ‘our’ competition – a Cup to unite the Australian football community” in the presentation. Time will tell on that one. One has to wonder how long funding will allow this competition to run.
WA will have Perth Glory compete in this 32 team competition, as well as the two Cool Ridge Cup Finalists. One of the questions raised several months ago by the Football Union was how much of the television money would filter down to the clubs playing in this competition. It would appear the answer is nil, as according to the presentation “Fox Sports has agreed to heavily promote and broadcast a high number of matches either through pay-TV or via streaming.” Having shelled out $148 million in cash and another $12million in marketing, Fox Sports are unlikely to be injecting more money, and the FFA are unlikely to have any left from what they have promised the A-League clubs.
This competition is supposedly going to go from 32 teams participating in 2014 to “as many as 500-600 clubs participating throughout the country” by 2015.
The presentation then moves into use of the NPL logo at great length before talking about the Participation Agreement that was given to the NPL clubs that evening. After that it declares that the “Top of the Ladder qualifies” for the NPL Championship finals and confirms that WA has already been drawn to play against South Australia’s Champions; It may however be Premiers, time will tell. Is that convenient or a coincidence? We will not know until next year’s draw, surely it cannot be a set draw each year?
The presentation then moves onto the role of the club media co-ordinator, interestingly the two hours proposed for the position has gone, which is just as well as they will have to write a match preview and a match report, tweet, update Facebook, liaise with local media, update the club website, feed into the NPL website and no doubt co-ordinate the filming of the game and the goals with the free camera supplied by Football West, for their goal of the week package. Sounds like a key position in the club and plenty of work.
So using this information and the news that Nike will be a sponsor of the NPL in kind, to the value of $50,000, which is likely to be split between all the participating NPL clubs, so $5000 each, which the clubs were told would be taken off their registration fees, one has to wonder why a club would want to be a part of such a competition.
Your operating costs are going to have risen purely by having to supply a technical director who will oversee all the paid accredited coaches of your eight teams from under 12′s up as well as a media co-ordinator. Your accounting fees will rise by having to supply quarterly figures to Football West. You are now going to have to film and do your own match report; a saving to Football West of about $1500 per week, yet that money has not been mooted as being filtered back to the clubs. You are giving up key signage at your ground as well as the production of a match day program, which are both income opportunities. You get no TV money, You get no prize money. In fact you get no money at all, just credit on your registration fees. Oh yes and these have gone up at both senior and junior level.
It will all be worth it to be crowned NPL Champions of WA. Or will it? As Champions of the NPL in Western Australia what do you get apart from that title? Nothing, nada, nil. It is the finalists in the cup who have the kudos of playing in the FFA cup, and it is the League Premiers who will play off for the NPL Championship, even though they are not champions. Surely therefore it should be re-branded the NPL Premiership, and if this team is going to be crowned Champions/Premiers of Australia, the league winners are now the recognised winners of the competition? Or is that too logical?
The only consolation must be that clause we mentioned at the beginning, “Football West may alter, add to, clarify or delete any of these rules at its discretion. Any changes to these rules will be communicated to clubs.” No doubt clubs signing the Participation Agreement will be looking forward to such communication to put their minds at ease.
There are many people in Australia who do not like the finals format used in sport around the country, there are others who simply find the ever changing formats hard to follow.
There is definitely a place for finals, but one has to ask whether there is merit in having half the teams in the competition in the finals series, as this can only be interpreted as rewarding mediocrity.
If there was confusion before, there is likely to be more in football circles with the proposed format of the National Premier Leagues Finals. The NPL is a restructure of the game at semi-professional level to satisfy promises made to the Asian Football Confederation by the Football Federation of Australia. The NPL is to be the official second tier competition to the Hyundai A-League.
Western Australia will commence its NPL competition in early March 2013. The team that wins the home and away league season will be crowned Premiers, but the team that wins the expanded finals series contested between the top six teams will be crowned the Champions.
The Champions are the recognised overall winners, as in most Australian competitions. Yet in a strange twist the Champions will not be the team playing off for the title of NPL Champions of Australia, as waiting for the results of the finals series will apparently take too long in order to arrange flights and accommodation. IT could however also mean that the Premiers if they progressed in both competitions would be faced with a dilemma as to which final to play in? Sounds like a well thought through situation that will really enhance the game.
So the State Champions will not play for the National Championship, the Premiers will and they could in fact be crowned Champions of Australia but not Champions in their own state. If that makes sense and is indeed the best outcome for the game, can someone explain how.
It will be interesting to hear the AFC’s view on this as the FFA insisted that the Grand Final winners were the Champions of the A-league and they must be recognised as that and not the Premier’s Plate winners. They were the team to be rewarded with a place in the Asian Champions League, – although two teams were in fact given places – yet now the very rules they fought so hard for, they are changing themselves.
Of course should the Premier team win and in time have the opportunity of being promoted to the A-League, and let us not forget this is why the NPL has been created, to satisfy AFC that Australia has a second tier and there is promotion and relegation, even if that may not eventuate immediately. There could be legal issues which would follow, as a team that was not the ‘champion’ under the competition rules has prevented one who is from gaining that opportunity to play in the A-League. The wording of the competition rules is going to have to be looked at very carefully from the beginning, and not changed when someone challenges them.
Sadly once again we see an example of something not being thought through and the game opening itself up for legal challenges. If more people with an understanding of the game were involved in these decisions it may be extremely beneficial.
Its Melbourne Cup day and not only will the winning horse, jockey and owner being going home with a nice cash prize as well as being a part of history, but thousands of punters will be rushing to pick up their winnings from various betting outlets.
In both cases it is the being involved the taking part that is the driving force, but if you win you want the rewards due to you.
Not The Footy Show was therefore surprised to hear that one sporting body in Western Australia is not giving its competition winners the cash prize that comes with being crowned Champions. The winning team has been given some cash and the rest is being held as a credit for next season. This has apparently ben the case for the past few years.
As we are talking about sums of several thousand dollars surely the clubs would rather have that money sitting in their bank account earning interest rather than the administrators?
It seems a bizarre set of circumstances. Were all the teams in the competition aware that these would be the terms if they won the competition?
Imagine if the various betting outlets held back some of the winnings from the lucky punters, as credit for next year, or if the Victoria Racing Club said the same to the winning owner, jockey and trainer?
A very strange situation and even more strange that the clubs accept these terms.
There are many sporting teams who have never managed to reach the summit and claim that elusive title, but when one that has been competing for decades finally achieves that goal its worth sharing.
Mangaung in South Africa – formerly known as Free State – finally became national netball champions after over 50 years in the competition. They came from behind last weekend to beat favourites Gauteng 39-36.
The last time Free State won the title was when Southern Free State were champions in 1961 and then backed up to win again in 1962.
What made this victory all the more special is that Mangaung have played in six finals in the last ten years and on each occasion ended up on the losing side. Gauteng were going for their fourth successive title.
So congratulations to Mangaung enjoy the moment; we certainly hope it will not be another 50 years before your next title.
On Saturday evening returning flanker George Smith won his 10th Brett Robinson Player’s Player award at the University of Canberra Brumbies end of season Presentation Night.
In what was definitely his final season with the Brumbies, Smith extended his already massive record of winning the award to 10. The last occasion he won being in 2010. George Smith is also the club’s most capped player with 142 appearances.
Smith left the University of Canberra Brumbies after the 2010 Super Rugby season and headed to France where he played with Toulon before moving to Japan to link with Suntory. He also enjoyed a short-term stint with iconic Parisian outfit, Stade Francais in 2012
This season Smith rejoined the Brumbies after representing Suntory in the Japanese league where he helped the club claiming the it’s fifth title. He then was an inspired recruitment by coach Jake White. Smith’s experience helped guide the Brumbies to the Super Rugby final where they were beaten by defending Champions the Chiefs.
The success of Smith and his recruitment by former Springbok coach Jake White was an issue not lost on many in South Africa. As Springbok coach White frequently bemoaned the work done by Smith at the breakdown, and questioned whether at times he in fact was infringing on the laws of the game. In South Africa flankers are often referred to as ‘fetchers’ and when White was asked why the 33 year old was so successful by a South African journalist he smiled and replied, ‘because he fetches.’
It would appear it is great when you have a player like Smith playing for you, not quite the same when he is playing for the opposition. The same is no doubt said about Richie McCaw and also David Pocock when fit.
Smith was an inspired selection by White as a replacement for the injured Pocock and his tenth award is testament to a truly great player.
As the three big name players, Ono, del Piero and Heskey, withdraw from the Foxtel A-League All Stars to meet Manchester United one has to now ask questions as to whether this exercise although appearing a good one is something that should be binned in the future.
The All Stars were voted on by the fans and then based on the votes a panel of wise heads in football selected the final team. It was good to see who the public thought were the best players in the A-League and as the votes came in debate raged as it always does with any team selection; Some selections coming as a surprise to many supposed experts.
The problem with the modern day internet voting is it can so easily be influenced by a few to give a desired result. For example a fan forum could get behind one particular player at an A-League club and push all its members to vote for that player. He may well then poll well enough to be in the team, even if he was not the best player in the League.
The person one has to feel sorry for is the coach who has to try and mould these players into a team at short notice, as well as have them play good attractive football. No easy task in such a small time frame.
There is no doubt that this game will have a great deal of appeal to many fans who have not had the chance to see Manchester United play in England and support from afar. It is fantastic to see them back in Australia, but one can’t help feeling that a game against the Olyroos or the A-League Champions and/or Premiers would have had more appeal. Fans support a team, not individual players. However saying that, most fans are always pleased to see players from their club receive selection in such teams and for national honours.
With players selected having retired, been transferred and injured it has made the selection process a bit of a farce. Now that the three biggest names in the team have all withdrawn from the team and the game, its credibility is coming under even closer scrutiny.
The All Star team was a great idea that had plenty of merit, it is a shame that circumstances have meant it has not panned out the way everyone would have hoped. Will that mean the idea will or should be shelved? Time will tell.
Wrestling will have to wait until the end of the year to find out if it maintains its place at the Summer Olympic Games. At present it faces being dropped, and unless it can state a very strong case along with seven other sports as to why it should still have a place in the 2020 Games, it will be gone.
Since the announcement in February some very high profile supporters have stepped forward including Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was quoted as saying “The removal of traditional sports that have been central from the beginning and were in the programme of the Olympic Games in the times of Ancient Greece… is unjustified.”
Two former Olympic Champions Bulgarian Valentin Iordanov now his country’s wrestling federation chief and Russia’s Sagid Murtazaliev returned their medals to the IOC as a form of protest should the sport that has featured in every modern Olympic Games since 1896 – with the exception of 1900- be dropped.
Nenad Lalovic President of the International Federation of Wrestling (FILA) saw this as a ‘golden opportunity’ for the sport. “We are very grateful to improve our sport at every level and to help strengthen the Olympic movement. FILA has already begun a number of innovative initiatives to modernise the governance, presentation and promotion of our sport.” he said after a meeting with IOC head Jacques Rogge earlier this year.
One such change has seen the sport already talking to sporting goods manufacturers to produce a new singlet that will look different for Greco-roman events. They are to be applauded for including women in the sport. and athletes in this decision process.
One of the key reasons the sport finds itself in this predicament is that spectators often found the sport unwatchable as they did not understand the rules. Some of the blame for this must lie with the television commentators for not being able to put the rules across and excite the viewers. Lalovic is hoping that soon, spectators will leave events fully understanding the rules. If he can achieve that he will undoubtedly grow the sport’s popularity.
One sport not waiting to find itself in the same situation following the Games after Rio in 2016 is Fencing. Suggestions have been made for the protective tip to be removed from the foil so that the thrust will penetrate the opponent’s padding should he or she fail to parry.
In this fast-food world it would appear that spectators are no longer happy to take time to learn the rules. They need to understand the sport immediately or they will move on. Traditional sports such as these that are steeped in history as much as tactics face massive changes to satisfy consumer demand and maintain their olympic status. Hopefully at some stage someone will realise that without tradition, the Games will lose a great deal of meaning and will simply become another sporting event in an already packed schedule.
The sports vying for inclusion are: Baseball and softball a combined bid, roller sports, sport climbing (Indoor climbing), squash, Wakeboarding, and martial arts Karate and Wushu.
It will be the battle of the potential wooden spooners in Super Rugby on Saturday night at NIB Stadium when the Emirates Western Force take on the Highlanders from New Zealand. The Highlanders have had a horror season and will be looking for a much needed win as they make their way home after their trip to the Republic. The Force will be looking for a performance that lasts 80 minutes to show their loyal supporters they can deliver a win.
The Force have had some impressive performances with wins over the Crusaders and the Reds and going down to the reigning Champions the Chiefs by a point, but too often they have thrown games away through their own ill discipline, or not treasuring possession. Last week was a case in point, leading at half time they gave away two needless penalties after the re-start and fell behind to the Sharks, and then the backs continually kicked away possession that the forwards had worked hard to win.
It has been a frustrating season for Force fans as the team shows glimpses of what is possible, many claim that the team lacks consistency. Others claim they lack concentration for the full 80 minutes. The truth lies somewhere in between.
The Force have three games left in this year’s Super Rugby season and all the games are at home. It is vital that they manage to string some wins together in order to placate their corporate sponsors and their loyal fans. What is worrying are rumours that Emirates will no longer continue their naming rights sponsorship, as well as another key sponsor withdrawing; however that we believe is because of a change of ownership in the company and nothing to do with the Force’s form. Some sponsors are already stating that they are finding it increasingly difficult to fill their boxes on match days, the reason being the Perth public tend to only want to watch winning sides. This is clear in all codes of football as well as other sports.
So how far away are the Force from turning that corner? If one looks at their results overall it would appear not that far. Apart from the 41-7 thrashing from the Brumbies no other team has run over the top of the side. If we take their two wins out of the equation, they have played eleven other games. Out of those eleven games they have lost six, more than half of those games by seven points or less. That is one converted try. Yes, it is still a loss, but the margin of the loss would tend to indicate they are not too far away from turning these losses into victories. They probably require a few new recruits in the off season to tip these games in their favour, in particular a couple of backs who are capable of turning a game, they do not need to be big name players, just players capable of breaking the line on a regular basis.
For the last three games though, they must learn to treasure possession, be patient, and limit where they infringe on the park. When Jake White took over the Springboks he looked at the number of kickable penalties the side conceded in a game, and over the ensuing years worked on reducing this. He succeeded and the result was the Springboks winning their second World Cup. Managing that discipline in the heat of battle can have a dramatic effect on a teams performances.
The Force are not far from victory, but the game against the Highlanders is a crucial game, and one that they must win.
Finals are a part of Australian sport, and they are here to stay. They also serve a very good purpose; in keeping the season interesting for teams whose season may well have already been over with no chance of winning anything.
There are many who have questioned the FFA opting to reward six out of the ten teams in the Hyundai A League with a finals berth, and the opportunity to be named the Champions of Australia. Something that even the confederation to which Australia belongs to, the AFC, fails to acknowledge, with the Asian Champions League place being given to the team that tops the League ladder.
The FFA have changed the finals format this season giving the top two teams very little benefit for their consistency all season, they lose one game and they are out. Gone is their second chance, a reward for their consistency.
Many believe that the changes have not gone far enough. With the sixth placed team, Perth Glory, being 25 points behind the ‘League Premiers’ Western Sydney Wanderers, maybe they have a point. The Premiers were even 22 points ahead of the fifth placed team, Brisbane Roar. This equates to winning eight and seven games more respectively, which is a huge amount.
In fact both of these two sides lost more games than they won all season, and therefore it seems a little strange that they should warrant a place in the finals and a chance to be crowned the Champions of Australia. Perth Glory won nine of their 27 games and lost 13, while Brisbane Roar won ten and lost 12. For the record all of the top four teams won more games than they lost.
There are many who believe the finals should be played between the top four, and played on a home and away basis with the aggregate score deciding the two finalists, the standings this year lend weight to that argument.
If the FFA wish to stick with six teams in the finals series maybe they should make it a requirement that to qualify the sides must have won more or at least as many games as they have lost to qualify. The big plus should such a rule be adopted is teams will have to play attacking football towards the end of the season to ensure they have the required number of victories.
Then again a top four in a ten team league seems a much simpler and fairer solution. As they say the League ladder seldom lies.
There is no doubt that Boxing is heading for a major showdown. Just over a week ago AIBA (International Amateur Boxing Association) ordered all boxing associations around the world to drop the word Amateur from their titles. Indicating the end of amateur boxing, a crucial part in the development of future World Champions.
This should not have come as a total surprise with AIBA creating World Series Boxing and selling Franchises around the world for boxers to sign up to. The winners receiving financial reward for their success. Many believe that this latest move is one that emphasises AIBA President Dr CK Wu looking to seize control of the sport world wide, especially as the noble art has suffered from too many versions of a World Title and lost market share to Mixed Martial Arts.
At the World Boxing Council Conference in Cancun a session was dedicated to this move and several of the smaller national boxing boards declared that they had been offered financial inducements to show allegiance to AIBA.
Ultimately it is believed that this move will see the end of amateur boxing, the end of boxers wearing headgear in fights, the end of national boards running the sport and the end of promoters as AIBA will determine who fights who and not the money men.
The WBC revealed that they had written to the head of the IOC Jacques Rogge asking where this means that boxing will stand in the Olympic Games, as if it is to no longer be an exclusively amateur sport then boxers from the professional field should now be allowed to enter the Games. At the time of the conference they had not received a reply, and so a delegation was announced that will be heading to IOC headquarters in Switzerland to discuss the issue face to face.
The fear amongst many at the WBC convention was that AIBA wishes to take total control of the sport along the lines of FIFA; which one would not think is the ideal model on which to base your sporting governance. However it was felt that if boxing is to become totally professional then the Olympic Games should be restricted to fighters who have had 15 or less professional bouts.
It would of course mean the end of the WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO, so there is bound to be a large opposition from the professional ranks to such a move.
It is a shame that AIBA – who will no doubt have to change their name too – has taken this move even if it was inevitable as the amateur ranks and the Olympic games tournament has helped produce some truly great World Champions. Champions who have said that the amateur ranks were where they built up experience and also learned their technique, boxing greats such as Muhammed Ali, Lennox Lewis, and Sugar Ray Leonard.
It would appear that this is only round one, it will be interesting to see how the fight develops. One thing is for sure it may be a painful period for boxing, but if it results in less World Champions that has to be good for all concerned, however unity will be the key.