Posts tagged ‘Western Australia’
The legacy of the London Olympic Games was supposed to be more young people becoming involved in sport, and Britain becoming a healthy place for children to grow up. Sadly the honeymoon is over and reports state that there has been a marked drop off in sports participation. This should be no surprise as most sports suffer the same hangover, football and rugby being two that once a year has passed after their World Cups numbers drop.
However when it comes to the Paralympics it is a different story. In fact it is completely the opposite, as sport for youngsters with a disability is very much on the rise in the UK.
Panathon is one of the reasons for this. This is a program to give youngsters with a disability the opportunity to try competitive sports that they would never get the chance to do at school. It has helped make sport accessible to these children and with Paralympian heroes such as swimmer Liz Johnson as ambassadors the program has gathered huge momentum.
Australia is lucky that such programs already exist through organisations such as Wheelchair Sports WA. Western Australia sent 17 Paralympians to London as well as three coaches. These representatives returned with 12 medals, 2 Gold, 9 Silver and 1 Bronze medals from the London Games. The medals coming in Athletics, Handcycling, Swimming, and Wheelchair Basketball.
Wheelchair Sports WA has some great junior programs in place and children do not have to follow the elite pathway if they do not want to, it is all about participation, inclusion and having fun. The key is making the public aware of the great work being done and the inspirational athletes under our noses.
In the presentations on the NPL (National Premier Leagues) in Western Australia clubs have repeatedly been told that one of the positions in the new League will be given to the Perth Glory Youth Team. They will take up the senior team position and the reserves and the NTC will take up the team positions in the lower age groups until we get down to the Skillaroos; another development program run by Football West for younger players.
The CEO of Football West Peter Hugg stated on the radio show “Let’s Talk Football” that Perth Glory owner Tony Sage would pay an entry fee to be in the league which would be the same as all of the other clubs.
One question that has not been answered is where the team will play. All of the clubs entering the NPL are required to meet a criteria in relation to their ground, yet it would appear that the richest club, and the game’s governing body are exempt. There has been talk of the team ground-sharing with another club and that is still a distinct possibility. The other option is that they may play all of their games away from home.
This happened previously when the club was owned by Nick Tana, and he set up Future Glory, who played for one year in the state league competition. Mr Tana, having been around the game at that level for a number of years, was only too well aware that putting on a game even at State League level costs money; bar staff have to be paid, as does a groundsman etcetera. Taking that into account he paid each club an agreed sum when they hosted Future Glory. Will Mr. Sage be prepared to do the same? If not one has to ask why not?
The interesting thing however is why this team has to be in the league at all. It has been claimed that this is the case in all of the NPLs around the country, yet if you look at the states where the NPL is already in operation none of the A-League sides have their youth teams participating. Phone calls made over East to other states yet to introduce the NPL have resulted in Not the Footy Show being advised that there are no plans for them to have their A-League sides participate either.
Which is all rather confusing to say the least. In National Technical Director Han Berger’s presentation it clearly states that this is to be the case nationally, yet it would appear that Western Australia will be the only state to implement it. If it does appear that Western Australia are to be the only state looking to let their local A League side into the new league, – should it actually eventuate, – then surely the clubs should vote on the side’s inclusion?
The big problem is that this argument will not hold any weight in five months time as come the end of 2013 season the current clubs will have no power. The game’s governing body will decide which clubs deserve the right to be in the NPL and having hand picked these clubs they will continue to hold the power as to where the league goes and who is in it.
Football West say that the correct decision making process is via the Standing Committees yet this raises another major question. Will they be submitting changes to the Football West constitution to the FFA as the newly elected Men’s State League Standing Committee will no longer exist; the FFA have to approve any changes to a state body’s constitution. Will there be an NPL standing committee? Will this mean another round of elections in six months? It should do, as you cannot write such a change into the constitution now without another election, then again maybe the current standing committee will be there purely to represent those teams who do not get in the NPL.
There are still so many questions around this new League but one that constantly keeps cropping up is how can this new competition carry the moniker “National” when just like the game’s governing bodies around Australia the rules of entry are different in every state.
Perth Glory fans attended last night’s FFA Fan Forum in Perth but many will have gone home as frustrated as when they entered Perth Soccer Club who were hosting teh event.
One valid question that was raised was the kick off times of Perth Glory games on a Friday evening on the East coast. Some games are being played at 7.30pm on the East coast which makes it hard for fans to either get home or to a pub to watch the game as with daylight saving it means kick off is 4.30pm in the West. Head of the Hyundai A League Damien de Bohun, simply stated “There is not a lot we can do about it.”
As for all games in the final round being played at the same time and ensuring that no fixtures in that final round is deemed ‘dead’ due to an earlier result. Mr de Bohun, did not see any merit in this and stated that not every league in the world follows this format so it was not something that the FFA would be looking at in the near future.
Another suggestion from the floor was that the first round of the finals games be played over two legs, home and away ensuring that all teams in the finals receive a home final. Mr de Bohun said that discussions on the finals format had taken place at length, but that this format would not be seen in 2013/14 as the fixtures have been locked in and will be revealed this week.
When it came to the finals Glory fans asked why a finals game would be scheduled for a Friday night as was the case with the Glory’s game against Melbourne Victory. They stated that this gave fans extremely short notice to get across to the East coast to support their team, and affected the amount of fans who could go, as they would have to take time off work, again at short notice. The questioner never really received a definitive answer on this issue. The one thing that became increasingly clear is that Fox Sports scheduling dictates the fixture times far more than the game’s governing body.
It was also asked whether Perth Glory home games could be shown as a delayed telecast in Western Australia as a tool to encouraging fans to attend the games. The response to this question was that ‘with teams from different time zones this is very difficult, as people want to watch live action.’
One thing that was positive for Glory fans was the chance of seeing either Youth League or the W-League teams playing as curtain raisers to the main team next season look a real possibility. It was also good to hear from Peter Hugg CEO of Football West who run the W-League side, that Glory members can use their membership to attend W-League games free of charge. This was something that many fans were unaware of, and will hopefully grow the W-League crowds.
Head of the FFA David Gallop stated the he had met with the Western Australian Minister for sport and stated that he felt the opening game at the new stadium in 2018 should be a Socceroos game. The last time that WA hosted a Socceroos game was in 2004. Although he also stated that to host a Socceroos game the FFA required government support, which seemed a strange situation. It was made clear that with this being the case the everyday fans need to lobby the government and make them aware that they want such a game to happen, and that they would support it. The fans will do this because they want to see our national teams playing, but this seems a strange approach by a governing body which has so many participants and followers, and surely it should be a case of asking them to lend their support to the FFAs approaches.
When it came to the running of the Youth and the W-League teams – which must survive – Tony Sage stated that these two teams cost him in the region of $600,000 per year and that was why he had withdrawn from supporting the W-League side. A question was raised as to whether it was appropriate that the state bodies should have to take on this financial burden, Football West CEO Peter Hugg stated that ‘fans do not need to know who is paying the cheques.’ If these teams are to be run by the State bodies around the country then surely money should be coming from the top to support the league rather than the state bodies having to find the money to do so? If the money is not available to filter down to the top level of Women’s football in the country what hope is there of money coming down to the NPL?
There were some excellent questions raised but unfortunately many of the answers simply raised more questions.
The Football Federation of Australia held their first fan Forum in the West last night, as many fans described it ‘the forgotten state’ in Australian Football. In attendance on the panel were Damien de Bohun head of the A League and W League, CEO David Gallop from the FFA, and Tony Sage owner of Perth Glory along with Head Coach Alistair Edwards. Peter Hugg the CEO of Football West was also on the panel which was moderated by the FFA’s Kyle Patterson, their head of corporate affairs and communications.
It was great that this event was finally taking place in Perth. David Gallop who was measured in his comments, as you would expect from a man who has only been in the job for six months, continually stated that the object of the Forum was to hear from the fans and the stakeholders but the responses from many of the panel left many wondering if the powers that be were actually listening.
Also in attendance was Emma Highwood from the FFA who was appointed to the role of Head of Community Football, and when she spoke one wondered why she was not on the panel, as she spoke well, and her comments in the main had merit.
What was interesting was the fact that event was advertised on the FFA press release as finishing at 9.30pm, yet Kyle Patterson closed the forum down at 9pm and there were no questions of a general nature as promoted would be available, and only one was allowed on the Women’s Game.
The reason for this was never really explained. No doubt they would say that the segments on the A League and the National teams went on longer than expected. They cannot say the same about the NPL discussion, which is one of the reasons the delegation are in Perth, as questions on this topic were brought to an abrupt halt when questions of compensation and financial support were raised. If it was an issue with time, that would appear strange as most of the delegation are still in Perth today for meetings.
One thing that became clear was that somewhere in these proposed radical changes to the structure of the game with the introduction of the NPL, information would appear to have been miscommunicated. CEO Peter Hugg stated that following support from the clubs the board voted to push ahead with Western Australia joining the NPL. Yet the newly formed Football Union has a large number of State League clubs signing a document stating that they are far from in agreement with this move. They also have stated that they never voted on such an issue. It is believed that the Board were advised that the clubs were in favour of the move based on that information, and that is why they signed off on the re-structure. Hopefully the Board will investigate as to how such a misunderstanding has arisen and communicate their findings back to the stakeholders and the clubs.
Was there a benefit to the Forum? There is always some benefit from open dialogue but regrettably one felt that the fans and stakeholders were subjected more to FFA rhetoric than the game’s governors listening to the feelings of the fans. The two people to come out of the Forum with the most credit would have to be Perth Glory Coach Alistair Edwards who was articulate and being a true football person spoke a great deal of sense. Tony Sage kept his comments brief and as a result he too came out with a great deal of credit.
The Indian author Arundhati Roy wrote that ’There is really no such thing as the voiceless. There are only the deliberately silenced or the preferably unheard.’ Unfortunately many left last night’s Forum feeling they understood exactly what she meant.
There are plenty of people in Western Australia who will stand at the bar and tell you what is wrong with football in this state, many will tell you that no one wants to listen. It would appear that this is no longer the case with the Football Federation of Australia finally bringing their Fans Forum to Western Australia.
The event is to be held on Monday 20th of May at the Perth Soccer Club.
The choice of venue will not please many and shows a naivety on the part of those organising the event. Despite Perth having the best facilities this event should have been held at a neutral venue as it opens up Perth to the possibility of unfair criticism and accusations of favouritism.
On the panel will be CEO of the FFA David Gallop, Head of Hyundai A-League Damien de Bohun, Chairman of Perth Glory, Coach of Perth Glory Alistair Edwards and CEO of Football West Peter Hugg. It has not been revealed who will chair the meeting.
According to the FFA press release on the agenda are the following topics the Qantas Socceroos, Westfield Matildas, National Premier Leagues, FFA Cup, grassroots football and the Hyundai A-League, Westfield W-League and National Youth League competitions.
Not The Footy Show can’t help but question the timing of this Forum. First of all the announcement a week ago by Football West that they will push ahead with the National Premier League despite most clubs having grave concerns over the structure and who is going to finance it. Maybe this meeting has been timed to coincide with this move and therefore expect a great deal of ‘spin’ to support this decision. One question that may be worth tabling is what would happen if no clubs in Western Australia submitted for the NPL? Which when one considers how little information has been given on this radical new league would be a sensible development, yet sadly clubs currently feel they are being pressured to sign up in order to survive. Some we have been advised even being encouraged to submit an application!
As well as coming to support the NPL, don’t be surprised if with David Gallop in town an announcement is not made on Football being granted money by the Government for a new home. Something that the game has been crying out for ever since all segments united and they moved out of the old Perry Lakes offices, something that cost the game greatly; as had we stayed like basketball and Rugby we may well have already had a new home.
Quite what the Head of the Hyundai A League will have to share with those who attend is questionable, apart from crowds being up and viewing on Fox being up. Maybe he can explain why the W-League side which no longer receives any funding from the A league side should still have to operate under the same name?
It could be an interesting evening if similar events in other states are anything to go by. It will also be interesting to see what the main topics of conversation prove to be. One can’t help feeling that the NPL and youth development will in fact take priority over some of those topics listed.
Another that probably needs to be raised is where will funding come from should the Socceroos fail to qualify for the World Cup next year?
If you want to air your views on the game and the direction it is heading make sure you attend this meeting. Football needs your voice.
Football West has very wisely opted to sit back and watch how the National Premier League structure of the game is implemented in other states around the country, before committing to it 100 percent. This is a very wise move and one that should be applauded, as they will have the benefit of seeing how things pan out in the other leagues and adapting to prevent the same problems arising in Western Australia.
However they are still pushing ahead with making the state league clubs comply with the requirements to be a part of the National Premier League. Which will benefit the game whether they proceed or not.
Clubs in Western Australia however would be wise to cast an eye across the country before accepting such a reform to the State League competition. The current league may not be fantastic and has stagnated in recent years, but it does have history and has managed to survive upheaval in the past. Sometimes it is better the devil you know.
Queensland’s National Premier League is a good example to keep an eye on. In the current league there are only three sides who were in the Hyundai Queensland Premier League of 2012 in the same incarnation.
New sides are in the league this year and according to many already the league has become a three horse race, after just seven rounds. One person involved in Queensland football scene who requested to remain anonymous told “Not The Footy Show” ‘it’s a complete farce and we are only seven games in. With any luck they will scrap it next year and go back to how it was.’ Players from the established clubs stayed with their old clubs and opted to play with them in a lower division, and the sides elected into the top league are simply not strong enough. CQFC have conceded 42 goals in their seven games! Western Pride have conceded 20, while FNQFC have conceded 22.
The model has been to place clubs who meet the criteria on peripheral issues and not the football played on the park in the National Premier League. This has given the state body the chance to put clubs in key development areas. This has a great deal of merit, but in sport you should always have to earn the right to play at the highest level, it should not be given to you because you have clean toilets, spacious changing rooms and a decent car park.
Clubs in Western Australia would also be wise to remember why the National Premier League model, is trying to be rushed through by the FFA. The powers that be promised the AFC when they joined that they would have a second tier competition below the A-League and that there would be promotion and relegation. The deadline for that promise has passed, and the AFC want to know what is being done.
Even if this model does get approved in the West, will we see an NPL club promoted to the A-League, should they win the proposed Champion’s play offs? Could many State League clubs afford to make such a leap? How would an A-League license holder feel to see his club no longer playing in the top league?
Rest assured clubs will again have to meet a new criteria to be promoted, and that will be the protection clause for the current A-League clubs. The one good thing is no club could be precluded because of their ground, as after all no A-League club with the exception of the Newcastle Jets, owns the ground that they play at.
Perth Glory once again were the victims of a poor refereeing decision irrespective of whether they should have sealed the game prior to the last minute penalty being awarded to Melbourne Victory. The question is what is going to be done about it?
It is refreshing to hear coach Alistair Edwards who has only recently come out of the FFA’s employ quoted in The Australian newspaper as saying “I don’t want to come across as a grump but I can fully understand the rage that Perth Glory fans are feeling because it is happening far too often. The crucial decisions are going against the club. The fans are coming up to me and asking ‘why is it Perth Glory? Why isn’t it happening to Western Sydney, Sydney FC, Melbourne Victory?” A similar question that was asked on several occasions by former Glory coaches Ron Smith, David Mitchell and Ian Ferguson, but who were all told to stop whinging.
This writer is not a parochial supporter of all things Western Australian, but the FFA now have a serious problem. The perception has been for a long time that they are Sydney and Melbourne-centric, and that they would prefer to see finals played between teams from these two cities as it ensures a bigger crowd and is cheaper to stage in terms of flying staff, sponsors and other hangers on to the final. That perception is beginning to look like a reality.
They say that lightening does not strike twice in the same place, but in the A League it would appear to do so. Referee Jarrod Gillett who awarded a controversial penalty in the final minute of last years Grand Final to allow Brisbane Roar to take the title, – a penalty where we blamed the Glory defender for going to ground and giving Berisha the chance to dive – this year awarded one to give Melbourne Victory a last minute penalty to equalise. This one was never even close to being a penalty. Let us also not forget the controversial W-League semi final, where bizarrely after having walked back to the halfway line having had her penalty saved Melbourne Victory’s Jessica McDonald was told to re-take her penalty because the Glory ‘keeper, Kaitlyn Savage was deemed to have moved off her line. Replays proved the decision questionable. McDonald scored and Melbourne were in the Grand Final. A win to the Glory would have seen them host the Grand Final.
Club Captain Jacob Burns who has been a victim at times of reputation has spoken out, and is likely to be fined for his comments. A fine that hopefully the club will pay. “I don’t understand how a referee like Jarred Gillett gets our game again and how he can make such poor judgment once again.It’s ended our finals campaign and I don’t want to sound like sour grapes, but he’s got to hold up his hand and be accountable for some very, very poor decisions out there today for both teams.” Burns said and went on with “It can happen once, shame on us, but it’s happened twice,two years in a row in finals football. If this league wants to get better they’re going to have to start with the refereeing.It’s going the other way for me. That’s my personal opinion. It’s left a lot to be desired.”
It is time the club made a stand. This writer played in a cricket final many years ago in which the umpire made a decision that lost his team the final. The umpire admitted after the game that he had made a mistake – something it appears Mr Gillett is yet to do – and then admitted that he struggled to concentrate at times. Two years later we were in the final again, and the same umpire was appointed. A protest was lodged and the threat of not taking the field if he was umpiring was made. The said umpire being a decent man admitted what he had said two years before and stepped down. Perth Glory need to take a similar stance. Not only for the team and the fans but also for Gillett’s safety.
The frustrating thing is that there are solutions to avoid such things happening, including the one put forward on this site in 2009. See Blowing the Whistle.
The FFA can no longer bury their heads in the sand, the issue of refereeing standards needs to be addressed. The FFA also need to give serious thought as to how they can break down the belief held, not just in Perth, that the A-League, the FFA and Fox Sports are Sydney and Melbourne focussed. That will take a bit more work, but it needs to happen if the growing number of fans are to feel part of the game nationally.
Last week the English FA revealed it had become suspicious of betting on the sixth tier of English Football. It requested those with information to come forward. Soon after the governing body released a statement saying it would be contacting clubs in the Conference South division to advise them of their findings and ask them to remind players and officials of their responsibilities under the betting and integrity rules of the FA.
Most sports fans are only to well aware of how strong the betting culture has become in sport, and this news reveals that the bookmakers are no longer targeting the top flight players or matches, which spells an administrative nightmare for those charged with running the semi professional leagues around the world.
In Australia most people have focussed on the A League and betting but with betting already available on State League games around the country and with some fixtures featured on the Pools coupons -something that guarantees a small revenue each year to the state body – who is to say that local players and local clubs will not now be the target of betting syndicates in Asia? With a salary cap now in place in Western Australia and some players being forced to coach, or run fitness programs for clubs that they really do not want to do, they could become easy targets for those trying to influence a result.
If a local player was approached to ‘not try too hard’ and there was $500 in it, some may well be tempted to accept, especially those just passing through. The FFA and the local governing bodies need to jump on top of this as soon as possible, as with many of the leagues in Asia moving towards being privately run, in other words no longer run by the game’s governing body, opportunities to influence results will be reduced and new markets will need to be found. Australia will undoubtedly be one such target.
It would appear that the powers that be running football in Australia may well have a plan B in place when it comes to the second tier of football in Australia.
The much vaunted National Premier League competition has been billed as being the re-branded level below the Hyundai A-League, with state League clubs being relied upon to produce the next generation of professional players. However with some states including Western Australia holding back before committing to such a system it would appear that behind the scenes other moves are afoot.
When the Hyundai A League commenced any club or person who was connected to ‘old’ football was immediately discarded and ignored. With the passing of time, or maybe a new CEO that stance appears to be changing.
There is no doubt having come from Rugby League David Gallop would be well aware of how vital it is to look after the club’s that have a history in the game.
Maybe that is why some of those former NSL clubs may well be making a comeback into the national footballing spotlight. Not the Footy Show believes that talks have been held with several of these clubs with a view to them stepping up and becoming full time professional clubs once again in a second division of the Hyundai A League, something the FFA promised the Asian Football Confederation when they joined. Obviously any of these teams that are successful would have the opportunity to once again grace the highest level of the game in Australia.
It is not clear which of the former NSL clubs still operating but now at a State Level have been approached but the stand out candidates would have to be Adelaide City and Brisbane Strikers as these would give these two cities two teams playing in a national competition. In Melbourne and Sydney, South Melbourne and Sydney Olympic and Marconi Stallions.
If you throw in a team from Canberra, Tasmania and Western Australia, with maybe a final one from the Northern Territory, if they could support it, suddenly you have an appealing second tier for the A League. You also have a truly national competition.
It would appear that this is only in a discussion phase, but it may well be a more feasible option than trying to promote clubs from a National Premier League competition. It would certainly help give the game back some history and tradition, and that is the foundation for most sports. Hopefully more details will become clear as they widen the net of discussions, but certainly this is a move that makes a great deal of sense.
Congratulations to The Perth Scorchers on a phenomenal win to make it to the final of the Big Bash League T20 Cricket competition. The way in which they came back after rain delays and having to beat the good old Duckworth-Lewis system was incredible. It now means Western Australia has both the male and female teams in T20 Finals with the Western Fury taking on the NSW breakers prior to the men’s finals.
Sadly though, many of those fans who attended the semi-final on wednesday night are faced with a huge dilemma. The start of the men’s final is 5pm, and if any of those fans play in local competitions they will still be at their games, unless they have managed to record an outright victory.
No doubt the game will still be a sell-out and Cricket Australia and the bean counters will be patting each other on the back and telling each other what a success the competition has been, but they are forgetting one key element, you should never alienate your key supporters.
Those who play cricket in WA would make up a large percentage of those wanting to attend the final, a fair proportion would be WACA members, and now with the timing of the final they will be forced to decide whether to let their club side down and attend or simply take it on the chin that they are not going to be able to attend.
It is accepted in sport today that the players receive the big dollars due to television money, but does that mean the sports administrators should sell their soul for that money?
Not The Footy Show does not know if the WACA argued long and hard on behalf of its fans to have a later start, but shouldn’t the organisation that has won the right to host the final, a final from which they hope to maximise incoming revenue, not have a say in when the game is played? Is that not their right?
It would appear that Cricket Australia, has kow-towed to the television company broadcasting the final, who want to air it on the East Coast at a reasonable hour, thereby attracting top dollar from advertisers to this their key market. The fact that in Summer Western Australia falls to three hours behind the two key cities of Sydney and Melbourne has meant that the game must start at 5pm so that it can be aired at 8pm on the East Coast and should be finished by just after 11pm.
Some will say who cares, in fact when the game is sold out the WACA administrators may well not give the matter another thought. However sport is supposed to be for the fans, and if success sees your core fans alienated because someone has chosen to sell control to a third party that is extremely foolish. On a day that Western Australia should be celebrating many are accepting that it is indeed a very sad day for Cricket as this decision shows who truly controls the game, and it is not Cricket’s administration.