Australia must cherry-pick the best parts of a global game

by Ashley Morrison on Jun 22, 2011

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It would appear that Australian football is heading in the right direction and will soon be ahead of England if the comments made by William Gaillard senior advisor to UEFA President Michel Platini are anything to go by.

At the UK enquiry into the governance of English Football he stated that the England team would never be successful at international level unless they followed models adopted in other countries.

The strength of the Barclays Premier League he believed had weakened the English FA as the professional game and its players have been allowed to dominate the way the game is run in England.

The crux he believed was that England needed to learn from the Dutch, who he said, had “an excellent grassroots model” and that the FA should employ a technical director. Football Federation of Australia has both of these. So that is a step in the right direction.

The vision of the Technical director is one thing, however the pathways are another.

The FFA’s blinkered approach to the Socceroos is a current concern as it is appearing to neglect many other areas of the game, especially the state bodies, which they claim they are not responsible for, but the public and the states feel otherwise.

Everyone understands that the Socceroos and the Matildas – who are also to some degree neglected in comparison to the Socceroos - are the pinnacle of the game and success on the world stage will help attract sponsors, players and media coverage, but there is more to promoting the game than focusing solely on the international teams.

The Hyundai A-League is in desperate need of promotion. The taglines used in recent seasons have been nothing less than embarrassing; who can honestly name 90 emotions? The league does not need clever taglines; it simply needs strong images that will speak for themselves.

Just as FFA use Harry Kewell and Tim Cahill to attract people to the Socceroos, so too do children need heroes in the A-League to draw them to the game.

Mr. Gaillard also said that the English FA “are probably in a weaker spot that any other FA in Europe.” The reason being that they have handed over power to people outside of their organisation, the players and key clubs.

It is understood that the FFA are treading a similar path. With key senior Socceroo players being asked their opinion and their availability before proposed international friendlies are sanctioned. If these key players don’t fancy the game, it doesn’t happen.

Australia needs to keep an eye on what is happening in the game around the world, and cherry pick approaches that suit our unique environment. We are a diverse nation culturally as well as an expansive one in terms of land area, so we have issues that are truly unique, but we can still succeed if we choose the right approaches, all it takes is a little vision and expertise to know what to adopt and what to ignore.