Posts filed under ‘Football’

France Wins Box Seat

Everyone knows the story about the tortoise and the hare, well it may just be that France is the tortoise.

The nation was devastated when cross Channel rival, London won the rights for the 2012 Olympic Games, Paris having been in the running for the global event. However France may well have the last laugh.

It is in fact a Paris based company, Vinci, who currently operate the Stade de France who have won the lucrative contract to manage the London 2012 Stadium, as well as the Queen Elizabeth Park. Vinci, will be responsible for installing 21,000 retractable seats to allow spectators at West Ham United games to be closer to the action pitch side, while still maintaining a world class running track. The Stade de France is one venue where retractable seating has been a success in the main as the pitch is in fact slightly lower so that the seating remains tiered and close to the action.

It may just be that this French company can reap the rewards without the initial investment. Withs such strong rivalry between the two nations this is bound to be nice compensation for missing out on the Olympics in 2012.

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March 4, 2015 at 9:53 am Leave a comment

Football Must Unite for Change

It is refreshing to witness that Football appears to be finally be awakening from a slumber that has lasted almost four decades.

The BBC and Sky Sports have cleverly offered to host a live television debate amongst the candidates for Football’s top post the Presidency of FIFA. As they quite rightly state the current incumbent Sepp Blatter has frequently claimed that the rille is the equivalent to that of a head of state, so why not treat the run in for the Presidency in the same vein and have a televised debate, where all candidates get to air their views on key issues?

For too long Blatter and his acolytes have ruled with a complete air or arrogance and untouchability. Their lead has sadly been followed further down the pecking order by individual national Federations. On occasion FIFA has pulled them into line despite the hypocrisy of such actions, and on other occasions they have let sleeping dogs lie. On both occasions the game has been the one to suffer, along with those who support and participate outside of the professional game.

FIFA’s mission statement has been “For the Good of the Game.” Yet such a statement is ridiculous when one looks at the actions of the men in FIFA and insults the intelligence of those fans of the game. “The Football Family” is another annoying and equally condescending mission statement, especially when only the head of the family has a say.

News that there may in fact be a breakaway from FIFA is refreshing and long overdue. When you are unable to change something from the inside, that is if you can in fact get inside, then it is time for change.

The awarding of the next two World Cups to Russia and Qatar may well be the tipping point for change. How can a country where racism is endemic, as is the case in Russia host such a global party? How can a tournament traditionally played at the same time of year be moved and hosted by a nation built on slave labour and where the stadia construction has resulted in hundreds of deaths?

To show just how much FIFA does not care about due process, Secretary General Jerome Valcke has effectively admitted that FIFA bought off the threat of legal action on the timing of the 2022 World Cup by awarding the USA television rights to the 2026 tournament to Fox and NBC- owned Telemundo without going through the usual tender process. Compensation to all of the European Football leagues that will be disrupted by the 2022 World Cup being run in the lead up to Christmas will no doubt be settled in a similar way, because money talks. Greed saw the World Cup awarded to Qatar and greed will see many Football Federations roll over and have FIFA tickle their tummies with wads of cash, when it comes to compensation for a December tournament. Although Mr Blatter has assured his member nations the tournament will not run past the 18th of December; the final day of the tournament no doubt, as this is also coincidentally the National Day of Qatar!

Should the European and South American nations boycott the 2022 World Cup? Many fans believe that they should. Whether they do will be a different matter altogether, although momentum for such a move is building.

Germany, Spain and Italy are believed to be strong supporters of a new world order, and they have the support of the home nations in the United Kingdom. Emerging power bases in Asia, Africa and South America are also said to be aligning themselves with these nations. The question is are all of these nations prepared to get their own houses in order, and crush the corruption within their own Federations?

This is a great opportunity for Football to act, the time has never been better. If Football fails to act it may well get left behind.

This may sound a strange statement for a game that dominates world sport in terms of participation and spectators, but other sports are changing the way they operate in order to survive.

Rugby Union is looking at a similar closed shop operation that sustains Baseball and American Football so well in the USA and sees both of these sports with strong and healthy bank balances. Cricket is going through a metamorphosis as its commitment to traditional Test Cricket is being eroded by commercial necessity driven by Indian administrators and ably supported by England and Australia. Even the Olympic Games market is being manipulated to try and pull in a younger average age of viewer, this is being done courtesy of new sports being introduced and traditional ones being thrown out.

Fans across the globe are no longer happy funding multi-millionaire players who behave abominably and fail to perform. With more and more internet viewing, and some via illegal streaming, football has to change. Just as the music industry has had to adapt, so too does football have to change.

Apart from crushing corruption football needs clear thinkers to be driving the game forward at this point in its history. If key nations do boycott the 2022 World Cup, there will be a great deal of shouting and posturing from those at FIFA unwilling to relinquish control, they will try and issue bans but guaranteed new similar competitions will spring up and will thrive, history has shown that. It just takes the courage of a few to stand up and be counted.

Maybe it is time that UEFA President Michel Platini did follow through on making the European Championships the biggest tournament in the world and just like the Copa America invite the top nations from South America and Africa to perform as guests at their tournament. (World Cup By Invite Only).

In football there are too many top dogs for whom the game is not their true passion. It is a job, a steeping stone to big money illegal or otherwise, as well as free tickets to plush events. Administering sport should be more than that, as the great Bill Shankly believed, it must be a passion. Then you can guarantee the person will go the extra yard for what is best for the game, and they will be happy to do so and put in that time. They will never want to harm their club or the game itself.

There is a line in Don Quixote that reads “Tragedy is to see life as it is, not as it should be.” This is how football is at the moment. Yet through times of difficulty come opportunity. The question is will those nations with the power to make change grasp that opportunity. Hopefully they will try, and when they do they would do well to remember the words of Martin Luther King, “Right defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.” Something Mr Blatter will hopefully be beginning to realise, along with many others in the game who are not there for the real ‘good of the game.’

March 3, 2015 at 10:20 am 1 comment

Referral System Worth Copying?

Having just returned from the Hockey India League in India where teams were allowed one referral to a video umpire per game, which if they were correct in their assessment of a situation they kept to use again, but lost if the video umpire was wrong, one had to ask whether or not football could adopt a similar system.

Hockey’s system is currently not flawless, and one feels that the games governing body has overcomplicated the system by making the players request a specific offence.

Having watched La Liga in the evening following an HIL game, there was one game where an attacking player was clearly offside, the referee’s assistant missed it, so too did the referee. The defender widest, and in the best position raised his arm in appeal immediately. The goal stood.

Had football had the same approach as hockey, the player could have given the signal for a referral to the referee. The game was already stopped and the referee could have conferred with his video official with a simple question, ” Is there any reason why I should not award a goal” or “X team are claiming number 10 was offside, I felt he was not can you check and confirm whether the goal should stand.”

Similarly if as in the World Cup in South Africa England believed Frank Lampard’s shot against Germany had crossed the line they could have asked for a referral.

If of course the video referee deems the ball did not cross the line in that case when play has been stopped to view the footage, a drop ball would take place level with the penalty area. In hockey they have a bully-off.

There will be people who claim that this stops the flow of the game. It does but only momentarily. Hockey moves at a much faster pace than football yet the referral system has not harmed the game; only some of the interpretations have!

Football has increased in pace, referee’s and their assistant’s will make mistakes, but this way they have the opportunity to correct them. It may in fact build the drama in a stadium rather than slow the game down. For teams fighting relegation, or to qualify for Europe or to win the League this could be the difference between success and failure. Too often we have seen teams lose vital points because of what appears a blatant mistake. In England’s case they went out of the World Cup; although were they really good enough to beat Germany?

Sepp Blatter has said if such systems are to come into football they should be at all levels of the game, but this is not at all levels of hockey and yet it works. It is also an ideal opportunity to educate viewers as to the rules, and let us be honest how many viewers really do understand the current offside rule?

Surely it has to be worth considering? How knows maybe a new head of FIFA will be more open-minded.

March 2, 2015 at 7:35 pm Leave a comment

Moving the Goalposts, to a New Venue

“Greatness Awaits” is the tag lines for PS4 the sponsors of the National Premier Leagues in Australia, but one has to ask how long fans of the game will have to wait.

In Western Australia the whole process switching from a State League format which had laboured along to the new promised bells and whistles NPL was heavily flawed. The participation agreement drawn up by Football West and which Not The Footy Show believes no club has still signed, as legal advice warned them not to, would have seen them lose more than they gained.

The competition was rushed through, with Football West under immense pressure from the FFA who wanted to keep good on a promise to the Asian Football Confederation that they had a second tier competition to the A-League up and running by 2014. As a result the outcome was a long way from being as successful as it should have been and the standard of football on display last season instead of improving was overall well below anything the State league produced in the last 20 years.

Football West went through an extensive process to determine the clubs that should be in the new NPL. A process that came under heavy criticism from clubs as to whether it was in fact impartial, and whether all clubs were given what Australians like to call ‘a fair go.’

One team to benefit from this process was Subiaco United, a club that this writer is a life member of. Their home ground at Rosalie Park did not meet the NPL criteria so they played their home games at the WA Athletics Stadium. Many queried this move and whether it was in fact sustainable. It would appear that after one season it has proved it was not.

In fact the club’s selection to the NPL was highlighted in the Football West press release which stated “Subiaco will move from the All Flags State Second Division into the top flight having shown it has the structure, personnel and resources to make a successful transition. The club has committed to make use of one of WA’s newest sporting facilities by playing home games at the WA Athletics Stadium in Mt Claremont.”

Subiaco United will return to Rosalie Park to play its NPL fixtures in 2015. It will be interesting to see how the club satisfies the ground criteria this season in order to remain a part of the NPL.

One requirement is “A temporary or permanent fence fully enclosing the field of play, with a recommended height between 800mm and 1000mm. Any temporary fencing must be approved by Football West. Where it is not possible to erect a perimeter fence, Football West may negotiate alternative arrangements.” There is then the issue of signage, where “24m linear metres is to be reserved for Sony PS4 signage comprising 8m on the centre of the far side of the field (4m each side of the half-way line) and 8m behind each goal.” Unless things have changed Subiaco Council were very rigid in what and how signage could be displayed. Also we have the small matter of seating, “A permanent structure specifically designed for seating spectators situated outside the clubrooms that provides unobstructed viewing to the field of play and that provides seating for a minimum of 120 people. The structure must be approved by Football West.”

All of these are going to be very difficult to achieve as Rosalie Park is a public open space. There is nothing to stop any member of the public walking across the pitch with their dog at any time. Having played cricket, rugby and football at Rosalie Park this has been witnessed first hand by this writer. Having served on the committee and as part of the Rosalie Park Sporting Association, this writer also knows first hand how hard it was to try and achieve these things with the local council.

Cynics will say that Subiaco were only accepted into the NPL due to the massive junior set up that they have. With fees for juniors at NPL clubs being from $700 upwards compared to around $300 a season at a state league club, this argument carries a little weight.

Football West claim that due process was followed, and in fact highlight this by saying “Extensive analysis of compliance and commitment was conducted by Football West staff and clubs conducted presentations to further support their initial written submissions. All applications, videos of presentations and supporting documentation was provided to the Department of Sport and Recreation and Football Federation Australia for comment. Applications were also analysed by an independent football consultant from New South Wales.”

Whatever the reason, the question has to be asked when clubs had to submit a comprehensive business plan how one club’s plan has fallen over in just one season. Did this club underestimate the costs of semi-professional football as many long standing clubs warned? Or have they fallen victim, as a new club playing at this level, to a lack of marketing and promotion of the NPL? Another factor that many warned would end up hurting all of the clubs.

It is understood that after season one of the NPL a few other clubs found the costs to have been more than anticipated. It will be interesting to see how their fare in season 2. Also how they find the funds to submit for a Junior NPL side as Football West moves to introduce such a format in 2016. Surely with the aforementioned fees this is not another ploy to grab money from Juniors to prop up the senior game? Many clubs will feel they have to submit to be a part of this, but the key question is where are the finances going to come to underpin the investment required?

Subiaco’s move, although not a surprise, should not have happened after one season, and one would think other clubs would be within their rights to object to the venue at which their home games will be played. It sadly brings into question once again the process of selection to the NPL and also highlights the strain being put on clubs. Season 2 of the NPL will we expect be a defining one. Will the league expand as planned or will clubs opt out in order to survive and protect their club’s history and heritage.

Then again if the AFC throw Australia out of the Confederation everything could change once again; although many say this is unlikely to happen there is a strong possibility, as many member nations would be in favour of Australia returning to Oceania.

February 27, 2015 at 9:21 am 2 comments

Attracting A Global Audience Key to Opening Game

It is quite laughable the reaction of the AFL affiliates and the media covering the sport in Western Australia to the news that there is a bid for the Socceroos to play England as the focal point of the New Stadium at Burswood. All it has done is show how stuck in the past they all are.

Sure a Western Derby is a big attraction in Western Australia for those who follow the code, but how does it compare to a top class international in football? That is the trouble AFL does not have a higher level than the AFL. Its hybrid games against the amateur Irish teams have an equally limited appeal as does the game itself does. Like many other national sports around the world if it is not going to catch on internationally in the first 100 years of its existence it is unlikely ever to.

We will be fed that old line that Perth is a “Football town,” a line fuelled by those with a vested interest. No city is more of a footy town than Melbourne, yet look how they embrace every sport at every level, by creating decent facilities and attracting major events. They are not so insular in their views and have now established themselves as the Sporting Capital in the country.

It is incredible to read Mr Cransberg, Chairman of the West Coast Eagles say that as the sport most likely to be the main user of the stadium they should be afforded primary consideration. Why? This stadium does not belong to the AFL it belongs to the taxpayers of Western Australia. The West Coast Eagles will merely be tenants just as will many other sports and musical acts.

Head of the WA Football Commission Gary Walton was quoted as saying, “International events come with pretty significant up-front investment where a derby will in my view guarantee a capacity crowd and it’ll come at no cost to the state.” What small minded insular thinking. It is people with attitudes such as this that hold Western Australia back.

This is supposed to be a state of the art stadium when it is completed, so why would you have as your opening event something that will only garner minimum media coverage within Australia. By hosting a top international sporting event you are immediately putting the stadium, and Perth on the world map as having a venue suitable for world class events. If England or World Champions Germany played the Socceroos you would be assured a sell out crowd. If the Wallabies played whoever lifts the Rugby World Cup at the end of this year it is just as likely to sell out, as would an Ashes Test match. The true code of Football however has to be the biggest drawcard, as it is a truly global sport. The fact is all of these sporting events played between international teams will have far more global and national appeal than a local AFL match, and anyone who says otherwise needs to get on a plane and go and experience the real world outside of Western Australia.

What is worrying is the bias and factual inaccuracies run by the West Australian Newspaper. Mark Duffield wrote that ‘the state government will, in three years time have forgiven Australian soccer officials for leaving Perth off its map of Australia when it drew up the Asian Cup Program.” Yes, they did fail to promote the tournament in the West, have any ambassadors or fan Parks, but the biggest problem was the only feasible venue, NIB Stadium fails to meet FIFA requirements. The FFA stated after the game against Indonesia at Subiaco Oval in 2005 that they would never host an international there again because it was unsuitable for television and spectators. Had the State Government spent some of the money allocated to the refurbishment of NIB stadium on upgrading the changing rooms, then Western Australia would have a case to answer as to why we were left out of having any games. The truth is it was our own government who are at fault on this occasion. (Build it Properly and they Will Come). Some cynics have questioned whether the Sports minister did this deliberately so that Football would not be able to challenge his beloved AFL; It is extremely unlikely that a politician would be that petty and small-minded.

So why would Mr Duffield mislead his readers? Then again you cannot expect Mr Duffield to know these things as being the Chief Football writer, his time would be taken up finding inane stories to keep AFL on the back page of the paper for 350 days of the year. It is also interesting to note that the WA Football Commission has in the past paid for editorial coverage in the West Australian, to ensure that they received two or four pages coverage, yet never did the paper reveal that the space was paid for.

To be fair to Mr Duffield he does make a valid point asking why should it be a sporting event that opens the stadium, why can’t it be a concert of epic proportions? The most obvious answer would be because it is first and foremost a sporting venue.

If we wanted mass exposure maybe looking at hosting the T20 Champions League in Perth would be an option. That would attract a massive audience in the subcontinent and would give thousands of people the chance to be a part of an opening event.

The truth is whatever event or events in what should be an opening week of celebrations are staged, they must be ones that attract global attention. Perth needs to shout about this stadium and the fact that finally we have a stadium to match the best in the world – if it in fact does. Only by global exposure will we attract future events.

It is also important to realise that only by hosting the Socceroos will we see European clubs put pressure on the FFA to have more games here as the flying time will be less for their players returning home! So Football’s case actually would have a long term gain.

 

 

February 13, 2015 at 6:33 am 1 comment

Women Driving Sport

They say if you can’t beat them, then join them. Women have in many countries been give a raw deal in sport having their own games run by men and coached by men, but it would appear that is all beginning to change in the UK, and those changes may well spread, or encourage other women to stand up and be counted.

The head at Sport England and UK Sport are both women. The Minister for Sport is a woman as is the head of the Sport and Recreation Alliance.

In fact this year’s Rugby World Cup being hosted by England sees another lady in charge, Debbie Jevans. Now is there a more masculine environment for a women to be involved?

There is now speculation that arguably the most male dominated institution in Britain, The Football Association may well employ a woman to replace outgoing Chief Executive Alex Horne.

FA Chairman Greg Dyke has not discounted a woman in the job as long as she is qualified for the role. Front runners are the strong-willed Heather Rabbatts the only female board member, Karren Brady the Vice Chairman at West Ham and Sunderland’s Chief Executive Margaret Byrne, a lawyer from Belfast who is on the FA Council and a member of their International Committee. She became CEO at the Black Cats three years ago after impressing as their in-house lawyer.

One thing you can be assured of with a woman in charge is there is no old boys club, and no former alliances which can effect decision making. You can also be sure that to be in a position to be considered they have worked damn hard to get there and must be good at their job.

This fresh approach may well be what many sports need, although time will tell if such a radical move does in fact happen

February 12, 2015 at 3:40 pm Leave a comment

A Response from Football West.

As a result of our piece Rules are to be Broken in – In Football Anyway we received a phone call from the Chairman of Fooball West defending the position taken by his board. As we have always done, we gave him the right to reply and so now publish the response from Football West’s board.

Dear Mr Morrison

We note your blog with respect to the recent Football West Board appointments with some concern and advise that all Football West board appointments were made in compliance with the Football West Constitution. Furthermore, we note that there were only two nominations from the WA football public for two vacant board positions and the two candidates were duly elected. The Football West board consists of 6 Elected Directors which must be voted in by the Football West Members and have a term of 4 years and 3 Appointed Directors who are appointed by the Football West board and have a term of two years. Elected Directors can stand for two consecutive terms of 4 years after which they must retire for a two year period unless they are elected Chairman, under which that person can serve on further 4 year term. Appointed Directors are brought onto the board to compliment or add to the existing skill set and their two year term can be renewed at the discretion of the board on an ongoing basis. There is no article in the Football West constitution restricting a retiring Elected Director from becoming an Appointed Director.

Mr Mackay is a long serving and well respected member of the football community with particular knowledge and expertise in dealing with the Social Master and Amateurs. In the absence of any other member of the football community coming forward with the requisite skills, the Football West board acted in compliance with the Football West constitution and made Mr Mackay an Appointed Director.

The board of Football West absolutely rejects the inference that any of its conduct was deliberately in conflict with the Football West constitution or that its conduct was not in the best interests of the game.

With respect to Mr Lui Giuliani, he remains a passionate supporter of Perth Glory FC but he currently does not have an official role and has not acted in any such official capacity at Perth Glory that would disqualify himself from being a Director of Football West. We have contacted Perth Glory who we understand will correct the oversight on their website with respect to Mr Giuliani.

Yours faithfully

Liam Twigger
Chairman
Football West

As mentioned in our piece we took legal advice which stated that Mr Mackay’ reappointment was unconstitutional. Football West’s legal advice stated that it was. During the discussion with Mr Twigger it was agreed by both parties that the current Constitution was extremely clumsily worded, leading to two legal experts disagreeing on the interpretation of its meaning. Hopefully in his role as Chairman Mr Twigger will now move for the Constitution to be reworded so that the conditions are no longer ambiguous.

It would also be welcomed if he would reduce the term of office to a more reasonable 2- 3 year term in line with most other boards. His predecessor Kevin Campbell admitted at an AGM that this was only set up initially to give the board some continuity in its early formation. However it has never been changed by the two Chairmen since.

With regards to Mr Guiliani’s appointment Not the Footy Show asked Perth Glory if he was still involved with the club in an official capacity, – not whether he signed off on the accounts in a professional capacity – and on 03 February the club advised that Mr Guiliani was still a part of their set up. At the time of publishing Mr Twigger’s letter Mr Guiliani is still listed as being a part of Perth Glory’s advisory board. It would be good if the club were to put out an official statement confirming that he no longer has any involvement with the club in any capacity to avoid any confusion, and the Football West board any embarrassment.

 

February 12, 2015 at 2:20 am 1 comment

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