Wilson a castaway

Speakers Australia

Speakers Australia

It had to happen.  When the Federal Government decided to hand football $45.6 million to bid for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the anti-football media were going to have a field day.  In such dour economic times, giving “soccer” that kind of money, to some, seems a waste, especially when many within the game feel Australia has no chance politically.

President of the Anti-Soccer Brigade, Rebecca Wilson, who wrote an article titled “Soccer’s long lunch” in last Saturday’s edition of The Daily Telegraph, believes the money would be better spent on the grassroots, that including infrastructure, skills coaching, junior development and our “terrible” A-League.

The truth is the Federal Government would never have given football this funding for anything else but a World Cup bid.  The bigger picture here is the exposure of our great nation to the rest of the world.  The un-Australian Wilson may find this hard to believe but football would provide a tourism dream for all of our major cities and beyond.  There’d be no more, “where the bloody hell are ya!” that’s for sure.

This bid is as much about Australia as it is about football.  Unlike the Baz Luhrmann film that flopped at the box office, football and our beautiful climate would be great viewing.  But, you know, when people start looking at the recent Rugby League World Cup and its poor attendances and even worse, the lack of interest, there’s no wonder the funding is being questioned.

The differences are huge though, from real star athletes to TV rights and merchandising, the FIFA World Cup is the only true sporting tournament that deserves a global tag, outside of the Olympic Games of course.  Its fans will all tell you so.

The magnitude of holding this event will be unprecedented.  Not only will Australia have to spend big to win over FIFA but all of the rival football codes will have to help out by suspending or moving their domestic league matches.  Not easy.  Especially, with media dinosaurs like Wilson pointing out all the negatives and stirring up counter-productive debate.

I’m so sick of hearing about “another” handout for football.  The game has been ignored and marginalised for the past hundred years, give us a go.  It wasn’t until the Crawford report in 2003 and the new football branding of Football Federation Australia that the game got anything financially significant.

The real reason Wilson writes against football is that she doesn’t like the game and in typical Australian fashion, fears what she doesn’t understand.  How are we going to get better at playing the game when people like her keep wanting it to disappear?  As a passionate fan of sport, I am able to watch the Wallabies play and support them, same with the Kangaroos but some Aussie’s, of whom Wilson represents, can’t find the patriotism to support football.  Now that is on the nose!

If you read between the lines, the racist undertones are clear for many to question.  Wogball and the sheilas, wogs and poofters mentality is alive and well it seems.  I’d of loved to have read Johnny Warren’s response to this kind of dribble.  Johnny’s mate Les Murray has battled Wilson in recent times, echoing the thoughts of many football fans, in his ever so charming way.

If you listen to Wilson, we should be funding Olympic Games events like swimming, rowing and athletics and just ignore the opportunity to host the biggest sporting event in the world.  Daft old thing she is, honestly.

FFA Chairman, Frank Lowy and Federal Sports Minister, Kate Ellis needs the support of the media (and not just SBS) because the task ahead is a mammoth one.  FFA needs to compile a pretty impressive 700-1000 page document outlining infrastructure, marketing, merchandising and public relations.

Then there’s travel, inviting dignitaries to our shores to showcase our major cities and venues.  It’s going to be a long road ahead.  Even if Australia doesn’t succeed in its 2018 bid, we’d of done the ground-work for 2022 and that’s still an option worth pursuing.

I wonder if we did succeed in winning the hosting rights, whether Wilson would attend a match.  Maybe she could sit with her associate, Peter FitzSimons.  They could try and talk about how boring soccer is but would fail miserably.  The deafening atmosphere would render them speechless, they wouldn’t be able to see through all the flags and banners, or better still, breathe when everyone inside the stadium is chanting together and embracing all that is the beautiful game.

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