Melbourne Knights Football Club would like to express a grave sense of frustration regarding the recently released Whole of Football Plan (WOFP) by Football Federation Australia (FFA) which outlines the governing body’s ambitions for the sport in the coming 20 years.
- MKFC surprised at promotion/relegation being ruled out for next 20 years.
- MKFC questions why FFA has not aimed to implement a National second division.
- MKFC concerned why compensation for players was not addressed.
- MKFC concerned by further centralisation of the game and potential abolition of state federations.
- MKFC confirms that the Club was not consulted by FFA prior to WOFP publication.
- MKFC to publish deconstruction and alternative to the WOFP in coming days.
- MKFC to call an Extraordinary General Meeting in coming months regarding updates on WOFP & Australian Human Rights Commission complaints lodged mid-last year.
While the plan has many meritable and welcome goals – such as those surrounding the issues of refereeing and coaching – we are of the strong opinion that the FFA has totally disregarded the ambitions of clubs to improve their standing and operations – most notably in the omission of planning for a truly national second division.
While promotion and relegation to and from the Hyundai A-League may be many years off, it is quite surprising that the FFA has not even considered it as an aspiration to aim for in the next 20 years.
With that in mind, the Club struggles to understand why the FFA has decided not to aim to implement a National Second Division. There are clubs willing and ready to participate in such a competition with the aim to bridge the gap from the National Premier Leagues (NPL) to the Hyundai A-League. The Club believes this would concentrate Australia’s best second tier talent from the current eight NPL state leagues into one National league, which we can all agree will translate to immediate tangible benefits to clubs, players, coaches and referees.
What is also concerning is the fact that the FFA has not addressed the issue of adequate compensation for players being on-sold to A-League franchises or to other NPL Clubs. The incentive to develop players is simply not there anymore.
The FFA has created an environment where young talented players are either part of ‘the pathway’ where they are schooled in one version of playing football or they’re on the outer. When did it become the responsibility of the governing body to develop players? What is the point of clubs in Australia if they’re going to be relegated to second tier education providers by the organisation that is meant to look after the interests of clubs and by extension all those people clubs represent- players, coaches, officials and fans?
The sport of football is a fluid environment: an open marketplace where people develop and trade ideas and ways of doing things. The current environment of total control of all areas of the sport suppresses some of the most important principles of football to our own detriment. The opinion put forward that the FFA aims to have an even more centralised system of delivery, from player development right down to potentially abolishing the State Federations is very concerning – the FFA is not the font of all football knowledge nor is there any singular ‘right’ way of administering, playing or coaching the sport.
To infer that is the case is quite disingenuous, while going along for this ride is potentially disastrous for the future of the sport and we feel it is our moral obligation to speak out.
The FFA has created a ‘Football ecosystem’ that is totally out of sync with the world’s football ecosystem which we, whether we like it or not, are a part of. This has created a vacuum where clubs at all levels don’t have a true unity of purpose as the WOFP states and our sport is more disjointed than ever before. The notion that we can separate ourselves from the rest of the world with solutions that are applicable to local sports such as Australian Rules indicate a poor understanding of how football functions.
The sport of football has, at its core, principles which are a reflection of some of the best things in life and some of the greatest Australian values that we all aspire to – true egalitarian spirit and being able to have dreams that aren’t hampered by anything other than a person’s drive and willingness to work. Unfortunately, we don’t recognise that the future of Australian soccer incorporates these crucial pillars.
It is also concerning that the FFA has formulated the WOFP without any direct consultation with any clubs other than A-league clubs. Whilst the public were invited to comment at the WOFP roadshows over Australia, clubs were not invited to make submissions. Melbourne Knights Football Club will release a total deconstruction and alternative to the Whole of Football Plan in the coming days to be sent to the FFA and released to the public.
Melbourne Knights Football Club will call an Extraordinary General Meeting in the coming months regarding an update to all members about the Whole of Football Plan and Australian Human Rights Commission complaints that were lodged mid-last year.