Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Department of Youth - yet another update
Probably somewhere between the two. There is no doubt whatsoever that having a youth league to complement the A-League would be of great benefit to Australian football in all sorts of ways; the question was always whether it would be financially viable.
So, to pose the $64,000 (a fair bit more, actually) question: would the introduction of a youth league preclude the expansion of the existing competition?
If what I've heard about the state of the FFA's finances is substantially correct, then the answer is probably yes, barring a significant increase in government funding.
A youth league is obviously going to be very costly to set up; as David Davutovic tells us:
The Daily Telegraph understands that FFA is prepared to absorb the bulk of the costs, leaving A-League clubs to spend less than $500,000 to set up the coaching staff and field a team.
This is the same FFA that have run an absolute shoestring operation vis-a-vis the national team over the last twelve months, and are reportedly about to shell out a whacking great sum on an aristocrat Euro manager for the Socceroos.
They may be able to afford to provide the running costs of a national youth league, especially with a bit of help (and it would be no more than a bit) from sponsorship. But a much-needed expansion of the A-League in the near future as well? It appears unlikely, if the youth league goes ahead.
And here we come to an interesting point. Rob Baan is quite correct, I feel, to say that:
"If players are only playing 10 or maximum 20 games a season, how can we compete?"
But there are plenty of young players getting regular game time in the A-League proper this season; all the dire forecasts of a bleak, bench-based future for our best youngsters in the post-Crawford world have been repeatedly shown to be, at best, overblown. The basic problem, in my view, is that the league itself is not long enough.
And that leads us into the murky world of Foxtel scheduling, competition with other football codes for grounds, and the problem of maintaining crowd sizes for the bottom clubs when the season has obviously become a write-off. All daunting concerns, but...surely there must come a time when eight teams and 21 games is simply not sufficient.
It is only one of the proposals set to emerge from the long-awaited technical report, apparently. And some of the details will obviously need some extra tweaking (the suggestion that the youth games could come after the main game, for instance, is just silly). But I hope that, in its laudable attempt to improve the development path for our younger players, the FFA does not fail to address what is surely a more fundamental problem.
One final point, again with reference to Davutovic's piece. John Boultbee explains the intentions of the youth league initiative thus:
There are a number of objectives we're trying to meet through the youth league: youth development, underlying support for the A-League clubs and, where possible, a link back into the state league system...
How does this work when the seasons are not aligned?
"A youth league is obviously going to be very costly to set up; as David Davutovic tells us:
The Daily Telegraph understands that FFA is prepared to absorb the bulk of the costs, leaving A-League clubs to spend less than $500,000 to set up the coaching staff and field a team."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but there was a recent announcement (in the last 2 months or so) of additional Government funding for the various national teams. I've forgotten the exact figures, but it would make a fair improvement on the FFAs bottom line.
Could be. I remember thinking at the time that that was just a top-up for the expenses that will be associated with the 2010 campaign (and perhaps a response to the fact that competing in Asia had proved more logistically difficult than they'd expected).
The truth is more likely that Fox Sports does not want to have too much overlap with competing codes. Sadly Fox Sports calls the tune.
Everyone knows football in oz has many, many obstacles to overcome . And after jumping over a few, it's easy for people to think "why aren't we further ahead?".
I think this is a forward step whichever way you choose to look at it. It may not be the perfect solution to get us from A to Z, but it will get us from E to F.
lmao...only the FFA is capable of thinking the fans would rather have less football than play the same team 4 times. I, and i'm sure many others would give their left nut for an extra game against Melbourne or Adelaide. That's obviously not the issue, but the fact it's even mentioned shows how inept they really are.
The success of the national team is fundamental for the profile of the game in Australia. It's obviously a matter of many opinions, but I think it's entirely justified that we prioritize the success of the national team ahead of all else at this point in time.
I'm not saying an uber-expensive coach will guarantee us a spot in the Finals. But you have to admit they're going to give us a significantly better chance than Graham Arnold.
Basically FFA didn't plan/ask the Government for dosh in original start-up plan for Asia as it ahdn't been approved or even asked for at the time
so that frees up some dosh for the youth and women's league which B for Bolt is set to announce tomorrow..we shall see if he does!
No coincidence that announcements and tech report are starting to flow out now.
The trouble is we have now about to see 8 teams play each other 3 times for 3 seasons. Stretching this to 4 or as hinted 5 seasons - with basically the same players is asking a lot - when a different cricket test tours each summer and twenty20 is about to hit us.
The priority must be 2 more A-L teams next year to give us a new interest.
if a kid is good, they should be playing with and against adults. so what if a burns, djite, zullo etc play in a youth league and spend their time beating up on lesser youths? i think they get so much more when they play with and against adults.
not sure what exactly is the current situation in the a-league and the state leagues, but i am impressed by the scottish setup whereby 3 under 23s must be in each matchday squad.
what would i like to see to improve youth development? in my perfect world there would be ...
a mandate that matchday squads need to include 4 under 23s. larger total squads with at least 2 under 20s. this goes for state league teams as well as a-league teams.
greater ties between the a-league and the state leagues, in terms of calendars and also in player movement. a knockout comp to select a 2nd tier national champion. if the state leagues and the national league were on aligned calendars, perhaps somebody like patafta, who isnt getting into the squad for melbourne, could be playing in the second tier.
smaller number games in smaller fields for juniors.