Thursday, November 01, 2007
The Plan, Part 1
And there's plenty to like about it, although there isn't much there that wasn't expected. One would assume that the chief architect of the document has been Rob Baan (whose name, bizarrely, is misspelled in the acknowledgements at the end), but there has clearly been plenty of local input as well.
A closer look at the details over the next week or so, but first: the context.
The FFA has presented a précis of the full document on their own website, full of joyful phrases and optimistic expectations.
Amongst the "highlights" enumerated there, the following catches the eye:
The introduction of a national youth league with all Hyundai A-League clubs (except Wellington) involved plus the Australian Institute of Sport...
So it's official.
It still appears a mixed blessing to me, and I'll go into the further ramifications of the innovation as described in the full document in a later post.
Then there's this, a little earlier in the piece:
The objectives of the plan are:
(inter alia) Identify, attract and retain more and better athletes particularly in the 12-16 age group...
Unfortunately, this rings a little hollow when you consider another little piece of news which has emanated from College Street in the last couple of days.
Now, the "levy", as it was then known, was introduced in 2002 to much indignation in the football community (I remember the grumbles at my own club, Strathfield Juniors, only too well). It was only ever intended as a temporary measure, to shore up the finances of the stricken Soccer Australia. Yet it has remained in place under the FFA, and has now been increased (albeit not by a great deal).
Ray Gatt, a well-known FFA sceptic, certainly didn't let this slip under the radar. Although he overstates the case somewhat, his sourpuss source is right to point out that the FFA has received a $16 million commitment (over four years) from the federal government already this year, although admittedly that was earmarked for the various national teams.
One wonders how much grassroots goodwill the FFA may be sacrificing in the interests of implementing its plan.
More on the details in further instalments.
Why so much fuss about such a small amount? How about these associations that are complaining list the increase as a percentage of the total it costs juniors to play with them. How much extra have they milked out of the player base since 2002?
I'm a parent, I pay it gladly and have no complaints about the increase. I wouldn't mind betting those folk bleating about $10 are a part of the system that sees junior players as an income stream to help fund their senior teams.