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FFA, Gallop continue to erode fans’ confidence

Today, the FFA attempted to take an authoritative stance on malcontent and drive out the concerns of the football community.

Instead, they shot themselves in the foot.

What the bureaucrats at Football Federation Australia forget is that it is us – the fans – who put them there in the first place.

As much as Frank Lowy may want to believe that he flew in on his Westfield jet and saved the day for Australian football, that jet was riding on the jetstream of overwhelming fan support.

Even I, as a fourteen year old, was swept up by the need for change and waved a purple and orange placard calling for ‘Lowy’s Team’.

It was the perfect example of people powering change.

It’s perhaps all the more confounding that the FFA now stand in distinct opposition to both the fans that put it into power, and the media which criticises them.

Nowhere was it more clear than after today’s convoluted press conference that showed just how disconnected the FFA is from the issue.

“Don’t worry about the critics,” CEO David Gallop said.

In those five words, the face of football’s administration in Australia categorically said they would not go in to bat for the A-League fan.

The same fans that put them into power are now being targeted as ‘grubs’ and compared to ‘terrorists’ by sections of the media, with the FFA effectively leaving fans out to dry with nothing but sheer arrogance.

First, De Bohun botched his interview with Mark Bosnich on Fox Sports’ Shootout program. Now, Gallop repeated the dose with this most recent press conference.

They truly do not understand why A-League fans are upset.

Whilst apparently the federation acknowledges that changes need to be made to the banning system, they don’t see the issue staring them right in the face – under FFA law, you’re guilty until proven innocent.

Oh, and let’s not mention the fact that the evidence which is being used to ‘convict’ you is out of bounds on grounds of confidentiality.

For twenty four minutes today the FFA danced around the issue, with catchphrases like ‘positive efforts’ being thrown about left, right and centre.

Whoever is feeding the audience research to Gallop needs a good clip around the ears, because it was a press conference that effectively only announced that the FFA would be sticking its head further into the sand.

The boycotts will continue, and not because our fans are uncivilised but because quite clearly the point hasn’t been gotten across – the average A-League fan is sick and tired of being treated like a metric.

In recent weeks the FFA has lurched from one crisis to another – alienating fans in Wellington, failing to stand up for the community – and now the gap of disconnect is widening.

Whilst Gallop showed his dismay for an article written in Melbourne’s Herald Sun today — branding A-League fans as ‘suburban terrorists’ — there was no conviction or attempt to stamp out what is quickly being dubbed the ‘anti-football mafia’.

It was a measured and ineffective approach today from an organisation that’s out of touch with its fans.

Perhaps what is the most concerning is the fact that the futile attempts by the FFA to quell the issues ravaging the game have done little but galvanise the game’s fans against the FFA itself, and maybe even more so than they were galvanised against Wilson, Jones and co. last week.

So in a period of two weeks where it took three days for a lukewarm press release to appear out of FFA HQ, they’ve shot themselves in the foot once more, and the core of our fledgling football league — the fans — are becoming more and more fed up.

The same fans that put them there over ten years ago.

The same fans that are fighting for change once more.

About the author

avatarKris is a freelance sports journalist, a two-time WA media guild award winner, and podcast host and writer for Ultimate A-League.

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