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A-League expansion

We will assume that this is wholly accurate reporting of a really silly premise. It seems that the latest scare-mongering from the current FFA Board is to suggest that A-League expansion could be delayed by up to a year because now some members of the FFA Board "have voiced their disenchantment at Tuesday's vote for reforms and expressed their unwillingness to make a decision on an A-League expansion process they will no longer oversee" when they meet on 15 October. Of course, this has some bidders for A-League expansion heaving with indignation about the apparent $1 million they've spent "to engage in the best consultants". While this could also be a tactic to ensure that the current Board is empowered to make the decision on 15 October, with the threat of delay hanging in the air, there is a solution. 

Resign. Resign now. You were comprehensively defeated on Tuesday. You have lost the locker room, as they say. Let the new FFA Congress put in an interim Board until the AGM, and let's get this A-League expansion show on the road.

The Canberra A-League bid is busily using the news (above) to suggest that this is going to scupper their bid, and a Canberra A-League team will not be in place for 2019-20. They can't seem to admit to the Canberra public that a Canberra A-League team - under the current timetable for expansion - was never going to be in place for 2019-20. In fact, their chances for that are better under the new regime, many of whom have indicated they favour more rapid expansion than the current FFA Board. 

A-League

This time next year the A-League should have a "stunning new look" ($) if those driving change at FFA Congress and Board level live up to their promises, writes Ray Gatt. He says it's not before time as the competition has become "boring and stagnant". However, for this season - which gets underway in 13 days time - it looks like it will be all Melbourne Victory. While they may have been "fortunate" to win the Grand Final last season, they have made some astute signings in the off-season, spearheaded by Keisuke Honda of course, but also including Ola Toivonen, Raul Baena, Georg Niedermeier and local signings such as Corey Brown and Storm Roux. He says Sydney FC, Melbourne City, Newcastle, Perth Glory, Brisbane Roar, Adelaide United and Western Sydney "will all fancy their chances", that Central Coast Mariners have spent money and brought in Tommy Oar and Ross McCormack and will not be "easybeats even if Usain Bolt is handed a contract". There is no mention of Wellington Phoenix.  

Having said that, Wellington Phoenix defeated Melbourne Victory in a pre-season behind-closed-doors friendly 1-3 yesterday with Honda wearing the captain's armband. Roy Krishna scored a hat-trick for the visitors.

FFA Cup semi-finals

Bentleigh Greens v Adelaide United, 0-2

It's the second FFA Cup Final in a row for Adelaide United after the defeated Bentleigh Greens, 0-2, with goals to Ben Halloran (21') and Jordan Elsey (49'). Michael Lynch writes that Bentleigh Greens had some "excellent" early chances, but could not take advantage of them. 

Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC, Saturday 7.30pm, Penrith Stadium

Sydney FC may have lost two star imports and a coach, but Alex Wilkinson is adamant they will improve on last year's 'minor' premiership. Brendan Hamill of Western Sydney Wanderers, of course, cast doubt on Sydney FC's capacity this season, but Wilkinson says the new recruits - such as Adam Le Fondre and Trent Buhagiar - have shown "promising signs" so far in the pre-season. 

Dominic Bossi gives the 'lowdown' on tonight's Sydney Derby FFA Cup semi-final. He says the five players to watch are Oriel Riera, Siem de Jong, Alexander Baumjohann, Adam Le Fondre and Brendan Hamill - four imports and a local. 

Western Sydney Wanderers are giving goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic until today to prove his fitness for tonight's match. Janjetovic has yet to play in the FFA Cup campaign and has been ably deputised by youngster Danijel Nizic. 

The other angle is the new coaches at the helm - not animosity in play but intrigue as it's "Babbel v Bimbi", is Markus Babbel v Steve Corica, now in charge of each team. Corica is the only "rookie coach" in the A-League this season, but he has been with the club since day one, and part of the coaching set-up for eight years.

Assistant referee, David Walsh, will be officiating at tonight's match, but in less than a fortnight, he'll be doing something much more important - giving a kidney to his sister, Joanne Vecchio, who has been in need of dialysis for the past five years and ill from kidney disease since she was a teenager. All the best to David and Joanne. 

Searching for the next Captain Socceroo

Graham Arnold says he will be "rotating" the captain's role over the next two training camps so he can assess who is the best man for the job to take on Mile Jedinak's role as Socceroos captain. Those whom Arnold says are in contention include Trent Sainsbury, Mat Ryan, Mathew Leckie, Mark Milligan and Robbie Kruse.

France v Australia

France defeated Australia (pictured) in what is described as an "intense" encounter in St Etienne, 2-0, with a brace to Eugénie Le Sommer in the 56th and 90th minutes. 

Sam Kerr

Canberra United coach, Heather Garriock, asks why wouldn't you invest in Sam Kerr to try to keep her in the W-League, rather than heading elsewhere. Garriock says "never in my wildest dreams" would she have thought of a W-League marquee player and it shows just how much the competition has progressed in 11 years. 

FFA Congress

And now we have the non-football writers saying their bit about the changes this week. Amongst other things, Michelangelo Rucci blames David Hill for stripping the "rich tapestry of cultural diversity" from the game. It is a view shared by many that the disenfranchisement of the 'base' began with Hill and was perfected by Lowy.

But, there are also some important factual errors, starting with: "The family empire that underwrote the game for 12 years - the father-son generation with billionaire Frank Lowy and Steve - has fallen after a political battle that ran for three years."

Let's get this straight: the Lowy family did NOT 'underwrite' the game for one year, two years, three years - let alone 12 years. Yes, they have had a longstanding ownership share in Sydney FC. Yes, Westfield has been a sponsor (which we have written about previously on many occasions, as recently as two days ago). Yes, both Lowys met their own travel and accommodation costs when on FFA business. They would also have access to 100 complimentary tickets to the best seats in the house at FFA-run matches, and guaranteed World Cup tickets. But, no, they have not underwritten the game financially. 

Then there's a second incorrect fact. "Frank Lowy, as FFA chairman, opened his wallet for Australia’s bid for the 2022 World Cup. But he should never have been the face, voice and image of a campaign that ultimately drew just one vote in the ballot that delivered the event to Qatar."

No, Mr Rucci. Other than their own travel and accommodation expenses, or unless you know something the rest of the world doesn't, the Lowy's did not spend their own money on Australia's bid for the 2022 World Cup. That was your money, our money, taxpayers' money. As for the suggestion that Frank Lowy being the "face, voice and image" of the 2022 World Cup bid being the reason Australia did so badly, what can we say?! Just one thing: do read Whatever It Takes - the Inside Story of the FIFA Way by Bonita Mersiades. 


a-league expansion, a-league, matildas, socceroos, ffa cup, ffa congress

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