FFA Board should find funding for Pararoos
The funding required by the Pararoos is 0.2% of FFA's 2017-18 revenue04 December 2018 | Bonita Mersiades
Football Today has campaigned previously for more funding for the Pararoos, Australia's cerebral palsy football team.
The Pararoos qualified for the 2019 IFCPF World Championships in Spain by finishing in the top two in the recent Asia-Oceania region championships, which was won by Iran.
Lack of funding was first raised as an issue in 2016 when Ray Gatt wrote in The Australian about the need for $160,000 in funding for the Pararoos to attend the IFCPF World Championships in Denmark.
At the time, we urged people to support the Pararoos - but noted we shouldn't have to.
In today's Fairfax media, Vince Rugari has again put out the fundraising call, writing that a further $260,000 is needed for the Pararoos to prepare for, and attend the 2019 World Championships. They would also like to play a friendly match in Australia for the first time in 18 years.
We would again urge people to support the Pararoos if possible. You can do so here via Sport Australia's Australian Sport Foundation.
However, we would also note that $250,000 is 0.2% of FFA's 2017-18 turnover. It is 1.5% of what FFA spent on travel in 2017-18. It is 5% of the base grant given by FIFA to every member association annually. It is 5.7% of the salaries paid to the key management personnel (average: $550,000).
It beggars belief that FFA could not provide this funding. The new FFA Board should be asking FFA management why they couldn't, and taking steps to redirect some funding to the Pararoos at their meeting next week.
If the FFA Board fail to act, then the new Inclusivity Football Committee, which is a requirement arising from the Congress Review Working Group report, could take-up this issue with Congress and the Board directly - although we note that funding to support athletes with a disability is not part of the mandated focus of the committee.
And before someone starts thinking or tweeting 'Why doesn't she put her money where her mouth is?', I have.
When my book, Whatever It Takes - the Inside Story of the FIFA Way, was published in January this year, I informed the publisher that I wanted my author proceeds (which are a small proportion of the cost of the book of $20) to go to the Pararoos. This is noted in the book. So far, I have been able to donate $1,650 to the Pararoos cause via the Australian Sports Foundation. (I also donated a four figure sum in GBP for publication of an extract of the book in the Mail on Sunday to the UK Brain Cancer Charity Trust).
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