Monday, 10 March 2014

Still a Big Swindle

Last week the FFV announced an alteration to the 2014 Fee Schedule, reducing team entry fees across the State League board. What do these reductions mean to the figures discussed in The Great Football Swindle post of February 23rd? It means that instead of taking an extra $1,046,300 from clubs this year compared to last, it will only be $863,900 more.

One hopes the extra cash would see the game managed better, but there is little improvement on that front. Already the early Dockerty Cup games have descended into farce, with forfeits once again to the fore. The FFV blames the clubs, the clubs blame the FFV. The buck (no pun pardoned) has to rest with the FFV. Just weeks after the FFA triumphantly launched the FFA Cup as the chance for grassroots clubs to take on teams at the highest level and perhaps live the dream of fairy tale upsets, what is the entry point to that competition remains a debacle.

When Fee Schedules and Rules of Competition are still being adjusted this late in the piece, it is little wonder small, amateur clubs are struggling to meet requirements. Even if it is the clubs at fault, the onus should be on the FFV to find a solution as they are the ones who suffer in comparison to bodies in other states when the situation becomes shambolic.

The question still remains, will the services to clubs improve in line with the additional revenue to the FFV coffers? Over the weekend on Twitter I noticed @FootballChaos and @Socceraust were churning out results tweets and news at a high rate.The FFV account only seems to be activated when there's a link to a new article on their website to be promoted. I dare say  Football Chaos (now there's a domain name more apt for the FFV) will once again produce better video coverage (in terms of quality, frequency and variety) than what the FFV comes up with for the NPL Victoria.

One can only imagine the folks at South Melbourne and Melbourne Knights struggling to contain their sniggering when being instructed on utilising social media by the FFV recently. Either the FFV are following the strategy of spreading the release of information out over several days (and haven't started yet), or they have very little to announce. At this stage it seems there will be radio commentary of some games via the internet, with further details still to emerge. The FFV has advertised for match reporters, and will need to increase their pool from last year when they barely had enough to cover a 6 game VPL round to be able to cover two divisions of the NPLV.

It was interesting listening on radio station SEN the day after the launch of the FFA Cup. Talkback callers quickly changed the subject to that of junior fees at NPLV clubs and their tendency towards being exorbitant. When hearing a justification of the fees/national curriculum, journalist Patrick Smith asked "are these clubs, or are they academies?". Coupled with a rare piece from Craig Foster that I actually agree with, it is clear we are entering dangerous territory. The NPLV is proving very expensive to implement, exhausting all resources to do so and then getting it wrong would prove to be a disaster that would top all those that have come before it.

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