It has been exactly 7 years since the publication of the ground breaking Crawford Report.
The findings of the “Report of the Independent Soccer Review Committee into the Structure, Governance and Management of Soccer in Australia”, aka the Crawford Report, has driven the transformation of the administration of football in Australia. Soccer Australia was replaced by the Football Federation of Australia (FFA), each state based football body has been dissolved and replaced by new FFA controlled entities.
On the field the struggling NSL has disappeared to be replaced by the very successful A-League with healthy attendances both one the field and on the TV. In 2003 anyone who said Adelaide would regularly play in front of 10,000 plus crowds and Melbourne in front of 30,000 crowds would have been called a madman.
After 34 years in the wilderness the Socceroos qualified for the 2006 World Cup Finals and become the darlings of the Australian sporting public. The Socceroos victory over Uruguay in Sydney to qualify for the World Cup Finals has gone down as one of the greatest moments in Australian sporting history. The Socceroos have subsequently moved into Asia and once again qualified for the World Cup in 2010. This is a feat football fans like myself would only have dreamed of in 2003.
Football has made many major achievements over the past 7 years. But sometimes it is the small achievements that can be the most significant. A week ago I received a letter from the FFSA. I opened it and was surprised to find the 2009 FFSA Annual Report.
The FFSA Annual Report contains a full disclosure of its financial statements as well as reports from the President, the CEO and other FFSA staff outlining the activities of the FFSA and the future direction for both the organisation and the sport in this state.
The FFSA Annual Report is a public document available to all and the FFSA must be applauded for adopting this level of disclosure and openness.
In 2003 the administration of football in Australia occurred behind closed doors and was hidden in a cloak of mystery and suspicion and was wracked with conflict. In 2010 the FFSA has proven that it has come of age. The FFSA’s Annual Report demonstrates just how far the administration of football has come in 7 years.
As an aside, local football fans will also be pleased to note that the FFSA turned in a surplus of $221,000 in the year ending October 2009. Well done to the FFSA.