Election of Canberra’s Heather Reid to FFA board may shake up soccer down under


2018-2019 is shaping up as an important season for Australian soccer.

Moribund attendances and viewing figures over the last few years, combined with the mediocre performance of the Socceroos in this year’s World Cup, haven’t quite created a climate of crisis, but there are serious causes for concern for the world game down under.

As the A-League pauses for the International break, Perth Glory fans must be delighted to be out in front with a chasing pack of Sydney and Melbourne clubs.

Glory were widely tipped as genuine challengers this year thanks to the appointment of highly-rated coach Tony Popovic and his flurry of quality off season signings.

The Sydney and Melbourne clubs are well-supported and resourced so if the current complexion of the ladder’s top 5 looked the same at the end of the season, with the rest battling for the sixth finals place, many would be unsurprised.

Current A League standings after four rounds

This month the Lowy family, billionaire former owners of the Westfield Group, who have controlled the Football Federation of Australia (FFA) since its inception in 2003, were finally deposed by a new board, partly at the instigation of FIFA.

FIFA had lost patience with the internecine warfare in the game’s governance and threatened to take over the running of the game in Australia.

They tired of being fobbed of with Brexit-like delays in implementing A-League expansion and future plans for a second tier.

Some critics claim the new board elected just this week includes many Lowy-era cronies, but after the failure of former player and prominent TV pundit Craig Foster (think of an Australian Alan Hansen) to win support, the hopes of reform-minded football people have a standard bearer in Heather Reid.

The Women’s Football stalwart and former CEO of the Canberra Football Federation, topped the poll in a landslide and was appointed Deputy Chair, leaving the assorted suits in her wake.

The fans will now coalesce around Reid and expect the administrators to approve four new additions to the A-League in 2019-2020 or 2020-21, and implement the second division shortly thereafter. Several upsets in this year’s pre-season FFA cup, especially APIA Leichhardt’s giant-killing feat in eliminating Melbourne Victory, add further momentum to pressure for the second tier.

But with the changes at the FFA Board, many teams strengthening their squads, and Bolt-mania providing worldwide coverage the A-League has rarely enjoyed, there are grounds for optimism that Soccer Down Under is about to turn the corner and realise its undoubted potential.

But getting back to the football…

Maybe you’ve turned off from Australian Soccer while it’s been in the doldrums for the last few years. Maybe you’ve never turned on.

Prost International has a hunch that the A-League will be an exciting campaign to follow this season so we will be watching how it unfolds with Perth Glory as our featured club, but encompassing coverage of all the twists and turns throughout the season for all clubs.

We’ll have a club by club review starting tomorrow.


About Author

Scozzie reporting on A-League and other stuff from the Indian Ocean shores. St. Johnstone fan. Follow me on twitter @perthmcneela.

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