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Credit: Sydney Morning Herald Monday 17 April 2017
Article: Football Federation Australia can thrive where the Australian Rugby Union has failed
Author: Michael Cockerill
This article is basically identifying where the Football Federation can thrive where the game of Rugby has failed. The author makes salient points that can be directly related to where SLS finds itself today after chasing the commercial dollars that came with becoming a Registered Training Organisation.
“By worshipping on the altar of commercialism, they've sacrificed their identity, their constituency, and ultimately their participation.”
“Rugby is shrinking – by all measures – because it's disconnected from its base.”
“Ignoring the clamour from the rank-and-file won't solve anything. Instead, embracing them will revitalise, and monetise, the game's greatest asset. It's size. Socialism versus capitalism? I'm backing people power to win in the end.”
“It's become all about the commerce, and little else. The suits and the boots have never been so far apart.”
“Roy Morgan Research – based on the looser definition of "regular participation" – still had football as No.1, but it was the trend which raised eyebrows. Comparing the 15-year gap between 2001 (when a similar survey was last completed) and 2016, football's numbers have risen by a whopping 46 per cent. Just nine of 27 sports had increased participation, and only rowing (62 percent) has done better than football since 2001.”
“According to the survey, AFL has effectively flat-lined (-1 per cent) during that period, while rugby league participation has dropped by 27 per cent. Rugby? It's collapsed by 63 per cent, down to just 55,000 players. Not surprisingly, the ARU described the survey as "fake news", but whichever way you cut it, here's a game in crisis. The price to pay for pulling out the roots.”
“The warning signs are clear. The sports of the future will have to look down, not up. People who love their sport need to be engaged, respected, and appreciated. It may not be as easy as pocketing a fat cheque, but soon it will be the best way forward. For some, the only way.”
“Rugby either didn't see what was coming, or didn't want to. It's hard to see how rugby can recover from the damage done. The FFA's challenge is to make a quantum leap of faith, to look beyond the spreadsheet and see the horizon”
It’s hard not to draw direct comparisons to the sport that was once Surf Lifesaving where we had a great big base of fit active well trained club members undertaking patrols and competition in equal amounts. As soon as our State & National bodies started chasing the big dollars the membership became the clients instead of the volunteers and a clear view to grass roots understanding, needs and management has been lost.
Let’s all hope the SLSA Board will look to the Horizon.