On Wednesday, Crikey reported how soccer fans who were lining up to buy
tickets for the Australia-Uruguay World Cup decider next month were
given Australian team shirts by the FFA. But as soon as the TV cameras
stopped rolling they had to hand them back.

SMH‘s Spike has a different version of the story:

Poor old Football Federation Australia: bagged if
they do something wrong, bagged if they do something right. A group of keen bean
fans queuing for tickets to the upcoming World Cup qualifier against
Uruguay next month were given free
Socceroo shirts when TV cameras arrived to film them yesterday.

“As the
cameras rolled, the fans filed through the doors displaying their new presents,”
the Crikey.com.au website
reported. “But once they emerged with tickets in hand, there was the soccer
official asking for the shirts back. Nothing’s free except the publicity for the
FFA regime of John O’Neill and Frank Lowy.”

It turns
out the “official-looking character” handing out the shirts was Footy Federation
Australia employee Matt Manners. He explained that he did take some shirts back
from the supporters, but only for re-sizing, and had taken down contact details
in order to mail out the appropriate free garments. This was verified by fans
Spike spoke to, so it seems the honour of the green-and-gold is safe for the
moment.

Peter Fray

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