Qualifying for the World Cup is thought to be worth about $40
in revenue for the Football Federation of Australia, but the deft execution of the next seven months will be
absolutely vital to really put Australian soccer on the map.
While joining the Asian League is vital, the eight teams in the
Hyundai A League need to get their finances and structures completely
sorted out so there is a stable base going forward.
For instance, John Elliott’s old Foster’s mate Geoff Lord, who BRW
reckons is worth $120 million, needs to either write out a big cheque
or surrender control of the Melbourne Victory, which continues to pull
great crowds despite a recent form slump.
Lord has still only contributed $250,000 to the Victory and the $1
million licence fee is only half paid. The FFA board apparently agreed
to kick in $500,000 yesterday, bringing Victory’s total capital to
about $2.5 million when it is meant to have $5 million.
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The value of A League licences all leapt after the Socceroos qualified,
so surely Lord can afford to pay up and justify his control, which has
been achieved by installing various supporters in key positions.
Promoter Glenn Wheatley wants to be involved but the poisonous
relationship with Lord and his syndicate has made him reluctant to dive right in
until the current situation is sorted out.
Finally, Victory had a highly successful fundraiser at Crown Casino
last night where a wealthy soccer nut paid $28,000 for two tickets in
the FIFA box at the World Cup final. Someone should point this out to
Melbourne 2006 chairman Ron Walker, who still thinks the Commonwealth
Games will be bigger than the World Cup.