The contentious issue of whether or not the
world game should now become the kingpin of Australian sport will be vigorously
debated on Thursday at a special comedy evening – part of the Cracker Sydney
Comedy Festival
– at Enmore Theatre.

SBS’s head of sport, Les Murray, will
moderate the debate – succinctly titled “Is Wogball The New Ozball?” – but has
firmly declared himself in the corner of the affirmative.

“I never called it wogball actually because,
even before its new level of acceptability, it was the only so-called football
code that was embraced by all of Australia’s cultural demographic. I mean, just look at
the Socceroos. They always were the only Australian national team which
mirrored our cultural diversity and still are,” Murray told Crikey.

That leaves Vietnamese-born comic Ahn Do in a
sticky situation as a declared member of the “negative” team.

Do, who arrived in Australia as a refugee in 1980 and grew up in Sydney’s western suburbs playing rugby league and
rugby union and had a short spell playing football (of the round ball kind),
has revealed a key aspect of his argument.

“It’s unnatural not to use
your hands, why
restrict it to the feet?” Do told Crikey. “Let’s talk about the most
famous
moment in football history – it’s when Maradona punched the ball in, he
used
his hand. The biggest moment in football history was a rugby league
moment, the ‘Hand of God’ moment – he was trying to play rugby league. The thing about wogball is that you look at
the Australian team and there’s mainly Europeans in it with hard to pronounce
names and it makes it very difficult for the commentator,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Perth Glory’s Bobby Despotovski took
out the prized Johnny Warren Medal for “Player of the Year” at the inaugural
A-League Awards,
edging out Sydney FC star Dwight Yorke for the top gong.

Peter Fray

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