Many a football fan would have been choking
on their cornflakes reading Frank Farina’s effort in The Tele on Tuesday, headed “Game deserves better than SBS”.

In an opinion column,
Farina branded SBS conspiracy theorists and criticised FIFA’s decision to grant
it the rights to the 2010 and 2014 World Cup tournaments as a backward move. And he suggests a commercial network – Seven, Nine,
or Ten – partnering with Fox Sports, would have been a better alternative for
World Cup coverage.

But yesterday, SBS Head Of Sport, Les
Murray, effectively slam-dunked Farina with a presentation of facts
that left the failed national coach nowhere to go. Murray points out that
any real football fan should be smiling from ear to ear at the thought of the
following:

  • All 64 games of the next three World Cups will be seen in full and live
    (unless kick-off times coincide).
  • Every kick, pass, tackle and save will be seen free of charge. Nobody has to
    pay.
  • The action will be accessed everywhere, with an audience accessibility of 99
    per cent of Australia’s population.
  • Highlights and replays will be shown in prime evening viewing time.
  • As part of the deal, the full compliment of other FIFA events – the World
    Youth Championships, the Women’s World Cup, the Futsal World Cup etc – will be
    covered.

Murray then rounds on Farina’s comments that SBS is
holding football back because it is an “ethnic station” and will never appeal
to a wider audience. He said it was SBS that “exposed, championed and promoted Farina’s talents
right down to his bootlaces when he was a young player in the ‘80s”.

According to Murray, when Farina’s agents and backers were trying
to sell him to a European club they turned to SBS, which compiled “an edit
package that made Frank look like a spritely Maradona”.

“Farina went, sold to Club Brugge, springing a European playing career that
gave him time in the leagues of Belgium, Italy and France, probably ensuring
him an earn he still enjoys today.”

The whole thing reeks suspiciously of sour
grapes.

Peter Fray

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