Moore calls for discussion on code

Former Socceroo Craig Moore will take to the field for Richomnd Rovers against Goonellabah at Nielsen Park, East Lismore, on May 12th. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star
Former Socceroo Craig Moore will take to the field for Richomnd Rovers against Goonellabah at Nielsen Park, East Lismore, on May 12th. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star Cathy Adams

CRAIG Moore has called on Football Federation Australia and the football community to have more around-the-table discussions to ensure the code grows and becomes a force.

With the national league on its knees yesterday's Joint A-League Strategic Committee inaugural meeting in Sydney, at FFA's headquarters, was an opportunity for the FFA to hear the grievances of owners that have been profusely bleeding, big dollars, in the six years of the competition.

Gold Coast United owner Clive Palmer and his club were punted by FFA, North Queensland Fury shriveled on the vine, Nathan Tinkler's Hunter Sports Group threw back their licence and Central Coast Mariners will require life support to get to the starting line for version seven.

In a late development, yesterday, the FFA announced that Tinkler and FFA Chairman Frank Lowy had resoved, in part, their differences and that Newcastle, under the HSG banner, would participate next season in the A-League - but for how long?

"We need to discuss ways the clubs can go forward," Moore, a former Australian captain, told The Northern Star.

"It's not necessarily about making money or if they could break even.

"At the moment there are too many signs that the current model doesn't stack up.

"I think the losses of A-League clubs (this season) were $27-million and another six or seven million dollars on top of that from the FFA.

"If we are losing $30 to $35-million a year tells you that something needs to be done in regards to our model ... it isn't working.

"There have been a lot of positives in the game that have happened over the seven years, the great product that we are seeing on the football field.

"But we desperately need to get our house in order off the field.

"One of the A-League clubs biggest expenses is stadia hiring fees which dramatically reduce the $1.2-million broadcast rights deal to each franchise.

"That at the moment is crippling clubs," Moore said."I know a lot of things were said about Clive Palmer, he raised a lot of good points but the way he went about it nobody agrees with.

"At Skilled Park he was paying about $140,000 (for stadium hire for each match) and when I was at (Brisbane) Roar if we weren't reaching 15,000 crowd wise, they were losing about $70,000.

"Its alright saying you are getting $1.2-million a year of the FFA for Fox television rights ... in 10 home games at Brisbane Roar there's $700,000 they are handing back.

"That's not an FFA problem that's us (the game) being able to sit around the table, with governments, to try and get a better structure in place for our game, our clubs to move forward.

"We need to make sure the foundations are right, unless we get that right then there are massive concerns."

The cash strapped FFA has seen fit to kick-off a western Sydney franchise for next season - inside six months - without a financial backer and no junior structure or youth team.

"It will be very, very difficult," Moore said of the proposed set up time for the western Sydney franchise.

"Add to that that there might not be a youth team, I don't understand how a new club that is going to be involved in the A-League can't have a youth team.

"I see it so much in this country that it is all the top end without the foundation.

"Moore, who was capped 52 times for the Socceroos and played over 250 matches for Scottish giants Glasgow Rangers, was in Lismore yesterday to promote his guest appearance for Richmond Rovers on May 12 at Nielsen Park against Goonellabah Hornets.

"It is great to come to areas like Lismore where there is a great history and where there is a huge interest in the game," Moore said."I think it is important to continue to promote the game as much as we can, I'm looking forward to having a kick around.

"I'm coming up for two years retired, I'd like to come down (from Hope Island) a little bit earlier and get a training session under my belt."

Hornets coach, Mark Ambler, welcomed the promotion of the game in the region by bringing Moore to play a game but questioned the timing given his team will be playing for, as will Rovers, for competition points.

"I think it is fabulous and there should be more of it," Ambler said of Moore's guest appearance.

"A charity game before the season, a training trial before the season or a post competition match - excellent.

"As the opposition coach drawn to play Rovers on that particular competition date where Craig Moore is involved I'm not in agreement when there's three valuable competition points at stake.

"Hornets beat Rovers 5-0 in last year's premiership decider after losing twice, the two previous seasons, in the grand final to Rovers and given the continued wet weather they may only get to play each other once during the home-and-away season.

"I would hate to consider, that at the end of this season, our club was to be denied the minor premiership, which I hold more important than anything - the best team over the entire competition; by one point looking back on a particular game where it could have gone wrong for us."

Tomorrow The Northern Star will publish Moore's expectations for the Socceroos.

Topics:  football federation australia rugby league

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