Words by: Eli Mengem
As the football community eagerly await the release of the FFA’s newly reformed appeals process, many supporters are placing the champagne on ice, preferring to believe actions over words before they celebrate any real change in the way administrators treat supporters deemed to have done wrong.
Whilst this way of thinking is of course understandable, after personally re-living the events that enacted the FFA’s promised change during filming for Copa90’s latest video, I believe there is already so much to celebrate.
From the supporter groups league wide walk outs, organised in less than a week to their ‘lawyered up’ speeches they threw down to the games shell shocked administrators, Australian football fans truly showed that whilst we love our clubs more than anything, our love isn’t so blind that when faced with sheer injustice, we will sit and take it.
If the fans incredible actions aren’t reason enough to celebrate, then the exceptional work of the football media were. From their commentary boxes and glass studios, pundits of the game are often derided for being out of touch and at times emotionally distanced from the fans, but what we discovered was quite the opposite. Take for example Fox Sport’s pundit Mark Bosnich involvement in the events.
Whilst most knew of Bosnich solidarity with the fans due to his impassioned plea to A-League chief Damien DeBohun live on air, it was only after sitting down to chat with him for the documentary that we realised the full extent of his determined efforts to resolve the issue.
From contacting, organising and setting up the all important meeting between supporter groups and FFA members to financially assisting those who couldn’t afford the flights, Bosnich embodied the spirit of ‘football family’ we see all to rarely in our games spokespeople.
So, without allowing the appeals process to disappear from the agenda, the Australian football community, from fans to pundits, should take a step back, smile and give ourselves a pat on the back, knowing that we showed the world how a proper football family should work.