The Anglo Game?

29 May

Everyone is familiar with the iconic image iconic image of Nicky Winmar lifting his jersey in 1993 in response to racist taunts – we should be as the AFL have been plugging it hard.  In response to the incidents at the 2013 Collingwood v Sydney game it must be asked has the game dealt with the problem appropriately?

 Remember the Victorian Football Association? In the 1993 a talented forward named Joskun ‘Jack’ Aziz kicked a 50 metre goal to deliver Werribee a preliminary final win. The following week Werribee defeated favourites Port Melbourne in the Grand Final to claim their first premiership.

Not everything was so glorious for Jack Aziz. A proud Muslim of Turkish Cypriot heritage Aziz would be subjected to taunts. In 1990 racial taunts was used as a defence at the tribunal. His father would often react to comments at games. Taunts reached their peak during the first Gulf War. In a 1996 interview in The Age Aziz is quoted ‘other times I just get so angry that the umpire can hear this abuse and not say a word’.

 The story of Jack Aziz shows that racism within the game runs a lot deeper than the involvement of indigenous footballers. By playing senior footy Aziz struck a blow for Muslims, Jews, Africans and any other group that has slowly entered the game. The question remains – why did it take so long for them to enter the game?


Cup Football

22 May

Are the low crowds at the Foxtel Cup a warning that Australia doesnt have an interest in cup football? In Australian football there is enough money and television interest to absorb the costs – is there in soccer?

Soccer attempted a national cup in 1962 when the Craven Australia Cup was staged as a post season event. The cup lated until 1968 when costs saw the cup discontinued. In 2010 the Cup was found in the rubbish bin of Hakoah club – apparently FFA had no interest in claiming the trophy.

The National Football League of Australia launched a national night series in 1976. Due to television contracts the tournement was help primarily in Adelaide with VFL clubs sending weakened teams. After one season the VFL withdrew and launched its own night series with token involvement from the other states. The tournament died when the VFL expanded in 1987.

The two examples from two codes indicates there is little desire for national cups in Australia. Is it possible that FFA and the AFL will get it right this time?