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Change or Die - Frank Lowy Speaks 1980 Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 July 2008 22:05

CHANGE OR DIE - FRANK LOWY SPEAKS

SOCCER ACTION

Wednesday February 27th 1980

The vested interests of State federations are stifling many of the progres-sive ideas of Philips League clubs, the president of Sydney City, Frank Lowy, claimed in his report to the club's recent annual general meeting.

He forecast a bleak future for soccer in general "until there are radical changes to the control and administration" of the code in Australia The outspoken attack was aimed at the Australian Soccer Federation. It is made up of State delegates, with the PSL itself having little say in the running of the game in this country.

"Policy at ASF level towards the PSL is by no means as progressive as it should be, and the league finds itself in competition with the various States, which in fact control the national Federation," Lowy told the small gathering of Hakoah Club members.

"The problems we are faced with are not just those of our club but Problems of the code and the administration of the game itself, as presently constituted in this country," Lowy claimed that many of the ASF's actions are "to the detriment of soccer generally". An example mentioned "a tendency for State and national teams not to mention visiting international teams - to be glamorised and boosted to the skies, while the clubs who provide the players bleed every week on the field for lack of support and promotion."

"The big, highly-publicised matches and even successful overseas tours by the Socceroos, have, unfortunately, very little spin-off for the clubs, even while they make the 'roof' of Australian soccer look good.

"In the meantime the foundations are very shaky and in danger of collapse," Lowy warned, He expressed the hope I that the ASF will recog-nise the problems and " takes steps to correct them, before it is "too late". The Sydney City president called for universal recognition of the fact that Australian soccer's strength depends on the strength of its clubs.

Problems in attracting crowds of a notable size in Sydney were highlighted by Lowy, who admitted his own club's failure in this respect. He urged that the problem be alleviated by a joint effort of the PSL clubs and the ASF itself, and demanded that everybody take on - a fair share of the financial burden.

The size of the burden was graphically illustrated by Sydney City Soccer Club's financial statement for 1979, which showed that expenditures amounted to $251,386 (compared with the 1978 total of $205,805), while income was only $101,879 (down from $111,293 the previous year). Gate receipts at home games were only $41,056, a drop of almost $10,000. This in spite of Sydney City spending almost $16,000 on advertising and promotion, an increase of nearly $13,000 on the preceeding 12 months. John Warren, who acted as the club's promotions officer in 1979, is no longer with Sydney City. However, by far the biggest item of expenditure was under players' fees, bonuses and retainers - a staggering $132,553, but showing only a moderate increase of less than $2,000 since 1978.

It is perhaps a reflection of the financial mess in which major PSt clubs find themselves that Sydney City's contribution to juniors last year dropped to $3221, almost $2,000 below the 1978 level. The deficit on soccer activities last year was $149,507 covered only by the successful trading of the Hakoah Social Club, which showed a net surplus for the year of $240,369. President Lowy also used the occasion of the annual general meeting to call on club members, who have been staying away from soccer in droves, to once again patronise games. "If we can't get your support, what hope is there of attracting the general public?" he asked.