Thursday, 15 May 2008

Australia's Big Five

Talking at the Tattersall's CEO Sporting Lunch were Australia's Big Five White Chief's. Reflecting the true nature of Australia:)White Anglo males, but there you go.

And Football was at the table, alongside League, Union, Cricket and the big elephant in the room AFL.

FFA CEO Ben Buckley his confidence, humour and intelligence giving the code, our code, great respect. Ben indeed reflected the game. Youthful, Optimistic, Confident, a Worldly figure.

Interestingly Union CEO John O'Neill seemed perhaps less dynamic, and visionary than usual. Maybe reflecting the difficulties he sees his code facing. Not just within Australia, also from the Northern Hemisphere, in the form of player transfers and various administration difficulities. John seemed a man with a lot on his mind.

League CEO David Gallop seemed comfortable, maybe planning for retirement, certainly not shaping any great future. Assured of his games place in the immediate future. Beyond that, the vision, the vibe. I couldn't feel it.

Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland knows he has the whole nation behind him. He kept telling us how Australia looks up to the number one game cricket. Not threatened by the IPL, he saw it as an opportunity. And he saw the way Australia plays it's cricket a crucial part of their branding.

He also noted that although in different seasons to the other codes, football, by way of the A-League, had come into their space.

AFL Commercial Manager Gillon McLachlan replaced the outspoken AFL Chairman Andrew Dimitriou. We're brash, confident, talk like one of the lads, do deals across the land. We're spending 100 mill in development including $20 mill in Sydney and Queenland just to stay standing still.
"We want to give choice," said Gillon of the codes push into Sydney.

And all the codes do.

"We're after the hearts and minds," said Buckley
"Grassroots is really important, getting the 7 year olds wanting to play for the Wallabies is very important," said O'Neill.

So lock up your kids, the big five are coming to a school or a park near you now! And it might not be pretty.

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