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Why we should be extra careful with what we say online

Social media, for the most part has been a groundbreaking invention that has allowed people across the world to interact from the comfort of their own homes.

We are able to communicate with friends, family and anyone else through platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and before their declines, myspace and Messenger.

But in the eyes of some, the use of social media has allowed those to express feelings and thoughts in a negative manner. And in the world of sport, there’s usually someone or something on the receiving end of this ‘abuse’.

Quite frankly, it’s downright disgusting.

To hide behind a keyboard and post things you wouldn’t say to or someone if they were standing right in front of you is a true act of cowardice. And deservedly, it’s universally condemned.

But it’s easy to take this perspective when you’re fortunate enough to not be the subject of online abuse and vitriol.

For those who play sport at a professional level and for clubs with significant fan bases, it can be quite scary to read things that people around the world say about you.

With the stakes they play for being so high, any level of failure is met with a knee-jerk reaction by those online. And with such easy access to the aforementioned platforms, it’s hard for professional athletes to see the bright side.

Some athletes do see the bright side, knowing that what’s said online rarely translates to what’s said in real life. A great example of this is through the popular TV segment, Mean Tweets.

Hosted by late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, high profile people are made to read derogatory tweets directed at them, with most of them expressing laughter at the stupidity of what’s said.

Here’s a couple of examples of the segment.

But then there’s the other side of the equation, those who do get affected by what people say.

Often, these comments left online can be quite upsetting and sometimes, those on the receiving end don’t take it well. And despite there being those who can cop the abuse, some have different perspectives.

These comments, whether they’re made online or from the stands, are dragging the game of soccer down and it’s a real shame.

Back in 2017, Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren played a poor game against Tottenham Hotspur in a 4-1 loss. Following the game, Lovren’s family members were threatened purely based on his performance.

You could be the most soulless person on this planet and still find that kind of comment disgraceful.

Briefly on Tottenham, left-back Danny Rose was diagnosed with depression in 2018. He seems to have put it behind him after becoming a first team regular for Tottenham this season.

Granted, Rose has admitted that injuries played a part in his depression during a BBC video that went online this year (can be found below in full), but it goes to show something.

We may see them as these worldwide superstars who can do anything. But in reality, they’re just like us.

Human.

Some may think that these comments don’t have any affect, but they do.

Mental health is one of the biggest problems surrounding soccer players and athletes around the globe because people think that they can say anything and get away with it.

They say these things for numerous reasons. Their performances on the field, as we know. It can be down to their appearance and personality (see above video for Peter Crouch). But there’s one other factor.

The fact that most of these players are millionaires.

Footballers get paid lots of money and there is a select group that think because of this, they should never be sad in their lives. Purely because they’re a bit wealthier than most folk.

To rebut these opinions, there is only one thing that needs to be said.

Money can’t buy happiness.

So before you send that tweet, Facebook post or whatever it is, put yourselves in their shoes.

How would you feel seeing someone say that about you? Because in life, you should only treat people the way you want to be treated.

And it’s time that we stamp the abuse out, whether it’s racism, sexism or general oppression. Because whatever it is, it has no place in sport or in life. Anywhere.

 

 

Equal pay for Matildas a win for the women’s game

In an announcement by Football federation Australia (FFA) and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), a landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) has been reached which will close the pay gap between the Caltex Socceroos and Westfield Matildas.

It’s a new CBA that will last for the next four years which sees the Australian men’s and women’s national teams receive the same pay from revenues generated and progress in the FIFA World Cup – a massive win for current and aspiring Matildas.

As part of the four-year CBA, they will receive a 24% share of an agreed aggregate of National Team Generated Revenues in 2019/20, rising by 1% each year.

Within the 24%, all players will contribute 5% of the National Team Generated Revenue towards Australian Youth National Teams, which guarantees some form of investment for future generations of the Socceroos and Matildas.

This new agreement addresses gender equity in the game and will be the way forward to reward all players equally.

The Matildas will now have a three-tiered centralised contract system which recognises the country’s finest women’s players – Tier 1 Matildas will earn the same amount as the top Socceroos.

The new CBA has also allocated more World Cup prize money as an incentive for progressing throughout the tournament.

Players are now entitled to 40% of prize money when qualifying for a FIFA World Cup, going up from 30%. Should they make it to the Knockout Stages, that share of prize money increases to 50%.

The player share of AFC Asian Cup prize money will increase from 30% to 33%. If they go all the way to the AFC Asian Cup Final, the prize money share increases to 40%.

The new CBA has been announced to cover the next World Cup cycle for both the Caltex Socceroos and the Westfield Matildas.

FFA Chairman Chris Nikou spoke about the landmark agreement:

“Football is the game for everyone, and this new CBA is another huge step toward ensuring that we live the values of equality, inclusivity and opportunity,” he said.

“For the first time, player remuneration will be directly tied to the revenues generated by our National Teams – this will create a sustainable financial model that incentivises players and FFA to collaborate and grow the commercial pie together.

“This is truly a unique agreement. Every national team, from the Socceroos and Matildas, down to the Youth National Teams as well as the Cerebral Palsy National Teams have been contemplated in this new CBA.

“With this CBA, the next generation of aspiring Australian kids can see a pathway that offers a sustainable career, a chance to be an Olympian, and the lure of playing at a FIFA World Cup – regardless of your gender. It means whether you are a male or female, the value football places on your jersey is no different. We are proud to break this new ground in Australian and world sport.”

For more information about the CBA, you can find it here: https://www.ffa.com.au/news/historic-cba-close-footballs-gender-pay-gap

Indigenous Football Week to help aspiring coaches

The Moriarty Foundation is currently holding the annual Indigenous Football Week, which began on November 2nd and concludes on November 10th.

The fourth edition in 2019 is themed “Ground up – developing Indigenous coaches” and is an initiative to help all the aspiring coaches out there.

John Moriarty is the key member of the foundation that is partnered with Football Federation Australia (FFA), Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), SBS, NITV, and FOX Sports.

Moriarty was the first Indigenous footballer to be capped for Australia and spoke about the importance of the week.

“Indigenous Football Week  provides a perfect opportunity for the football community to come together to promote the importance of holistic training, including health, nutrition, and wellbeing; arming our coaches with knowledge and knowhow that they can apply daily back in our communities,” he said.

With assistance from the Morrison Government, John Moriarty Football has been allocated funding to go towards expanding the Northern Territory pilot which reaches out to multiple communities across New South Wales and Queensland over the next three years.

The expansion started in both states in July and the aim of this year’s Indigenous Football Week is to mentor and upskill local community coaches during specialised coaching sessions in Sydney.

It will be a joint collaboration with Football NSW and FFA and features contributions from Sydney FC, Western Sydney Wanderers and Central Coast Mariners.

International sports psychologist Dr. Noel Blundell will support the Moriarty Foundation during the week and will host a program related to the key emotional intensity levels of players. He has worked closely with 23 World and Olympic Champions to maximise their talents, across his 30-year career.

“It is exciting to be a part of Indigenous Football Week, to assist the Moriarty Foundation coaches so that they may pass on these vital skills to their teams and communities,” he said.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) Chief Executive David Gallop also spoke as one of the major partners for John Moriarty Football.

“FFA has been a supporter of John Moriarty Football for several years now and are thrilled to once again be involved in the JMF Indigenous Football Week. This week is a showcase of the positive work done throughout the year in creating awareness and opportunities for indigenous footballers, coaches and administrators across the country.”

The launch of Indigenous Football Week will be formerly celebrated at Valentine Sports Park in Sydney on Tuesday, November 5th.

Image source and more information can be found here: https://www.ffa.com.au/news/indigenous-football-week-kicks

Zlatan to the A-League – the Pros and the Cons

In recent times, rumours have begun circling that Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be making a move to the A-League.

At face value, ‘Ibra’ in the A-League sounds like a fantastic proposition.

He’s a living legend who has won titles just about everywhere he’s gone. AC Milan, Barcelona, Juventus, Inter Milan, Ajax, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United are all huge clubs he has played for during his illustrious career.

Say what you will about his arrogance and ego, but it’s a part of why he’s so revered. He doesn’t put on a mask, he is unequivocally himself.

Zlatan would instantly become the biggest name in the league today and one of the biggest names to ever come Down Under.

The exposure that soccer in Australia would get as a result of his arrival in the country would be phenomenal. When Zlatan first arrived in Los Angeles as a part of his move to the MLS, it was the biggest soccer news story at the time. And the MLS is a much larger competition than the A-League.

People from across the globe would start watching A-League fixtures and stadiums would be packed to the rafters.

In a time where soccer in Australia could use a popularity boost, Zlatan would bring people across from other sports and be the star attraction in Australia.

Shirts sales would skyrocket. Fans from other clubs would buy shirts purely because it’s Zlatan.

I mean, you’d be silly not to.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the A-League could be the necessary sugar hit the A-League needs. But that could be all it is. A sugar hit. A flash in the pan.

David Villa was fantastic when he was loaned out to Melbourne City, albeit for the mere four games.

Ibra would probably play more than four matches, but the rumours are also stating that he could be in the country for as little as six weeks.

That’s nowhere near enough time.

Once Zlatan leaves, any overseas exposure that arose from his arrival in Australia would instantly dissipate. Fans from other sports would return to their sports of choice.

Basically, any and all interest garnered from Zlatan being in the league would go with Zlatan.

Australian-based soccer fans would understandably feel aggrieved by his departure. There are also many soccer fans based here that do not follow the A-League, instead preferring the European leagues.

After Zlatan leaves, where do you think they’ll go? Back to their Optus Sport subscriptions.

When you look at Zlatan’s playing career, you’ll notice one recurring theme.

At all but one club he’s played for, he’s never made more than 90 appearances.

He made 122 for Paris Saint-Germain during his four year stint in France’s capital, but he has never been one to stay the course with one club.

Four years is indeed his longest tenure at any club but even that’s lower than most players.

What does all this mean? He’s not a loyal player. He doesn’t play for the club. His character is such that he only ever sees what’s in it for him.

What would that mean for whichever A-League club would pick him up?

It would mean that it’s nothing more than a cash grab for him. It would almost be paid leave for someone like Zlatan.

He would train once or twice and play the weekend’s game. But he wouldn’t be giving it his all. His heart wouldn’t be in it.

Yes, he plays with passion and hunger unlike 99% of every player out there. But it’s not as if he’s playing for any reward other than money.

There wouldn’t be much motivation for him.

As a club, do you want your highest paid player to be someone who would be apathetic? I certainly wouldn’t, nor should any other club’s executives.

Zlatan would be a huge coup for the A-League. His name is enough to draw a crowd wherever he goes.

But if his rumoured stint in the A-League would be as little as six to eight weeks, would it be a worthwhile investment for the league and its stakeholders?

That’s for you to decide.

 

 

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