This past Wednesday, Football Federation Australia held its seventeenth Annual General Meeting.
One of the agenda items included a proposal which would change the governing body’s name from ‘Football Federation Australia’ to ‘Football Australia’.
FFA’s members unanimously approved the proposal and will go ahead with the plan to change its company name to ‘Football Australia’.
“Today we took another significant step on this new journey we have embarked upon when the FFA Congress unanimously resolved to change the organisation’s name from Football Federation Australia to ‘Football Australia’,” FFA CEO James Johnson said on Wednesday.
“This new name – which we will transition to over the coming months – signifies a fresh and exciting start for the game under the new strategic agenda, and a return to the roots of football in Australia.”
“I firmly believe that the opportunity for further change and positive transformation in Australian football burns brighter than ever, and with the foundations that we have set in 2020 there is much to be optimistic about,” he concluded.
What exact specifics Johnson is talking about when he refers to returning to the roots of the game in Australia is unclear, however one of the organisation’s touted changes is to re-brand the FFA Cup to the Australia Cup.
It’s a move that does make sense, as the governing body moves itself and its assets away from the “FFA” moniker.
Johnson told the SMH: “We’ll be announcing in the coming weeks a revamped FFA Cup – of course, the name change will be a part of that thinking.”
“But it will go a lot broader than just the name change … we’re looking at a different format which will be more open, a format that would allow more opportunities for clubs across the country to participate in national-level competitions.”
Putting aside possible tweaks in the format of the competition, if the change in name of the tournament does go ahead, it would be the right move.
The Australia Cup was the country’s first nationwide knockout football competition, beginning in 1962.
Yugal defeated St George Budapest 8-1 at Sydney’s Wentworth Park in the competition’s inaugural final.
Four-time NSL champions Sydney Hakoah were the only team to win the Australia Cup on two occasions.
Other winners of the tournament included George Cross, APIA Leichardt and Port Melbourne Slavia.
The cup ran until 1968, with administrators deciding the competition would be abolished due to various difficulties including interstate travel problems.
Since the cup competition was a national event, it did open up the doors for the idea of a long-term National Soccer League, which was ultimately introduced nine years later in 1977.
This is just a snippet of the game’s rich history and the return of the Australia Cup in modern day would celebrate and recognise the days of old.
It would be in unique contrast to some of the previous administrators of the game who have treated Australian football’s past with the utmost contempt.
In what could be seen as an extremely symbolic event of the way Australian football has ignored its history, the Australia Cup trophy was found in a rubbish bin in 2011 by builders who were carrying out renovations at the Hakoah Club.
Embarrassing events like this may have given James Johnson and his administration team the impetus to address these failures, with resources such as the ‘XI Principles’ document, drafted earlier this year, acting as a catalyst.
One of the principles, titled “Reset the narrative of Australian football”, has the following point as a proposed measure of change.
“Create a narrative which is contemporary, genuine, and acknowledges Australian football’s multicultural origins, its rich history and diverse football community today. It must foster unity, be football-focused and capitalise on football’s global nature for the benefit of the Australian game.”
The appropriate acknowledgment of the Australia Cup as the name of the country’s knockout cup competition, will be a small step in respecting the broader history of Australian football.