Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Communications Minister Helen Coonan sells out Socceroos

I just read this on the World Game site, but it is from AAP:

Claims football fans ignored

Labor says Australian football fans have been ignored by the government, despite the fact the sport is now attracting massive television audiences.

Labor communications spokesman Stephen Conroy questioned why Socceroos World Cup qualifiers had not been placed on the government's anti-siphoning list - the schedule of major sporting events that must be offered for sale to free-to-air television before pay television.

Senator Conroy's call came as Communications Minister Helen Coonan said the debate over Australia's football World Cup qualifying matches being placed on the anti-siphoning list was sterile, since the rights to show them had been sold already.

She would be reviewing the anti-siphoning list in 2009, Senator Coonan told the estimates committee.

Senator Conroy said almost nine million Australians had watched the Socceroos World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay last year.

But with rights for all Socceroos World Cup qualifiers now sold to pay television for the next seven years, football fans would have to pay as much as $600 a year to watch Australia's next cup tilt.

The next World Cup will be held in 2010 in South Africa.
Frankly, I think this is completely insulting to Australian Football. The Socceroos have gotten bigger audiences than any other games. They are a national treasure and moreso than any other sporting entity in the country are on the international stage. There is no doubt in my mind that one of the important factors of the Socceroos growing success to date has been the mass support and interest they have received. Every Socceroo game should be on the anti-siphoning list, so that it is available for all Australians, especially the kids (who often aren't welcome in pubs) to watch.

There was no debate. This heinous act of selling rights to Socceroo games to pay TV - with no precedent - was done behind closed doors, as part of the Government's ugly media-monopolisation act. I have managed to avoid politics, including this particular sordid affair, for quite some time, but taking the Socceroos away has pushed me too far. This should bring down the government. It really should.

Write to the bitch; call her, hassle her, harangue her:

Communications Minister Helen Coonan
Parliamentary Office:
Tel: 02 6277 7480
Fax: 02 6273 4154
Email: minister@dcita.gov.au

Sydney office:
Tel: 02 9223 4388
Fax: 02 9223 4399

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes no socceroos on free to air sticks bad. Problem is that the game needs Fox's dollars, but not their sense - or lack off.

October 31, 2006 12:51 pm  
Blogger Mike Salter said...

Hamish, while I agree that the situation is far from ideal (I don't have Fox by the way, so I'm providing great business to the local pub in keeping up with the A-League, and am not looking forward to following the Socceroos in similar fashion), the rights to the Socceroos games was part of the deal that Fox negotiated with the FFA which will go a very long way towards ensuring that the A-League stays afloat financially.

It will allow the salary cap to be raised, squad sizes to be increased, and in the long run a youth/reserve league to be implemented.

As for the anti-siphoning laws, I heartily agree that Socceroos matches should be on the "list", but to the best of my knowledge it (the anti-siphoning list) was drawn up long before the World Cup "boom". I would imagine, too, that there are reasons why the list can't be reviewed on an ad hoc basis.

I am no fan of the Howard government by any means, but there are a few different sides to this particular story!


October 31, 2006 8:38 pm  
Blogger Yzerfontein said...

Nice to see that Australia Soccer is taking off.

November 01, 2006 4:40 am  

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