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Keogh July Newsletter
SHAPING THE FUTURE
Some of us call it football, the rest still call it soccer. Regardless of its moniker though, the ‘world game’ is looking to transform its sporting status in Australia over the next two decades.
The game is already on the march, with successes at national and international level for both men’s and women’s teams. But the ruling body, the Football Federation of Australia, is looking to build on that recent momentum and elevate it to the premier football code in the country by 2035.
That is a bold vision – particularly given the ethnic divisions and financial difficulties that have hobbled the game for most of its national existence and left it as the poor cousin among the four football codes until the most recent decade.
The FFA has unveiled an aspirational whole-of-football plan aimed at boosting grassroots participation and support, as well as creating better pathways to the elite levels for male and female players.
It wants “football to be the largest and most popular sport in Australia”, with more participants, more supporters, and home-grown development of world-class players.
By 2035 the federation is aiming for:
· A 15-million strong football community (about half the population), including one million club members
· A game that enhances social cohesion and community health
· A series of world-class coaching academies so that young players do not have to head overseas for development opportunities
· The creation of a pool of 3000 young male and female players capable of vying for future national selection and professional contracts
· A bid to stage the women’s world cup in Australia
Topping all those (in terms of prestige, ambition and heart) is a desire to forge a distinctive Australian style of play that is capable of turning our national teams into serious contenders at all world and Asian championships.
The FFA’s plan is an alluring example of organisational vision, providing a beacon that everyone can work towards. It is the first big stride on the road to change. And, unlike so many organisations venturing down a similar path, it is being built on a platform of success rather than being struck at a time of desperate necessity.
Like the best of such visions, the FFA plan is certainly bold and compelling – and likely to appeal to even those on the periphery of its football community.
Some of the goals are also quite challenging; that means they will require a significant degree of stretch in order to be realised.
Thirdly, although the full FFA plan is quite comprehensive, it can be distilled to a few main elements that can be readily communicated and absorbed by its intended audience
Lastly, community forums and online surveys have provided some of the input into developing the 2035 vision, so sectors of the football community have already been engaged and might feel ownership of at least parts of the plan.
But any vision, no matter how bold and compelling, is liable to be reduced to hollow sentiments unless it is backed by finite plans. The organisation needs to identify the strategic priorities, to spell out individual objectives, and formulate action plans and timelines for achieving them. It also needs to identify means for verifying progress, for measuring at periodic intervals the advances achieved.
The FFA has taken a bold first step – and the other football codes are wary and alert. But the federation itself is aware that it has to start adding detail to the road map and specifying timetables if Australia is to really embrace the ‘world game’.
Keogh has a new addition to its extended family, a baby boy named Jack.
He is the son of Jodi Bell, our accountant, and Richard Hay. He was born a couple of weeks early, at the end of May. Mum and bub are doing fine.
It is Jodi’s first child. “And he’s gorgeous, the most gorgeous baby in the world,” she volunteered. “He looks like a combination of both of us, but he has my dimples.”
Richard took a month off work and “has been really helpful”. He’s an experienced hand, having children from a previous marriage.
Jodi is on maternity leave but is planning to return to work in October. “He might be crawling by then, he’s growing that fast,” she said.
And the dogs (surrogate kids) are just as smitten with Jack.
You can react with a smile, a thumbs-up, a thumbs-down, or just append an angry face. The emoji icons of the online world are the fastest growing addition to our modern language.
They have broken free of their Japanese origins and their use has exploded in the few short years since they were standardised for the world and made compatible across different digital platforms.
The smiling face and the love heart are the most frequently used, but the pressure to expand the number of symbols is constant. The first unicode, adopted in 2011, contained 722 agreed symbols. We are already on our third unicode and the number of symbols has grown to more than 1100. The most notable additions to the latest code provide for a wider array of human flesh tones, a more diverse representation of family groupings, and a lot more national flags.
The embrace of emoji icons has marched in step with the proliferation of digital conversations via text, email and tweet; first the tech heads, then the youngsters, and finally the rest of us have started clicking on them in an attempt to inject a little feeling into the cold, truncated world of online communications.
But be warned, all those that cuss and curse them: their functional uses could be expanding too. Already the story of Moby Dick has been transcribed into Emoji Dick, and the finance industry is flirting with the idea of using them as the characters in pins and passwords. - RJS
If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland