The Death and Life of Australian Soccer
University of Queensland Press, $32.95 pb, 424 pp, 9780702259685
During the past few European summers, several of the world’s biggest soccer clubs have deigned to visit Australian shores for branding exercises more commonly referred to as ‘friendlies’. These dull, meaningless matches are organised almost solely to line the pockets of the visiting clubs, yet they have been immensely popular. Australia’s local soccer competition, the A-League, is modelled on this slick, corporate mutation of modern sport. For the last twelve years, strategically located clubs have played in rented stadiums in front of paying customers. Soccer’s governing élites carefully control the sport’s ‘brand’ and its ‘metrics’. This is Australian soccer’s brave new world. Before the revolution, we are told, there was nothing.