Foster issues World Cup rallying cry

Former Socceroo Craig Foster has called for widespread changes to the game in Australia.
Former Socceroo Craig Foster has called for widespread changes to the game in Australia. Marc Stapelberg

WITH the eyes of the world on Moscow for the World Cup final, ex-Socceroo Craig Foster says root-and-branch reform is required for Australia to match soccer's heavyweights.

Foster has also called on the Federal Government to show courage and start investing in a plan aimed at winning the World Cup final, which is expected to be played out before by an estimated worldwide TV audience of over 1 billion.

Australia's stagnation is directly linked with the political cloud hanging over the game, with FIFA still watching closely, according to Foster who's used SBS's World Cup coverage to voice his discontent.

Foster declared that the World Cup final is a great time to reassess while calling on the Federal government to step up its support ahead of a critical period.

"It's one of the most critical moments in the game's history and we've had a few. We've arrived at another critical juncture,'' Foster said.

"It's actually positive that FFA made some really poor philosophical decisions regarding (the Socceroos) at this World Cup because it's only fuelled the desire for governance change.

"That desire's been strong for a long time, but it's never gonna happen until the broader Australian community and government understands that the Lowy-led model of control, proprietorship, closure no longer works.

"It only works if you want to keep the game small now, and it's time to open up to the best people in the game.

Craig Foster and his SBS World Cup co-host Lucy Zelic.
Craig Foster and his SBS World Cup co-host Lucy Zelic.

"I believe that change is gonna happen, the Lowys have had their time and it's now time for the football community to inherit our game.

"They made a contribution - as much negative as positive, because I don't accept that this was all the game was capable of after more than a decade.

"And just as revolution ultimately occurs in such countries, I believe the revolution is now underway in Australian football and it's overdue."

FIFA is watching on closely after the temporary working group appointed by the world governing body - chaired by London-based lawyer Judith Griggs - set a July 31 deadline for reform proposal.

Foster, who helped reform the players union and is active in the political, youth development and indigenous spheres, is looming as a pivotal figures of the next era.

Australian football faces many challenges in the short and long-term. Pic: Getty
Australian football faces many challenges in the short and long-term. Pic: Getty

"The biggest thing out of this World Cup I hope is that Australia recognises the importance of this game. The whole country has to rise above the petticoat politics,'' he said.

"It's not a question of whether funding goes to AFL, football, league or any other sport - those fights are too common and should be resigned to the past.

"Australia should recognise that this is the greatest sporting challenge we've ever faced and that this is the final and greatest challenge that we must overcome.

"So the nation, politicians, the PM, the government of the day needs to understand and make a decision - that this is what we need to win.

Graham Arnold will lead the Socceroos.
Graham Arnold will lead the Socceroos.

"And by planning as a nation to win this, it's not prioritising football over any other game. They all coexist and that's the beautiful thing about Australia.

"This is the most important trophy on the planet and if we can win this, we will be the greatest sporting nation on earth.

"That takes a plan and takes leadership and bravery from the governments."