Coming in from the margins: ethnicity, community support and the rebranding of Australian soccer
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Soccer in Australia exists at the margin of the professional sport landscape, although it enjoys popularity at the development levels. This historic position is the result of many social and political forces. With four football codes operating in Australia, amongst other elite and professional sport teams and leagues, soccer occupied a troubled position. The sustenance and growth of the sport emanates from a strong ethnic, immigrant basis of soccer, but this base also resulted in further marginalization of the code. Add to these difficulties organizational and governance issues, soccer was a management 'basket-case' for some time. Marginalization in the Oceania federation and questionable qualifying processes for the World Cup exacerbated the problems in Australian soccer. This essay traces the various changes to soccer in Australia as it seeks to move into the mainstream of national and international sport. A reorganized national sport governing body, the Football Federation of Australia, a new national professional competition in the A-League, new television revenues, and membership in the Asian Football Confederation point to the changes that will lead Australian soccer into the mainstream of the 'world game'.
Soccer & Society
© 2008 Taylor & Francis. This is the author-manuscript version of the paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal link for access to the definitive, published version.