Lessons from Other Codes


My fellow Almanackers.  I urged you to join me in launching the Football Improvement Federation of Australia (FIFA).

We share a common love of Australian football.  But I have become concerned about the decline and stagnation of the code.  Games have become predictable, repetitive and defensive.  There is not enough variety to keep fans engaged and entertained.  The physical demands of the modern game and the long season are taking a terrible injury toll on players.  Modern life has made us all time poor, and increasingly people cannot find the 3 hours in a busy day to watch a full game.

It is for these compelling reasons that I am proposing some changes to the structure of our season.

Of course the full 4 quarter/120 minute game is still the ultimate ‘Test’ of players and teams, and that is why we will retain them for finals and as a key feature of our season.  But we can no longer expect players to put themselves through this grueling exertion, week on week, for 6 months plus finals.  In future the full version of the game will be played in four week ‘Test Seasons’ in April and July, and in the September finals.

March and June will allow players to work into the season via the new 50 minute version of the game.  This is essentially the same game that we know and love, but played over two 25 minute halves – with no time on.  To develop new talent and minimize injuries, players will have to be substituted once they have had 10 possessions or kicked 2 goals in any half.

May and August will be the seasons for the newest and most exciting version of the game -”20/20” football – with two 20 minute halves.  The use of the round ball will assist Australian football’s international expansion into European and African markets.  Tackling will be prohibited to showcase skills and ensure teams go into September finals with minimal injuries.  Parents will be much more comfortable with their children taking up football with the introduction of this new format.  The 20/20 format will allow football to be live on Foxtel nightly for 7 days a week.  This gives our sport a premium place in the emerging entertainment market and generates increased TV revenue for the development of the game.

Regrettably not all teams have embraced these improvements to our game, but I am pleased to announce that the new 8 team competition will start in 2012 under the auspices of the ICC (Innovative Clubs Council). Richmondand Fremantle fans will still be able to see their teams in the residual IOC competition (Institute for Ordinary Clubs).

I know that not everyone will embrace these changes immediately.  Some will see them as untested and unproven.  But these changes have been subjected to rigorous international testing and development.

Look at what they have done for cricket.


  1. John Butler says

    PB, we know you’re joking. You know you’re joking. But I get shivers wondering if any sports administrators who happened upon this would get the joke, or consider it a serious proposition.

    Those at Cricket Australia already have.

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