Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop says the Socceroos have overtaken Australia’s cricket team as the best representatives of the nation’s sporting identity and heritage.
Speaking at the Money in Sport event in Melbourne on Tuesday, Gallop believes the Socceroos are now the team which more appropriately represents Australia’s heritage.
The Socceroos have not only qualified for the last three FIFA World Cups but also achieved ultimate success by winning January’s Asian Cup on home soil.
But it’s not just about on-field success for Gallop.
“We believe they are the only team that truly represents the nation in all of its diversity and multiculturalism,” the FFA boss said.
“Winning the Asian Cup was a huge shot in the arm for them and the game.
“It highlighted the importance of football to the nation, that it is the common language of the globe; football is the common language of Asia and all of its diversity.
“People went along to games [during the Asian Cup] to support the Socceroos and their own heritage and I think they bought into the idea that it was a tournament that put a spotlight on the nation.
“I think economically, politically, socially, the nation will see the benefit of that tournament in the years to come.”
Gallop believes under Ange Postecoglou, the Socceroos can build on their Asian Cup success and continue to provide a huge boost to the game both on the pitch and commercially.
“They [the Socceroos] are setting themselves on a realistic road to Russia and perhaps progressing past the pool stage in Russia,” Gallop said.
“When you look at the players we have now got, and the fact that we will have players at the peak of their powers who have got experience as 21, 22-year-olds, all that puts together a nice cocktail commercially.”
When asked about the next TV deal, Gallop says it’s the Hyundai A-League though – and not the Socceroos – which will be a key factor in negotiations.
“Commercially I think the backbone of the game is the [Hyundai] A-League, the week-in, week-out competition producing five quality games every week, where it’s difficult to predict the winner,” he said.
“It’s a very important part of the business model. Operating on a level playing field but still allowing for star players to come into the competition through the marquee player system is important for football.”