If you’ve been tracking developments regarding soccer in Australia in recent years, you’ve probably heard this story kicking about. If not, well then this will all be completely fresh to you! Regardless, we’d like to shed a bit of light for such recent developments, and specifically – identify why Football Federation Australia has decided to transform the name and completely rebrand. Believe it or not, this change was only agreed by the relative governing bodies at the back end of 2020, with the name of Football Federation Australia now being changed simply to ‘Football Australia’.
Football Federation Australia – Changes are coming!
Now, on the surface this may seem like a simple name change based on preference, but it’s far from it. There are a number of reasons for why such a change is being done in the current sporting climate, and we will attempt to educate you on these reasons throughout the preceding information. It’s actually quite intriguing and rather interesting to see the mindset and viewpoints of these governing bodies, so let’s get straight into it.
Why the name change in the first place?
This will no doubt be the first question on everyone’s lips – why adjust the name in the first place? As stated above, when organizations or companies rebrand themselves, it can sometimes seem like a rather insignificant change. But in this case, the altercation to Football Australia has deep meanings that are aiming to show the new values of the organization. As a matter of fact, James Johnson, who is the executive chief of the previous Football Federation Australia brand, stated that the name is mainly to create a more inclusive image – whereas other names like ‘Federation’ do not make things overly welcoming. But there’s a bit more to it than that, so let me show you the underlying points right here.
Gender equality/support for female play
This is actually one of the main points that have slipped under the radar, and the timing is absolutely perfect. As you may or may not know, Australia and New Zealand are set to co-host the FIFA World Cup in 2023, and by branching away from the Football Federation Australia name and rebranding, it’s an effort to indirectly show support for this event and almost put it in a category that is now on a par with the men. Let’s face it, such an initiative is long overdue, and other sports are pushing this kind of viewpoint, not to mention the fact that equality has been a major issue in sport for quite some time now.
With the all-new Football Australia, besides the international focus with the World Cup, now the men and women could be competing on a domestic level under the same brand – and again, this brings the prestige of women’s soccer more in line with the men’s.
Reconnect with history
When you browse through the various interviews with the individuals behind the name change, this is the one that has been most heavily favoured. And when the subject has also been discussed with soccer fans in Australia, it’s clear that they want Australia to get back in touch with how things used to be. To give you the scoop, the old trophy for the ‘Australia Cup’ was actually lost back in the 1960s, and a replacement had to be made to issue the winners with it at the end of a tournament. However, the cup was since found on a building site in 2011, and it carries a lot of sentimental value for soccer fans all over Australia. To be perfectly honest, this is comparable to a trophy such as The Ashes in cricket, and it’s something that Australian sports fans absolutely love – and rightly so!
So, now that the trophy has been found and restored to some degree, the name change could also be aligned with bringing this historical trophy back into play. It could become just as traditional as The Ashes trophy that is competed for between England and Australia in cricket, and it could even be given under the name – ‘The Australia Cup’ now that the name change has been brought into effect.
FFA’s XI principles
Football Federation Australia was established on a set of principles, or eleven principles if you want to be exact – which actually reflects the number of players on a soccer field. Coincidence? We think not, but regardless these principles are contained in a rather lengthy document, and it would seem that the board wants to rebrand to reflect what the objective of these principles are. These principles can be viewed online as and when you please, should you want more information on them, but some of the main points include establishing a ‘home of football’, various appointees for the new Football Australia board, and more domestic control of Australia's main soccer leagues. After all, the main leagues are still a part of, and therefore under the indirect control of FIFA, which is something that not everybody loves.
Perhaps the main underlying element here, in accordance with the XI principles, is that this name change could come at the exact same time as a shift towards more control on both a domestic and international level – as far as soccer in Australia is concerned. And while yes, simply changing the Football Federation Australia name to something else may seem insignificant, it could have big impacts further down the line.
Align with other states
Although Football Federation Australia is the overseeing body for domestic soccer in Australia, each different state has its own subdivision of the organization. For example, Victoria has its own, New South Wales has its own, Western Australia has its own, and so on and so forth. However, in recent years, states including Victoria and South Australia have removed the word ‘Federation’ from their registered name, to now simply have their organizations known as Football Victoria and Football South Australia. The board believes that there will be continuing pressure from other states for these kinds of changes to come about, therefore, they seem to want to get things done ahead of time to avoid any future headaches or pushbacks from these individual states. And who could blame them really?
Conflict with branding
Our fifth and final reason to discuss relates to potential conflicts with branding, and it even crosses the boundary into copyright infringement. With the previous name, Football Federation Australia, competitions such as the FFA Cup run dangerously close to other major FIFA sanctioned events like the FA Cup in England. Sure, there haven’t been any major reports regarding issues with this, but whether this has been discussed at length behind the scenes remains unclear. After all, when there are issues such as this that can arise, it doesn’t always get published in the media – especially when it’s a delicate issue that could damage the ego of powerful figures in the organization.
How this will impact Football Australia going forward
When all is said and done, the real question remains how this could impact soccer in Australia moving forward. For us, we feel that the impacts will be more subtle rather than distinctly obvious, at least initially. With that said, here are the benefits we feel will be realized over the coming years:
If you’re a sport-loving Aussie, or you know one, you’ll understand the ramifications of this initial benefit. Australian’s tend to be very proud of their sporting culture, as they should be, and with the Football Federation Australia rebranding, we feel that a surge in soccer pride will emerge. Since these rebranding efforts will put them in line with other Aussie-loved sports like rugby and cricket, which each has its own governing body, we believe that soccer will become a sport that the fans are significantly more proud of – at least on a domestic level.
Stimulated interest in both men’s and women’s soccer
On top of the additional pride that will follow the name change, we truly believe that more and more fans will become interested in soccer and its influence around Australia. While yes, it’s undeniable that soccer isn’t on a par with others like rugby, Aussie rules, and cricket in terms of popularity, perhaps this rebranding will appeal to a wider audience and stimulate interest around the country? You may think that a subtle name change couldn’t have this kind of impact, but we’ve seen it throughout history, and you’d be surprised at the results.
More outside interest regarding player movement
Take the men’s A-League as a prime example, we can’t escape the fact that it isn’t one of the most popular leagues when viewed from a global perspective. It simply doesn’t have the money, the investments, or the partnerships that leagues such as the Premier League in England have. However, this name change is a statement that Australia is paying close attention to the development of the sport, which could attract more players from overseas to come and play in Australia – only time will tell!