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Where to now, Melbourne Croatia? Football federation Australia's use of accounting numbers to institute exclusion upon ethnic clubs

Kieran James (Faculty of Business, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia)
Chris Tolliday (Department of Social Work & Community Welfare, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia)
Rex Walsh (Faculty of Business, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia)

Asian Review of Accounting

ISSN: 1321-7348

Article publication date: 19 July 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review the cancellation of Australia's National Soccer League (NSL) competition and its replacement in 2004 with the corporatist A‐League which is based on the North American model of “one team one city”, no promotion and relegation, and private‐equity clubs. The authors believe that one of the aims of the A‐League and its “ground‐zero” ideology was to institute exclusion of the ethnic clubs that had formed the backbone of the NSL for 30 years.

Design/methodology/approach

Extensive literature search, participant‐observation, one personal interview and two group interviews were employed. People interviewed were the President of the Croatian community's Melbourne Knights Football Club, the Club Secretary of Melbourne Knights, and three leaders of Melbourne Knights’ MCF hooligan firm.

Findings

The authors observe the Football Federation Australia hiding behind the perceived scientific nature and technical veracity of budgeted accounting numbers to set the financial bar too high for the ethnic clubs to find a place in the brave new world that has been called “Modern Football”. However, capitalism creates its own discontents. Online forums and homemade fence banners are the new vehicles for dissent for the supporters of “Old Soccer”.

Originality/value

There is still only a small academic literature on Australian football and most of this has been written by humanities lecturers. The paper offers a business school perspective.

Keywords

Citation

James, K., Tolliday, C. and Walsh, R. (2011), "Where to now, Melbourne Croatia? Football federation Australia's use of accounting numbers to institute exclusion upon ethnic clubs", Asian Review of Accounting, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 112-124. https://doi.org/10.1108/13217341111181050

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited