Transforming football: values and communities

Last month, I had an opportunity to meet with a consortium that was bidding for a Football Federation Australia franchise license.

Our conversations centred on values and communities.

My role was to challenge the consortium’s values proposition. By the end of our time together, and with the support of others keen to debate transformation we had come to a consensus.

We agreed:

  • The bid was based on a love of football.
  • We hoped to invite people to sample participation in the game in a variety of roles: player, coach, official, administrator, volunteer.
  • We hoped to persuade people that football could be a life interest that would be nurtured by respect and mutual recognition.

Our approach focussed on local communities that were the point of touch for the franchise’s values. We recognised that this needed leadership and that the franchise would actively connect communities in order to provide learning and support opportunities … and become an organisation that learns.

There was an unequivocal commitment to the spirit of the game and profound ethical dimension to the bid.

By the end of our discussions we also committed to:

  • a nursery model to support multiple role pathways
  • multi-sport opportunities as counters to early specialisation models
  • an invitational environment that enabled people to enter, leave and rejoin pathways
  • a distributed support system for young players that included opportunities to train in an intense way
  • clarity that a very small proportion of players would receive professional contracts and that lifelong involvement or absence from the game was not determined by the aspiration to be a professional player.

I though the bid enshrined the joys of being involved in football. The commitment to explicit values was very important in framing what I think is a transformational bid.

I am looking forward to learning what the Football Federation Australia think of this bid.

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