Now before you all flood me with smart business ventures, donations and begging letters, I don’t actually have $8million to spend. But the Federal government has and it has decided to spend it on supporting the formation of a professional soccer team to be based in Greater Western Sydney. Does this make Greater Western Sydney the new hub of the sporting world in Australia? Maybe. It already has four professional rugby league clubs, a new AFL team and a myriad of other sporting clubs covering the gamut of sport played in Australia. And do any of these other clubs get any form of government assistance? None that I am aware of. What is so under-privileged about soccer that the Federal government considers them such a special case for financial assistance? All players in this new club will be professional. The minimum salary, just the minimum, for A-League players 21 years and older is $47,094, for younger players $38,020. I dare say the number of players on the minimum would be in the minority within a club. Therefore it could be argued that the Federal government is subsidising the payment of professional football players in just one club. Why? How does the government even try to justify this oddly skewed subsidy?
Later, on the same day that we discussed this during the Sports Roundup show on Alive 90.5, I saw a TV news item on the training of guide dogs for the blind. This worthy organisation literally changes lives for the better without a cent of Government assistance. Not a cent! This seems to me to be way out of balance. An organisation like Guide Dogs Australia which makes direct, life changing assistance to people who just happen to have little or no sight and it gets no government assistance. Guide dogs give these otherwise healthy people the ability to get around in the world and live more fulfilled lives, contributing to society. It is estimated there are about 600,000 community, not-for-profit organisations in Australia and I doubt that many, if any, receive any direct financial assistance from the government. Why then does the Federal government choose to support instead the formation of a professional football club which provides little if any direct community benefit and is really in the entertainment business?
Am I happy to be donating my tax dollars to soccer player payments? In a word, no, are you?