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.
Asian Review of Accounting – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 19, 2011
Keywords: Australia; Football; History; Accounting; A‐League; Croatian diaspora; Melbourne Knights; National Soccer League; Soccer history; Sociology of soccer
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