Columnist

Les Murray

Fondly known as 'Mr Football', Les has been directly involved in all the major events covered by SBS Sport, including five World Cup football tournaments. Follow @lesmurraysbs on Twitter.

579blog entries

Unfinished dirty business stains World Cup integrity

While FIFA may want the probe into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar buried, there seems no end in sight as the truth continues to be hidden behind smoke and mirrors.
With regard to the release by FIFA’s ethics judge of the findings by his committee on the World Cup host-bidding process, one of three things is possible:The investigation by prosecutor Michael Garcia was woefully inept and blind.Or, key suspects...

Wanderers result a defining moment for Australia

It ranks for me as just about the biggest moment in Australia's football history and thanks to what Western Sydney Wanderers achieved in Riyadh a new chapter has been written in the annals of our football and our social evolution.
In 34 years of broadcasting football – and an additional 30 years being a fan of the game – I have seen a number of 'biggests', or so-called breakthrough moments, until then considered almost unachievable in the Australian football narrative.It...

Time to put heat on Saudis

Set aside for the moment whether or not the FIFA vote to grant Qatar the hosting rights to the 2022 World Cup was corrupt or not. Here is something more immediate for FIFA and its ethics prosecutor, Michael Garcia, to maybe consider.
According to a Fairfax Media report, if you are a woman unaccompanied by a male, a Jew or a homosexual, there is no guarantee you will be able to gain a visa to enter Saudi Arabia to attend the second leg of the AFC Champions League final between...

The people's Victory

The prospect of membership control in a stake of Melbourne Victory Football Club is an exciting one.
Melbourne Victory, Australia's biggest football club, may soon become the first to be majority owned by its members.Two of the club's larger shareholders, businessmen Harry Stamoulis and Robert Belteky, recently advertised a public offering to...

Why Pelé is the king

A phenomenal player of immense talent and beauty, it is Pelé's influence on football's global popularity that sets his legacy apart from football's greatest players.
In November, Pelé, the greatest name of them all in football, will visit Australia for a series of functions meant to mark my stepping down from full time duties at SBS after 34 years of broadcasting football.I am, of course, humbled by this...

Sepp's dangerous toy

Sepp Blatter, it appears, wasn't kidding when he floated the idea of 'video challenges' in mid-game at the FIFA Congress in Sao Paulo in June. He has repeated it more recently and is now even talking about trialling it at the FIFA Under-20 World...
Has the FIFA president taken leave of his senses? This is the man who for decades steadfastly, and properly in my view, refused to budge from opposing any case of video adjudication over refereeing decisions, including goal line technology.Then,...

Football's silly need to go mainstream

FFA's National Club Identity Policy may hamper football's unique ability to engage the diverse ethnic communities that make up the fabric of our rapidly evolving society.
Football Federation Australia's (FFA) new National Club Identity Policy, announced smack in the middle of the World Cup, raised surprisingly few eyebrows.If the timing of the announcement was deliberately designed to ensure the distraction of...

A-League grows up

The A-League is coming of age on and off the field and I can't wait for the start of the season on 10 October.
It has been a good couple of months for the A-League. Three things come to mind.At the World Cup in Brazil Australia performed more than creditably with a good smattering of players from the A-League on the field and, with better luck, may have...

The lessons of Brazil 2014

In the aftermath of the World Cup in Brazil, lingering in that country on a holiday, I took a visit to the city of Santos, the home of Pelé and marvelled at its prolonged love affair with football.
Santos, where Pelé still lives, is a seaside satellite of the gargantuan city of Sao Paulo, Brazil's centre of industry and commerce, population 12 million, an ant-hill of people chasing their tails in quest of a living, a metropolis of thousands...

What a swell party

It felt like it from the start but even with the benefit of a few days' hindsight, and time to clear the head after a gripping final, it has surely been the best of all World Cups, or at least the best in my long experience as a broadcaster of the...
Of course not all will necessarily agree. Some will find the quality of the football to have been wanting, though it is difficult to see how. Some, who are less than totally conversant with football, will claim that a good final should be one...