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.

646blog entries
There was considerable media criticism of the A-League’s football standards following some humiliating Australian losses in the AFC Champions League recently.
This is good. The media commentariat has a responsibility to question and criticise and to try and find a diagnosis when things don’t go well. But sometimes they can get things wrong, way wrong, by pointing a finger at the wrong people. A ...

Why do we sack coaches?

Why was Claudio Ranieri sacked? Let’s ask the broader question, why do we in football sack coaches? And why so often, why so predictably?
The understanding is that we sack them because the results are not good enough, patience has run out and we see no prospects of a turnaround. Then comes the next question: if results are bad is that necessarily the coach’s fault? And would...
For an entire working week the FFA were locked in talks with their stakeholders over constitutional change.
Both FFA chairman Steven Lowy and CEO David Gallop were bunkered down in critical dialogue with the state federations, the A-League chairmen, the players’ union and other interested parties in a series of meetings over last week. You may w...
He's one of the greatest players of all-time, they named the award for the world's best goal after him, and now Ferenc Puskas will be honored in Melbourne where he coached for three years.
On Saturday, 4th of February, a bronze statue dedicated to Ferenc Puskás will be unveiled in Melbourne. There on Gosch’s Paddock, a stone’s throw from the statues of cricketers and Aussie rules players which surround the MCG, will stand th...
Despite the outstanding dominance of Sydney FC in the current season, the A-League suffers from a degree of sameness and technical uniformity not seen since before the glorious era of Brisbane Roar between 2010 and 2014.
In those years, during which the Roar won three championships and once went 36 games without defeat, Brisbane provided a brand of technical leadership which inspired all connected with the A-League, including rival teams. The league lacks ...
Last week in this space I wrote about the expanded, 48-team FIFA World Cup and how the change will impact on the tournament, football in general and on Australia.
Since then two developments have emerged. One is that the notion of Australia seceding from the Asian Football Confederation and re-joining Oceania has entered the conversation. The argument is based on the supposition that Oceania will no...
FIFA’s councillors have voted unanimously to expand the World Cup finals from 32 to 48 teams.
Well, of course they did. It will bring the member associations they represent a lot more money. The new money will come in various forms: There will be 16 more games, which means more content for broadcasters but also an increase to the v...

Farewell, some fine men

A number of long acting servants of the game died in the space of 16 days in December and all should be honoured for their contribution to football and building it in our country.
The festive season was not very jolly for us football old timers. With a number of people who helped football develop in Australia passing away recently, all should be honoured for their efforts and passion for growing the game. Dr Brian C...
After decades of debate, argument and, at first resistance then acquiescence by FIFA, video refereeing finally arrived as a practical tool when it went on trial at this month’s FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.
If the first incident referred to the VAR (Video Assistant Referee) is any guide it was a miserable failure. It came in the semi-final between Kashima Antlers (Japan) and Atletico Nacional (Colombia). Thirty minutes in, Kashima’s Daigo Nis...
The Chapecoense air tragedy in Colombia was a horrifying heartbreak for the perished’s loved ones, the club’s supporters, for Brazilians and the global football community.
Sadly it wasn’t the first, nor will it be the last, incident in which planes carrying football teams have gone down and questions need to be asked as to why these things happen. Let us first examine what exactly occurred on that dark eveni...