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.

641blog entries
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...
While Australia is engulfed in a tough battle for World Cup qualification, which is by no means certain yet, in little over six months the team will be back on the world stage in FIFA’s next major international tournament.
The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup kicks off on June 17 in St Petersburg, the eight-team event ending on July 2 in the same city. The other three cities being used for the tournament are the capital, Moscow, Kazan in central Russia and Sochi...
There has been much chatter in recent days, mostly on social media, about Australia’s recent youth level failures on the international stage and the reasons why.
A number of diagnoses have been offered. Popular among them is that Australia’s modern player development methods, inspired by input from a Dutch technical culture, are bankrupt and not bearing fruit. This is not true simply because not en...
This occurred to me while watching Tom Rogic dominating the game in a recent outing for Celtic - whatever happened to the number 10 role?
Rogic is your classic number 10, even though he wears number 18. He may indeed be the best number 10 we ever had. And that’s partly because we haven’t had too many. For many decades the number 10 was the most critical position in football....
Some crooks have gone down but, it seems, the craziness, greed and political expediency at FIFA have not gone away.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who replaced disgraced Sepp Blatter when elected only last February, is delivering on his key promises during his campaign: channel more money to the voters and give them a better chance at qualifying for t...
Oh, it’s such a great feeling to be there when history is being made. The nearly 62,000 fans who attended the Sydney A-League derby on October 8 was not just a record for an Australian domestic club football match - it was also the realisation of...
Hands up those who don’t remember what crowds domestic football used to attract and believed an attendance this large was simply not achievable in Australia. When I arrived in Australia in 1957 as an 11-year old immigrant kid it was just a...