Opinion

Coronavirus turns Australian football into a level playing field

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The coronavirus pandemic that has brought Australian sport to a standstill has made football realise that there really is not much difference between its princes and paupers ... they're all in big trouble and need each other to survive.

COVID-19 has turned the game in Australia into a level playing field and exposed its vulnerability across the board.

Without the capacity to actually play the game and enhance their stature, all teams and leagues have become equal in much the same way as an amateur player would be as good as Lionel Messi if neither of them have the ball.

'We're all in this together', we keep hearing as we try to come to terms with the catastrophe that has the potential to send a few organisations to the wall unless play resumes in the not-too-distant future.

No truer words have been spoken in the last few weeks because it has taken one major crisis to deal football at all levels a huge body blow.

Which is why it has become even more important than ever for Australian football's stakeholders to show goodwill and unite in order to kick out the menace of prejudice, jealousy, snobbery, subterfuge and skulduggery that has stifled the game's progress over many years.

The whole of football is in trouble although the game at administrative level is putting on a brave face about the situation that has been forced upon it.

From the professional A-League clubs that stand to lose millions of dollars to the community-based organisations that see football as their raison d'etre and from the high-profile Socceroos that are seeking a fifth straight FIFA World Cup participation to any junior representative team from the suburbs.

Sure enough, the A-League, Socceroos and Matildas are the flag-bearers of the game in Australia and rightly command most of the fans' attention.

But their hold on the supporters' minds and hearts is tenuous to say the least.

COVID-19 has shown that there is no point for aloofness or inferiority complexes in our game because in one fell swoop the virus has cast everybody into the same boat and in need of each other simply to survive.

Many have called for the stakeholders to use this enforced hiatus as a means of giving the game a much-needed reset from top to bottom.

This indeed is a great opportunity for reform but for it to work we have to understand that in this particularly difficult time the 'top' and 'bottom' of our game are on an equal footing and should be treated accordingly.