A lack of Socceroos World Cup qualification would not result in a financial doomsday announced Football Australia on Tuesday during their Annual General Meeting.
The prospect of the Socceroos not qualifying for the World Cup could once have put Football Australia in a precarious financial position.
However, the rise of the Matildas, a sound fiscal year despite COVID-19 and the evolution of Australian football has left the national association in a stable position regardless of national team qualification outcomes.
Football Australia's Reassuring Financial Position
- Football Australia have registered a $11.8 million dollar surplus for the 2020-21 financial year.
- Financial stability should be assured regardless of whether the Socceroos' qualify for the World Cup.
- The Matildas' commercial rise has fuelled part of the FA's increased financial stability.
The eighteenth Annual General Meeting (AGM) review can be found using this link.
According to the FA, it lost $1.814 million during the 2019-20 fiscal year. At the time, a projected loss of $7.3 million was expected for this fiscal year. However during the AGM the FA announced that it would register a net surplus of $11.8 million for 2020-21.
While $10.2 million of this year's surplus is from the A-Leagues unbundling, the FA is confident of the future financial health of the national association. The organization signed a broadcasting agreement with Channel Ten reportedly worth $100 million earlier this year.
They have also since signed a number of sponsorship agreements including the new naming-rights partner of the Commbank Matildas. The Matildas increased commercial appeal is a large part of the FA's new financial health.
Recent broadcasting record for games, attendance records in the last and upcoming international windows and the Matildas brand are only expected to keep rising as the Australians prepare for the upcoming home-based 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.
Speaking to the media after the annual general meeting on Tuesday, Football Australia chief executive officer James Johnson said:
“We successfully implemented the unbundling of the professional leagues from Football Australia to bring the structure of the professional game into alignment with global best practice and create opportunities for further investment.
"These are but a few examples of how we are taking Australian football into the next chapter of its journey of transformation.
“Australian football is in a vastly different position today than what it was 18 months ago, with noticeable and significant change taking place across the game this year.
“2022 will provide the opportunity to focus our agenda strategic agenda on key initiatives, such as digital transformation and the establishment of more exciting football products, which we believe will enhance our connection to our broad and diverse football community.
“We have set the foundations for positive transformation of Australian football in 2021 and we are optimistic and excited about the future of the game,” he said.
Johnson later added "If we were not to qualify (for the 2022 World Cup), the game will be in a strong financial position, so there’s nothing to worry about.”
Despite this, a men's World Cup qualification would be a massive financial boost though for the FA. $440 million USD worth of prize money is to be distributed to qualified nations depending on how far they go in the competition. The Socceroos received a reported $12 million just for qualifying for the last 2018 FIFA World Cup.
On top of the financial assurances, Johnson also made footballing assurances during the AGM. The prospect of the Socceroos not qualifying for the World Cup was discussed after two draws saw Australia drop to third in Group B and out of an automatic qualification position.
Johnson highlighted the good form the Socceroos exhibited in 2021, one that saw them break a World Cup qualifying record winning streak with eleven consecutive victories. Out of ten matches the Socceroos played this year, they only registered two draws and one loss.
Adding the expectation of being able to be competitive against the next two opponents Vietnam and Oman, whom the Socceroos have both beaten this year, Johnson expressed his confidence of automatic qualification:
“I think we shouldn’t be disheartened. At this point the Socceroos have lost one game in the year 2021.
“I think we’ve got every chance of going through directly.”
The January home game against Vietnam is expected to take place in Australia, as opposed to a neutral venue, and should be announced in the next 7 to 10 days according to Johnson.
The full Socceroos schedule can be found using this link.