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Tim Cahill had a point.
He said that one of the reasons he wasn’t interested in the A-League at this juncture was that he was concerned that there was insufficient ‘vision’ around the competition and the development of the game, and that the clubs and competition had not made the most of the marquees they have had, such as Alessandro del Piero.
Talking to the Daily Telegraph Tim also said: “There’s no shadow of a doubt that I think about it (playing in the A-League), it’s where I was born and I’ve never closed the door on the A-League.”
PFA interim Chairman, Craig Foster, made it clear he thought it was perfectly appropriate for someone of Tim’s stature and experience to challenge those who run the game.
A mature response from FFA would have said something along the lines of:
“We’re disappointed Tim feels that way. We don’t agree with what he says, and we’d point him to our Whole of Football Development Plan with stretch targets to 2020. Everything we do is ‘slow and steady’ towards achieving that plan within available resources. Next time Tim is in Australia, we’d like to brief him on it so he knows exactly what we’re doing. The door is always open for him to talk to us and, of course, play in the A-League. There is no doubt that his legions of fans would love to see him week-in, week-out on home soil.”
Instead, the CEO decides to go on the attack essentially saying that he had personally been in touch with Tim, and Tim wasn’t returning to Australia because he wanted too much money.
What would you do?
Tim decided to speak directly to his fans, categorically denying Gallop’s version of events in a deconstruction of the contact between them. Read it here for yourself. Tim also makes the point that, even if he ad agreed terms with a club the next day, he couldn’t play in the A-League this season because the transfer window is shut.
In that regard, Tim should be hopping-mad with Shanghai Shenhua who decided to terminate his contract after the transfer window, thus limiting his options. Instead, Australia’s favourite and most enduring Socceroo is hopping-mad with his own governing body who have publicly pointed the finger and effectively called him ‘greedy’ – and they have no-one but themselves to blame.
Tim Cahill is entitled to an opinion on the state of the game. Tim Cahill is entitled to make decisions about his playing future in his own time and on the basis of what suits him, his family and their future. He is under no obligation to ‘give back’ anything, and he is under no obligation to play in the A-League. He is under an obligation to respect the transfer deadline regulations. The fact that he wrapped his response within a framework of what he understands about the game’s aspirations and vision, should have been seen as an opportunity for FFA to welcome input from Australia’s most senior Socceroo, not an opportunity to enter a public spat and disparage him.
But then it’s not the first time they’ve done that, is it?