Football Australia’s bloated budget could be the reason Matildas won’t play in February

Australia’s failure to win the Asian Cup and the resulting $1.4 million prize money could prove more costly than expected.

Many have wondered why the Matildas are not taking part in the Algarve Cup in Portugal, which is in the February international window (February 14-22), but there is a school of thought, it is partly because the FA went over budget. Or maybe the apt phrase is, they didn’t collect the budgeted revenue as expected, like the Asian Cup prize money.

Therefore, money to fund the cost of sending a team and support staff to Portugal may not be available.

While other reasons have been put forward including player recovery, not wanting to lose more games and undermining confidence, the financial factor is a big problem for the FA, who have not been in the best financial position. lately. The breakaway of the now independent A-Leagues did not help.

This news is sure to ring alarm bells among the Australian football community if true. With 18 months until the World Cup, the FA is expected to do everything they can to give our footballers the best possible preparation. Even if it means drawing on their cash reserves.

According to the FA’s 2021 financial report balance sheet, there was $20.7 million in cash in the bank available. According to the profit and loss accounts for 2021, $3.2 million was spent on travel, compared to $7.2 million in 2020. These figures include travel costs for all FA employees and footballers, including including men’s, women’s and youth national teams.

2021 has been heavily impacted by COVID, which means there have been fewer games.

FA lost $5.2 million in cash in 2021, despite a book profit of $11.8 million.

A tournament against the five strong European nations competing in the Algarve Cup would have been an ideal opportunity for Australia to recover from the disappointment of missing out on India. Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Italy and hosts Portugal would have been great opposition for the Matildas, especially the fringe players, to prepare them for the World Cup.

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

It is understood that players and staff travel first or business class, with business class being a minimum requirement under the FA’s current collective bargaining agreement with Professional Footballers Australia, which was a four-year deal signed in 2019.

With several Matilda players based in Europe, this significantly increases travel costs for players when they return home. Australia played friendlies in October and November at home last year, against Brazil and the United States respectively.

The touring group in India for the Asian Cup included 23 players and several support staff.

Players and support staff also stay in at least four-star hotels when meeting. With current COVID protocols and restrictions, there would be additional costs involved.

While no one can blame the players for getting what they’re entitled to, one has to wonder why the FA didn’t take that into account when setting their budget.

At the very least, the budget should have been revised to accommodate another international standard tournament to prepare the Matildas for a once-in-a-lifetime event, even bearing in mind the possibility of them not getting all budgeted revenue.

It must be pointed out that the Socceroos also play a number of games which would have similar costs to the Matildas. The Socceroos participate in the World Cup qualifiers with a number of matches in Asia or neutral countries. The cost would be phenomenal.

Although FA probably won’t comment publicly – most financial questions aren’t answered due to commercial confidentiality – several questions will be asked in the coming months about planning for 2023.

Missing a rare international window, especially against top-flight opponents, is a missed golden opportunity to set the team up for a chance at World Cup glory.

Sports Grp2

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