April, 2019

It’s time to crunch the numbers as the only measure of success

I’m getting sick of reading that our playing numbers are up again. It’s getting monotonous.
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Up 20 per cent this week and schools programs bursting at the seams. Last week, news that girls’ football has overtaken netball to become No.1.

I’m being facetious, of course, but not entirely without some truth in the statement, because the real question is what are we doing with the numbers?

We’ve always been the biggest. It’s just that now football’s popularity is translating into all sectors of society, across both genders, and all forms of the game.

But scale was never the main issue. Conversion was – turning our giant numbers into a unified machine that builds the game into the largest in the country, commercially.

That means crowds and broadcast revenues.

That is the last piece of the puzzle and one that we have not yet cracked.

Yes, every week there are more people playing football, but we can no longer be proud and pleased only at this. Scale is only of substantial value if we all pull together to build our league to the point where the funds start to trickle down, rather than up.

This is what I don’t understand: why the game hasn’t worked out yet that the vast majority of the ills we face are solved by getting everyone into stadiums, by working together for the common good.

The high cost of football is killing kids and parents. Get into stadiums, support a club, raise the broadcast numbers and a television deal 10 or 20 times that of today will deliver funds to every grassroots club in the country to lower the cost to play.

Lower costs means more talent, more participants, higher memberships in A-League clubs, a virtuous cycle.

I’ve written this several times over the past decade and the sad truth and the great challenge is we haven’t yet cracked it. The exciting part is what could we be if we did?

Many see the lack of big names this season as a major problem, whereas I look at the issue from the opposite viewpoint. When we all get into the stadiums, we’ll be able to afford any marquee in the world and compete with the United States’ Major League Soccer. Instead of expecting A-League clubs to spend more, let’s build the game’s revenues so that they can.

We should have 50,000-plus crowds at every game, feeding higher salaries to the players and more to spend on international marquees. A Del Piero for every club, and more than enough funds to feed many mouths.

Perhaps some incentivisation for grassroots clubs. It wouldn’t be difficult to monitor the number of attendees from any club, academy or school, which could translate to rewards that serve to create mutual benefits at all levels. A pull strategy, rather than push.

Whatever the mechanisms, we need innovative thinking, greater communication and more alignment of goals in the game so that everyone wins by working together.

It is simply not acceptable that at the same time as we announce greater and greater numbers of participants, which now happens on an annual basis, the professional competition is as yet commercially unstable.

Incredible numbers should automatically mean incredible strength.

But only if we all work together, at every level.

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Firebrand academic Camille Paglia slams Taylor Swift for ‘obnoxious Nazi Barbie routine’

Taylor Swift has been labelled a “Nazi Barbie” by cultural critic Camille Paglia. Photo: Penny StephensJewish leader condemns Camille Paglia for calling Taylor Swift a “Nazi Barbie”
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Playing the Hitler card usually destroys the credibility of an argument, yet American cultural critic Camille Paglia has won support for criticising singer Taylor Swift’s “obnoxious Nazi Barbie routine”.

In a scathing essay for The Hollywood Reporter, Paglia invokes Nazism and fascism to criticise Swift’s social media posts about her celebrity friends.

“In our own wide-open modern era of independent careers, girl squads can help women advance if they avoid presenting a silly, regressive public image — as in the tittering, tongues-out mugging of Swift’s bear-hugging posse,” Paglia writes. “Swift herself should retire that obnoxious Nazi Barbie routine of wheeling out friends and celebrities as performance props.”

Comparing someone to Hitler or Nazism usually detracts from an argument, according to Godwin’s Law and its corollaries. But Lizzie Crocker writing in The Daily Beast applauded Paglia for criticism of the 25-year-old Swift.

“The ‘Nazi Barbie routine’ barb aimed at Swift may seem harsh, but Paglia’s shrewd critique is entirely valid,” Crocker writes. “For all of Swift’s talk about girl power, there’s very little feminist substance to the #girlsquad movement on social media.”

A photo of Age of Adaline actress Blake Lively with Swift in Australia was posted last week on Instagram.

Crocker refers to these social media posts as “cutesie, hashtag activism”.

“The image of sisterhood she’s projecting is more popular girl with her posse than genuine female solidarity,” Crocker writes.

However, Swift’s supporters took to social media to defend the singer. Haters gonna hate #CamillePagliapic.twitter南京夜网/7k0a1bBQEN— Kate Young (@Researcher_Kate) December 12, 2015

Glad that #CamillePaglia has found a publication that’s suitable for the intellectual heft of her writing. https://t.co/9KMa3gYGe7— George Colombo (@georgecolombo) December 12, 2015

#CamillePaglia calls Taylor Swift an ‘elitist Nazi barbie’ https://t.co/UbmNEwm6n0pic.twitter南京夜网/oG4eT9pBCO— Melva Miland (@MlvMlnd) December 12, 2015

Proponents of the #girlsquad movement argue it empowers women. But Paglia, a professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, says the practice harms the self-esteem of women who are not rich, famous or attractive enough to belong to the group.

Paglia argues that Swift and other women in the entertainment business should avoid petty rivalries and forge productive friendships based around mentoring, exchanging advice and developing innovative projects.

​”Women need to study the immensely productive dynamic of male bonding in history,” she writes. “With their results-oriented teamwork, men largely have escaped the sexual jealousy, emotionalism and spiteful turf wars that sometimes dog women.”

Paglia also reportedly says that writing about Swift is a “horrific ordeal”.

“[H]er twinkly persona is such a scary flashback to the fascist blondes who ruled the social scene during my youth,” she says.​

Paglia, who has previously criticised Miley Cyrus, is a polarising figure in feminist circles and has frequently been personally attacked for her views on feminism.

Naomi Wolf described Paglia as “the nipple-pierced person’s Phyllis Schlafly who poses as a sexual renegade but is in fact the most dutiful of patriarchal daughters” in a 1992 essay in The New Republic.

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem once invoked the Third Reich in an attack on Paglia: “Her calling herself a feminist is sort of like a Nazi saying they’re not anti-Semitic.”

Paglia reportedly took umbrage at the references to Nazism but invoked the name of another genocidal killer, calling Steinem “the Stalin of feminism”.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Australia v West Indies First Test, day 3Photos

Australia v West Indies First Test, day 3 | Photos Darren Bravo of the West Indies celebrates after reaching his century during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
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Darren Bravo of the West Indies celebrates after reaching his century during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Mitch Marsh of Australia bowls during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

James Pattinson of Australia celebrates dismissing Darren Bravo of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

James Pattinson of Australia celebrates dismissing Darren Bravo of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

James Pattinson of Australia celebrates dismissing Jason Holder of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Mitch Marsh of Australia bowls during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

James Pattinson of Australia celebrates dismissing Jason Holder of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Mitch Marsh of Australia celebrates dismissing Denesh Ramdin of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

James Pattinson of Australia celebrates dismissing Jermaine Blackwood of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

James Pattinson of Australia celebrates dismissing Rajendra Chandrika of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

James Pattinson of Australia celebrates dismissing Jermaine Blackwood of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

James Pattinson of Australia celebrates dismissing Jermaine Blackwood of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Mitch Marsh of Australia celebrates dismissing Denesh Ramdin of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

James Pattinson of Australia celebrates dismissing Jermaine Blackwood of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

James Pattinson of Australia celebrates with team mates after dismissing Jermaine Blackwood of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Mitch Marsh of Australia celebrates dismissing Denesh Ramdin of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

James Pattinson of Australia celebrates dismissing Jermaine Blackwood of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

James Pattinson of Australia celebrates dismissing Jermaine Blackwood of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

James Pattinson of Australia celebrates dismissing Jermaine Blackwood of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

James Pattinson of Australia celebrates dismissing Darren Bravo of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

James Pattinson of Australia celebrates dismissing Jermaine Blackwood of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

James Pattinson of Australia celebrates dismissing Rajendra Chandrika of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

James Pattinson of Australia celebrates dismissing Rajendra Chandrika of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

James Pattinson of Australia celebrates dismissing Rajendra Chandrika of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

James Pattinson of Australia celebrates dismissing Darren Bravo of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Darren Bravo of the West Indies celebrates after reaching his century during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Josh Hazlewood of Australia celebrates dismissing Jerome Taylor of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Kemar Roach of the West Indies walks off the filed after being dismissed by Josh Hazlewood of Australia during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Josh Hazlewood of Australia celebrates taking the wicket of Kemar Roach of the West Indies during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Darren Bravo of the West Indies celebrates with Kemar Roach of the West Indies after reaching his century during day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

TweetFacebook Pictures from day three of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Blundstone Arena on December 12, 2015, in Hobart.

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Anti-racism activists turn violent at Cronulla rally

A rally at Don Lucas Reserve in Cronulla, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Cronulla riots. Photo: James Brickwood A rally at Don Lucas Reserve in Cronulla, to commemorate the Riots. Photo: James Brickwood
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Anti-fascist activists from the Antifa group confronted anti-Islam protesters in Don Lucas Reserve in Cronulla. Photo: James Brickwood

Members of the anti-fascist Antifa group at Cronulla on Saturday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Who are the Antifa group?Comment: Our diversity is an indivisible part of our national identity

People regarded as being anti-Islam protesters have been set upon by members of a large anti-racism crowd numbering in the hundreds that has gathered to mark the 10th anniversary of the Cronulla riots.

The anti-racism protesters – including a vocal minority called Antifa (anti-fascism) dressed in black with black face masks – have been abusing police, using megaphones.

Riot squad police have been forced to corral the anti-racism protesters at the southern end of Cronulla beach.

Certain anti-Islam protesters found themselves in the midst of the Antifa members who proceeded to push and shove them and call them “f—ing fascists”.

One middle-aged woman draped in an Australian flag caught in the crowd was surrounded by 20 to 30 Antifa members who shouted at her to “take that fascist flag off now”.

A man in the crowd yelled “burn that flag and burn that woman”.

There were other chants of “police protect the fascist filth” and “Muslims are welcome, fascists are not.”

Police had made two arrests at the protests by 2pm.

A 58-year-old man from Warilla, south of Wollongong, was arrested for offensive behaviour and a 25-year-old man from Seaforth was arrested for breaching the peace.

A police spokeswoman could not confirm whether the two men were part of the anti-Islam or anti-racism groups.

In a volatile and confusing situation, members of the Antifa crowd were being instructed to “mob up”, running from one side of the park to the other in an apparent effort to confuse police about their intentions.

An Antifa member told Fairfax Media: “I believe we have more to fear from the bosses and the state and the police than from different cultures.

Asked about their confrontational tactics, he said “peaceful confrontation is not going to work with these people. We have tried that in the past. We will not tolerate any fascism in our country.”

Antifa members carried red, black and white flags with the words Antifaschistische Aktion, the name of a German anti-fascist organisation that reportedly has its roots in the German communist party in 1932, was dissolved in 1933 by the Nazis and resurfaced in the 1980s in Europe.

Antifa Australia’s Facebook page has as its most recent post on November 17: “These deranged far-right scum want to damage society and bring everyone down. If the Authorities won’t stop hate speech, the leftist community will now need to implement their own authority via grassroots action.”

Police have provided the anti-racism crowd with free transport at the train station and asked them to leave Cronulla.

At the other end of the beach, a crowd of 120 anti-Islam protesters were outnumbered by members of NSW Police, the Riot Squad and weekend joggers.

“I’m here to celebrate a free Australia and freedom of speech and to celebrate Australian culture with a halal-free barbecue of a pig on a spit,” said Nick Folkes, chairman of the anti-Islam Party for Freedom.

Folkes had announced plans to hold a rally at Cronulla but was blocked by a Federal Court order on Friday. Holding the barbecue was “a compromise”, he said, confirming that he would not be addressing the crowd but that he could talk to the media.

“Everyone in Australia should have the right of assembly,” said Folkes, who claimed that the tyres on his car had been slashed overnight, “no doubt by the useful idiots on the left”.

The meeting was attended by Danny Nalliah and Rosalie Crestani of the Rise Up Australia Party, Kim Vuga of the Love Australia or Leave It Party, and independent Sergio Redegalli, who become known for his “Say No To The Burqa” murals in Newtown.

“I have studied Islam for the five years and I can tell you that it is impossible to reform,” said Redegalli, who arrived early in a ute on the back of which was a large pig on a spit.

Nalliah addressed the crowd before an Australian flag, leading them in a chant of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie”. He then denounced multiculturalism, the media, the United Nations (“United Nonsense”) and the politically correct left.

He also described a trip to Saudi Arabia where he witnessed three beheadings.

He said he wanted to tell all Muslims that “If you are dying in jihad you are not going to get your 72 virgins in heaven but 72 devils who will torture you in hell.”

Some in the crowd voiced regret for the violence of 10 years ago.

Others saw it differently. “What we are here for is to commemorate those riots which came out of Islamic thuggery,” said a 17-year-old Toby, who had travelled from West Ryde. “If today does end like that though, they’re going to need bullets to stop us.”

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Mark Philippoussis believes Nick Kyrgios, Bernard Tomic and Thanasi Kokkinakis ready to grow up

Plenty of baggage: Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis arriving at Canberra airport in July. Photo: Jamila ToderasMark Philippoussis understands the challenges of growing up in the spotlight, but believes he had it better than current Australian stars Nick Kyrgios, Bernard Tomic and Thanasi Kokkinakis.
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“You need to understand the tennis life is a beautiful thing, but it’s also tough, especially these days,” Philippoussis said.

“You’ve got social media. Nothing happens without it literally going worldwide in a second with Instagram and Twitter. It’s not easy. When we were playing, we didn’t have all of that stuff, I couldn’t imagine.

“Nick is a powerful personality. He’s going to learn, he’s young. When someone trips over they need to realise they’ve tripped over, learn from that and grow.

“I’m sure that’s what’s happening. Everyone makes mistakes and there’s not much you can do. You just have to come up stronger, so the next time the same situation comes up you know what decision to make, you’re learning from the last one.

“It’s so easy these days to criticise people. We want the best for these guys, we want them to do well for their country, for their Davis Cup side, for themselves.

“We also need to support them as they do that.”

Philippoussis won his second Davis Cup in 2003, but Australia has not come close since. But the emergence of Kokkinakis, Kyrgios and Tomic has raised hopes of a return to the halcyon days, despite the latter’s reluctance to play in some of the campaigns. The man dubbed the Scud, who will take on Goran Ivanisevic in a Fast-4 encounter at the Apia Sydney international in Sydney, believes all three have the potential to become top-five players.

But to do so, Kyrgios and Tomic must learn from the indiscretions that have affected their tennis.

“When you’re a kid, you just want to be a professional, that’s all you want,” Philippoussis said.

“You want to play in front of the crowds, on centre court, for your country. Davis Cup, lifting the trophy on the Sunday, you dream of that stuff.

“You don’t realise that’s it’s like ‘careful what you wish for’. You’re not ready for the things that come along with it, let’s be honest. You train for hours a day to get to the next level, but you’re not trained to handle certain situations, to handle the expectations. That’s something that happens along the way.

“If someone is to trip, you can’t crucify them as long as they have learnt their lesson.”

A generation ago Philippoussis, along with Lleyton Hewitt, carried the hopes of a success-starved nation. Tomic was the first of the new breed and he is finally beginning to fulfil his undoubted potential as Kyrgios and Kokkinakis compete for the local spotlight.

“Our future is bright considering that a few years ago everyone was freaking out a bit, thinking what’s gone wrong?” Philippoussis said.

“For so long we were spoilt with amazing talent, all of these amazing characters in the game, and we took things for granted. It’s natural that it would take a little time for those next guys to come up and that’s what’s happened.

“These kids are doing their work and it’s starting to pay off now. These guys are incredibly talented. With Nick, Thanasi and Tomic, they are three different personalities, three different games, which is great.

“It’s up to them to see how far they can go. They have the talent to go top 10, top five.

“It’s very important as they grow and get more mature physically and mentally that they take their tennis to another level as well.”

Tomic, despite well-publicised dramas, has begun to do so. The 23-year-old achieved a career-high ranking of 18 in a season that included a night in an American lock-up and yet another stoush with Tennis Australia.

“This is a kid who has been in the spotlight for a long time,” Philippoussis said.

“In my eyes it feels like he’s 27 years old, but he’s still so young, he’s just been around for a long time.

“He’s got a very unique game, a game that troubles guys because nobody plays like him. When you’re practising for someone you can find someone similar, but no one plays like him.

“He’s old school – an inside-out forehand, but then he can come over it.

“I’ve been impressed with his year, he’s been very solid and stepped it up. He’s stronger, he’s more focused, he’s hungry. More importantly, I think Nick and Thanasi are pushing him to get to that next level. Before it was just him, now it’s a case of ‘don’t forget about me, too’.

“They are all pushing and helping each other.”

Philippoussis, part of a Sydney legends field that also includes John McEnroe, has also taken a keen interest in fellow Greek-Australian Kokkinakis. The pair spent time together while on the same International Premier Tennis League team.

“I’ve seen a bit of him this year and he’s improved every month, he’s gotten better and stronger,” said the former world No.8.

“The good thing is he’s got a really good head on his shoulders, he’s got a huge heart and he’s a fighter. He wants it, he wants to work hard. I believe 2016 will be his breakout year.”

With Lleyton Hewitt appointed Davis Cup captain, Australia should have a strong squad for its 2016 campaign. However, success will depend on Tomic and Kyrgios’ desire to be a part of it, with history suggesting their commitment can waver.

“For me, I was a very different personality to Lleyton or Pat [Rafter], I liked doing things differently or on my own,” said the Wimbledon and US Open finalist.

“When tennis was done I wanted to do my own thing, I had my own friends, but when we came together as a team we became strong. We put our different personalities aside because we were on the same mission.

“It’s important for these guys to understand that and feel the same thing. It’s good that guys are different, it makes a stronger team when you bring different things to the table.

“You put everything aside for that week and do what you have to do.” Sponsored: Australian Open tickets available from just $75 at Queen of Tickets

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