SBS presenter offers ‘beautiful game’ challenge to journo

SBS football reporter pens an 'Open Letter to Rebecca Wilson' after articles criticising "the beautiful game."

2014-01-15_0039SBS football reporter Lucy Zelic (pictured), who appears on Thursday FC, has written an ‘Open Letter to Rebecca Wilson’ of News Corp Australia, following articles that have been ‘highly critical of the code for many years’.

Zelic has invited Wilson to attend an A-League game with her, “Just to see if I can convince you to open the curtain that you have drawn on what we football fans like to call the beautiful game.”

On the SBS website, she writes in part:

It’s been frustrating for fans of this code to read what we believe are often ill-informed reports of the state of the game in Australia. It’s my hope that we haven’t now reached a point where we have surpassed your capacity just to have an ‘opinion’ and satisfy editorial demands; that you’re not now simply hell bent on seeing ‘the soccer here on the brink of ruin’. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to have a strict agenda against the round-ball code, and while you claim to rely on expert input with regard to your arguments, I’d like to know who those ‘experts’ are.

After the recent spate of anti-social behaviour between Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers fans, Football Federation Australia sent a clear message to unruly supporters that stunned the code. Both clubs run the risk of being stripped of the most important asset to their season, competition points. It is a punishment which could be the difference between being in the finals series or out of it, and not something that can be suppressed with a cheque book.

That stance was an unprecedented infraction in Australian football, with the blaring statement that we will not condone bad behaviour. As a journalist, I am sure you too would be hard pressed to support the rugby league players who have been repeatedly splashed across the newspapers and TV newscasts for domestic disputes, urinating on patrons in a bar, sexual assaults, drugs … The list is long, as you’re well aware. As a code, rugby league is no stranger to controversy or being accused of bringing the game into disrepute, but on a whole, such incidents certainly do not outweigh the positives.

You can read the rest here.

12 Responses

  1. @MSxr8RHwhtX8…”soccer couldn’t even make the top 20 list for pay tv on Saturday, for an apparent “big match”.”

    I don’t mean to be pedantic but there were 4 Football shows in the top 20 on Saturday night, including the top 3 shows and a game in England that was on at midnight.

  2. I love reading about all this violence and hooliganism that supposedly occurs regularly (or “constantly”) at A-League matches, written by people who clearly don’t attend these matches.

    Every code has occasional issues with crowd behaviour and these should be reported in the media, commensurate with the level and nature of the behaviour. The FFA and respective clubs have acted swiftly and appropriately when problems have arisen and, despite what Pertinax asserts, loss of championship points has been shown to be an effective tool in reducing undesirable behaviour – especially given that Western Sydney currently sit 2nd in the table.

    As for Wilson, she’s been on an apparent crusade against the round ball code for some time now altho’ I’m sure this has nothing to do with her partner or employer. She lost any shred of credibility that she might have had left when she failed to…

  3. I think its a case of the tall poppy syndrome again in Australia. Something becomes bigger or more popular, the next minute someone wants to write the negative about it to stir debate/sell more papers. The real issue about Rebecca Wilson is her reference to Hillsborough disaster which has been proved to have nothing to do with crowd violence. Shame on her and these days she can simply remove it from the original article without any apology.

  4. The problems caused by Bulldog’s fans in the NRL and Serbian and Croatian supporters at the Australian Open got lots of media coverage too.

    Though when your only possible action is collective punishment by deducting points from a club for actions committed by individuals the club has no legal control over, committed hundreds of kms away from any property controlled by the club, you are just sounding desperate.

    Since there is no relegation why would these hooligans care about points being deducted if their team isn’t in contention for the finals?

  5. Why are there no reports of fights between supporters in the car parks at AFL games? Oh that’s right, because the media ignore that. Violence between fans happen at every sport. Just is only reported on in one sport, which is still quite a rare occurrence.

    Going to an A-League game has a much better atmosphere than any other sport in this country, and the main media are worried about their AFL and NRL investments. Easiest way to keep their value up is to trash the opposition.

  6. here comes the code bashing and which sport is ”better”.

    @tihsamikah – I’ve seen flares at many NRL games, mainly at suburban grounds, with no media beat up.at all. With the a-league, its all hysteria about them. Double standards by some journos.

    As for the open letter to Rebeca Wilson, good to see that letter. She ends to pull back a little on the hatred of the game. But ive read on some sports forums over the last week about Wilson, and geez, there’s a lot of haters towards her. In a way, I do feel sorry to Wilson.

  7. @tihsamikah not sure about your use of the word constantly. Yes there has been a handful of cases of issues at A-League games however its by far a constant thing. Plus the A-League have already given life bans for these thugs and also threatened deduction of competition points to the teams if their fans are unruly.

    There has been plenty of issues at Cricket of fans being drunk and ejected, plus also issues in the past in NRL and AFL of abusive violent and racist fans.

    Plus you mention bad Pay TV ratings, well I believe the top rating Foxtel show for 2013 was the Socceroos match with Iraq to qualify for the World Cup and it was the 3rd highest in Foxtel history.

  8. hmm…..

    name another sport in Australia that constantly has people setting off flairs in the stadium?

    name another sport where people where jumping and kicking the stadium seats so badly, that a whole row buckled forward?

    name another sport in Australia that has riots in the streets in full public view, constantly…. to the point where people in the riots are intentionally covering their faces because they are out to do some thug act?

    soccer couldn’t even make the top 20 list for pay tv on Saturday, for an apparent “big match”.

    Cricket… got a lazy 1.6 million in the metro market alone, for a game that goes for around 8 hours…..

    yep… Gallop got that right…. soccer is Australia summer sport alright…..

    as someone who used to play soccer for 5 or 6 years growing up, I will not watch a game, especially the has beens in Australia’s league…..


  9. Lucy, Why give Ms Wilson any air time, she is opinionated just like her brother(who shouts at you ) and her comments about football just shows everyone how biased she is against the game..for goodness sake , how many A League players have bashed, sexually assualted, urinated etc etc…. NRL and AFL have..but that is not an issue with her…Lucy, let he blow it out from you know where, and oh SEN in Melbourne, everytime you have her on the afternoon show, I switch over till she is gone..I don;t like to have one way opinions thrust down my throat

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