The Janus face of diversity in Australian sport
- Publication Type:
- Australian Sport: Antipodean Waves of Change, 2011, 1st, pp. 25 - 39
- Issue Date:
In this essay, Janus is used as a metaphor for examining the nature of cultural diversity in Australian sport. It does so by firstly presenting a historical context for sport in Australia and the relative lack of cultural diversity found in sport. Within a country dominated by the running codes of football and cricket, the position of soccer in Australia was somewhat unique as it became a bastion for many non-Anglo migrant groups. However, in the I 980s and 1990s soccer's lack of organizational success at the slate and national level was negatively ascribed to the tensions between the ethnically affiliated clubs. the same clubs that were ironically the stalwarts driving the growing popularity of the sport. We examine the initiatives used to restructure the game in Australia to make football more appealing to mainstream (i.e. non-ethnically aligned) spectators. The contemporary situation is explored through secondary documentation and the results of a survey of 3,056 spectators undertaken during the first season of the new A-League are presented. The essay concludes with a discussion about the relative success of the restructure in terms of changing the face of Australian soccer.
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