Former Socceroo Robbie Slater has branded a prominent sporting power broker “un-Australian” in connection with his alleged aggressive conduct towards numerous soccer academy coaches on Sydney’s northern beaches in recent years.
It comes as countless soccer academies have popped up across the country over the past decade, much to the frustration of Football Australia.
That development is one reason Socceroos manager Graham Arnold expressed “great concern” about the youth level of the sport in Australia in November last year.
Slater, 58, feels Manly United and Manly Warringah Football Association (MWFA) boss David Mason has abused his power since 2020.
The English Premier League title winner with Blackburn Rovers told Daily Mail Australia that Mason allegedly forced a handful of youth academy coaches to stop advising footballers, either on an individual or team level, as they programs were arranged in direct competition with training sessions run by Manly United or the MWFA.
The coaches reportedly include Patrick Weir, who runs Game Ready Football, and Ryan Doidge, who was previously the face of Dee Why Football Academy.
Robbie Slater has branded a prominent sporting power broker “un-Australian” in connection with his alleged aggressive behavior towards numerous private soccer academy coaches on Sydney’s northern beaches.
Slater (pictured with his wife) has alleged that a number of talented coaches have been ‘pushed’ out of the sport while working in direct competition with established pathways in the Northern Beaches region.
According to Slater, Mason allegedly “ousted” both managers after working closely with local MWFA clubs.
Furthermore, it alleges that it was in direct competition with Manly United, which has long been a pathway for emerging talent at a representative level.
“What he (Mason) is doing is not Australian,” Slater raged.
“They are academy coaches trying to make a living and have been pretty much kicked out of the sport.
It also shouldn’t be up to Manly United managers or local clubs to decide which sports children can play (other than football) or which academies they want to join.
“If they want to play football, cricket, rugby league or whatever they choose, that’s their choice.”
Slater wasn’t done yet, stating that Mason allegedly informed parents who enroll their children in youth academies that they are ‘jeopardizing’ the opportunity to represent Manly United or local MWFA teams that stretch from Avalon to Manly.
Academy games are staged every Sunday, unlike Manly United and MWFA games on Saturdays.
“At the end of the day, it’s the kids who are being punished,” said Slater, who is involved with Peak Football Academy.
“If they want to do extras, good for them, anything that helps them on their football journey.”
When brought up with Slater’s complaints, Mason told Daily Mail Australia that the former Socceroo’s list of allegations was unsubstantiated.
Soccer on Sydney’s North Beaches is the largest grassroots sport in the region, with over 19,000 registered players.
In response, Mason said that many of Slater’s allegations were factually incorrect.
In an email to Daily Mail Australia, Mason described how Manly United and local coaches actively encourage parents to send their children to try their hand at other sports such as futsal.
The same letter goes on to explain that private academies are not registered or sanctioned by Football Australia or Football NSW.
“The ‘private academy’ conundrum has been bubbling for several years and we believe that the situation now has a detrimental effect on the physical and mental well-being of young players and is causing confusion and anxiety among players and parents,” he says. the letter. read
Mason added both Manly United and the MWFA, where he is chief executive of both organisations, and will not apologize for trying to stamp out the growing influence of football academies.
“The academy and additional training environment among soccer talent has evolved rapidly in recent years and the wide variety of opportunities presented to players is out of control and confusing for many families who want the best for their children.” , said.
‘(Manly United), the MWFA board and its member clubs have no problem with parents seeking additional training and support for their child’s development… but (we believe) the creation of academy teams works against of the fundamental principles of the bases. football.’