A truly monster month for Australian soccer has arrived – one that will mark a new era on the field and bring seismic change off it.
The Socceroos will begin life under new boss Graham Arnold.
The Matildas will take on two European powerhouses in preparation for next year’s Women’s World Cup.
Both the A-League and W-League will kick off exciting new seasons.
Two new professional clubs will be born.
And a clearer picture should emerge of who will actually be in charge of the whole shebang – and there’s every chance it could be FIFA.
The sport’s epic October begins on Tuesday with an extraordinary general meeting of Football Federation Australia – by far the least exciting but most important event of the month.
FFA’s 10 members will vote on whether to enact a raft of governance changes supported by FIFA, but vehemently opposed by outgoing chairman Steven Lowy and his board.
If the vote succeeds, it will confirm a major regime change at November’s annual general meeting.
If three members vote against it, the ballot will fail, leaving FIFA with two choices – sack the FFA board and replace it with a normalisation committee, or suspend Australia’s membership altogether.
The latter is the ‘nuclear option’, and it will mean the next few big-ticket items may not happen at all.
On Saturday morning (AEST), the Matildas will take on France, the 2019 World Cup host nation.
Four days later they’ll face Phil Neville’s England at Craven Cottage in London – Australian soccer’s traditional home away from home.
Coach Alen Stajcic will be without some of his most reliable stars against the world’s No.3 and No.4-ranked nations, with the likes of Samantha Kerr, Lydia Williams and Katrina Gorry rested.
However, the game could help surface some potential bolters for the global showpiece tournament.
Five days later, the Socceroos will take centre stage.
Arnold’s first match in charge of the national team will be against Kuwait – the same team he faced at the start of his first tenure as Australia coach 12 years ago.
With the Socceroos due to begin their Asian Cup defence in early January, Arnold has no time to waste.
Then the domestic season begins, with the A-League and W-League campaigns starting six days apart.
And by the end of the month, the identity of the two new clubs who will join an expanded A-League in season 2019-20 will be known.
FFA has set an October 31 deadline to make a call on which two of the eight bidding consortia will be awarded an A-League licence.