Gallop: Football will surpass AFL, rugby

The chief of the beautiful game's governing body is predicting big things for the sport ahead of the next anticipated bumper broadcast rights deal
Football will soon overtake AFL and rugby league to become Australia's favourite sport, according to Football Federation Australia chief David Gallop.

Rising A-League television ratings means FFA aims to more than double its $40 million-a-year TV revenues when the next broadcast deal is struck, potentially boosting rights fees as high as $100 million per year.

That has Gallop convinced the round-ball game will inevitably become more popular than its rival football codes as well as cricket.

"We are the sport that is available to everyone. Yes, other sports are too but there is something about football," Gallop told radio station 3AW.

"Toddlers are now playing the game as well as over 45-year-olds.

"Also with 20 percent of players now female, it is now available to everyone which no other sport can match.

While AFL is by far the most attended sport, statistically cricket is considered the most popular because it is followed in every state.  

About a third of Australia's 13 million sports fans are estimated to follow cricket, with tennis close behind (29 percent).

"Cricket is national but it doesn't have the diversity that football has. Cricket is far more a male sport with a few females playing," Gallop said.

"But it is football that has got the huge growth in female participation."

When asked to clarify if Gallop meant most watched or most played, he said: "I think a bit of both.

"We are a long way off beating the crowds in other sports but I do believe it will happen. It is a fact as the world gets smaller, football gets bigger."

"It's not going to happen tomorrow but it will happen.

"By the year 2020, there will be 400,000,000 people playing football in Asia and we're going to be part of it."

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