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Socceroos legend Mark Schwarzer has voiced his opinion on the “astronomical” cost to play football at the grassroots level in Australia.

The former goalkeeper, who now finds himself on the other side of the microphone as an expert analyst for Optus Sport, addressed the issue with Football Australia chief executive James Johnson and sports minister Anika Wells following Australia’s loss to France at the World Cup.

“I’m not actually asking this question on behalf of Optus Sport, I’m asking it on behalf of myself as a footballer who played for the national team and Harry (Kewell) can probably vouch for it as well,” he said.

“Growing up as a kid, you didn’t need money to play football, it was there, it was an opportunity to play. In Australia now the cost to play football for the average individual is astronomical.

“I know the government has increased the funding .. I agree it needs to be addressed, seriously addressed, because we need more kids playing football, and sport in general. We are that far behind other codes … that cost next to nothing. I hear it all the time, constant complaints about the cost.

“So to James as well, if there is extra funding, where is it going and will it be going towards cutting the cost for the average individual? And if not why isn’t it? Because it should be.”

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