A year ago after attending the Football West AGM we reported how we felt that those charged with running the game were the right ones to take it to the next level. A year has passed and another AGM is just around the corner (15 December 7pm at The Sheraton) and it is essential that those who genuinely care about the game do their best to attend. Remember that Football West is the governing body for all facets of the game. There are plenty who claim they care and complain, but last year there were only five independent people attending the meeting. (We will be on air but will be trying to attend).
There are three positions up for grabs and some good football people have nominated, Bob Kucera
Bob Figg, Henry Atturo, Rob MacKay and Peter Feely. Rob MacKay is the only current board member up for re-election.
Bob Kucera – who is still referred to incorrectly on the Football West website as ‘the right honorable’ even though he is no longer a member of parliament – has stepped down as he was invited onto the board and hopes to be elected. If elected he is favourite to become Chairman as Kevin Campbell steps aside. Mr. Kucera has worked hard in the past year trying to find a ‘home’ for Football, and we are much closer to this goal at the end of 2010 than we were in 2009. Whether he is successful or not his contribution should be acknowledged.
Should he be the next Chairman? Kevin Campbell was a political appointment when Football West was formed in 2004, but is it time for a change in tack. Surely the game needs as Chairman someone that the stakeholders can relate to, someone they know has a passion about the game, and that they can be sure will promote it at every possible opportunity and be a real ambassador. Mr. Kucera talked at length at last year’s AGM about growing up supporting Cardiff City but is he truly someone those in the game can identify as a football fan?
If he is elected, maybe the game needs to appoint ambassadors who can carry out this role on behalf of the board. We have former Socceroos, former state players and administrators who could help lift the profile of the game if allowed to be part of the set up in such a role, without being on the board.
Another issue that has to be addressed at the AGM is the application of the constitution. Constitutions are legal documents and are set up to ensure that organizations such as Football West are accountable and above all suspicion in all of their dealings. The Constitution and Bylaws are not there to be ignored when it suits. They are there to be adhered to at all times. Sadly the past year this has not been the case.
At last year’s AGM Mr. Paul Kelly announced that he was about to take on the role of CEO at Perth Glory, and stepped away from the table. This position means that he is no longer eligible to sit on the board. The constitution quite clearly stating:
10.4 Eligibility A person who:
(a) is an employee of the Company or of FFA; or
(b) holds any Official Position,
(each a Disqualifying Position) may not stand for or hold office as a Director)
The official response from Football West on this issue is as follows: ‘We have had legal advice and this is not a breach, and similarly we have had it checked with the FFA who confirms the same’
This cannot possibly be the case when the Perth Glory is the highest level of Football in the state and is looking to local talent to fill its playing squad. What makes Mr. Kelly’s position on the board all the more untenable is that according to Football West ‘Mr. Kelly is responsible for the State League portfolio.’ This is a direct conflict of interest.
The Crawford report was supposed to eradicate such ‘bending of the rules’ that took the game down a dismal path in the past. The Standing Committees were implemented to Police such issues and make sure that there are no conflicts of interest, which could be detrimental to the development of the game.
Mr. Kelly may well have given Football West good service in the past, he may well have qualities from which the game may benefit in the future, but the constitution rules that he is ineligible to continue in his current role, and this needs to be addressed now, before his position compromises the game as a whole. Mr. Campbell as Chairman failed to address this in the past year, so it essential that the Standing Committees and the new board address it immediately.
The CEO of Football West, Mr. Peter Hugg is constantly stating publically that the ‘relationship between the Perth Glory and Football West is closer than ever’, which is commendable, but seeing board members on a match day in Perth Glory suits and ties raises the question as to whether the board still has independence and is positioned to be objective on issues relating to the A League club.
This is another reason why it is time that the Constitution is adhered to. All actions relating to the Board of Football West must be for the good of the game, and ensure that the game is always above accusations of impropriety.