Was Perth a last minute thought? Or are the administrators simply not on the ball.
Yesterday “Not the Footy Show” was alerted to the fact that the FFA are holding a Fan Forum meeting at Perth Soccer Club tonight. The FFA themselves had sent out no media advice on the meeting and neither had Football West; although apparently they did send an invite out to all clubs. Something that may have been rather futile in the off season unless you are sure that club secretaries will forward to all their members. Oh and they did send a tweet!
The meeting is to be attended by Damien de Bohun, Head of Hyundai A-League, Emma Highwood, Head of Community Football and Women’s Football and Kyle Patterson Head of Corporate Affairs and Communications. It is hoped that Mr Patterson will not be chairing the meeting this time around as his heavy-handed protectionist approach did not go down well last time in the West. (Should Patterson Apologise)
Football West did put a post up on their website about the Forum on Sunday but stated “for catering and space purposes, registration is vital.” Registrations were to be received by “before 5pm on Monday, October 27.” So obviously they are assuming that people go to the Football West website on a Monday in the off season and will read this and then in 24 hours respond.
Supposedly this meeting is important, as it is Western Australia’s opportunity to share its thoughts on CEO David Gallop’s light-on-facts “State of the Game” address. (A Little Less Conversation a Little More Action)
The list of important issued planned to be discussed include: The cost of football, The governance of football, Grassroots facilities, referees and coaches, The development of elite youth players, What should we be trying to achieve with the national team? What should our competitions look like? How do we grow the supporter base of Australian football?
If these issues are so important – and some definitely are – why are the “Football family” in Western Australia only given 48 hour notice on such a meeting?
The last forum held in the West there was very little listening to issues by the FFA representatives and it appears given the promotion of this event that once again they are only paying lip service to the West.
It would appear that these three senior executives at the FFA who happen to be in Western Australia for the FFA Cup quarter final on Wednesday night have decided to make the trip more justifiable, and opted to throw together a fan forum, following their meetings with Perth Glory and Football West.
Football in Western Australia and those involved in the game deserve more respect than a last minute Forum that few are aware of. Some would go so far as to say that Football West with its invitation letters were actually trying to control those who attend. If hardly anyone goes the Football fraternity in the West will be accused of ‘not caring.’ If they come and air genuine grievances, will the FFA listen or will they once again dismiss us as being the ‘Wild West?’ Let us not forget that following the last forum and the opposition to the NPL, CEO David Gallop advised the Football West board to ‘stare down’ the detractors and ensure it went ahead. The reason being the FFA had already completed the document it was submitting to the Asian Football Confederation stating the NPL was going ahead, and they submitted it prior to two states coming on board.
There has been little evidence so far that Football West (The More Things Change the More they Stay The Same) or the FFA are prepared to listen, and act upon the genuine concerns or recommendation of clubs at semi professional and amateur level or even at A-League level.
Until there is more open communication and more honesty Forums such as these are a waste of time, and are simply the FFA ticking a box to say that they have engaged with the “Football Family.” What has been done about making sure development fees are paid to clubs on time? An issue raised in Melbourne at a fan Forum almost two years ago and in the one in Perth in May 2013. If these meetings are to be successful the FFA needs to take on board the issues and act upon them. The fact that little or no follow up has taken place in a year and the cost to play the game at Junior level has risen to a level that has seen some families walk away from the game would say it is definitely time to listen.
Sadly trust now comes into play. Trust has been eroded due to broken promises and that failure to listen and address concerns, by the FFA and Football West. It will take a great deal more than holding a Fan Forum at the last minute to restore faith in the FFA’s pathway for the game. It is time for transparency and financial figures to be shared. The Football Family deserve to know where monies are being spent, and especially funds given by Government agencies and FIFA. These funds are given for set areas of the game, but rumour is rife that they are being used in other areas of the game, and not being given to those they are intended for.
Hopefully those able to attend at the last minute will report back that there has been a change in attitude; but actions always speak louder than words, and tonight is likely to be the same as similar events before, a lot of head nodding and talk, which will result in little or no change in the future.