It should have come as no surprise to many the email received by State League clubs from Football West earlier this week stating, “we received only two nominations for the State League Standing Committee.”
The email from Keith Wood the Chief Operating Officer – who is also on the Women’s Standing committee – went on to say ” We can’t really run a standing committee with only two members, and so we’re asking for nominations from clubs for people to sit on the committee again.”
This is an improvement on the last time around when various members were simply seconded onto the standing committee, and some who were nominated by clubs were ignored.
It comes as no great shock that the clubs have not nominated anyone as there is a complete lack of faith in how the Standing Committees are run.
The Crawford report suggested standing committees. The aim being that they would steer the direction of the game. The idea was to give the clubs and those playing the game a voice, and the ability to be a part of the decision process.
Football West as the game’s administrator was to listen to the demands of the clubs and try and work with them to find outcomes that benefit the game as a whole. Sadly some at Football West fail to accept that role, and seek to ignore or force the Standing Committees into decisions that are not in the best interests of the game.
In the main many of those – not all – who have sat on the Standing Committees have failed the game as a whole. They have been unaware of FIFA regulations or even Football West constitutional issues and have therefore allowed things to happen that should never have.
For example the Constitution has not been amended for the introduction of the NPL, and the competition has been running for two years. Now there is a NPL Standing Committee. The constitution states that “In addition to the Standing Committees referred to in article 3.7(a), the Directors may, with the consent of FFA, establish any other Standing Committee they think fit.” We can only assume that the FFA consented as we now have an NPL Standing Committee. However the Constitution should be amended to recognise the NPL Standing Committee as an official body. Especially if it is to be the Premier competition in the State.
NTFS was advised that each club in the NPL has a representative on the NPL Standing Committee, yet when asked whether they had been formally submitted as per the bylaws, (see below) this representative stated as far as they knew they simply attend the meetings.
- 12.4 A National Premier Leagues Club may appoint only one candidate at a time for membership of the WA National Premier Leagues Standing Committee. An appointment must be:
- a) in writing; and
- b) be lodged at the Registered Office at the time and date specified in the notice calling for appointments.
Sadly the State League Standing Committee has failed to keep minutes of its meetings, and the word is so have many of the other Standing Committees. The whole idea of these structures was so that there was honesty and transparency in the game, and information was passed on to all clubs. Does that happen? The reason there is a Chairperson on these committees is to make sure that minutes are produced and circulated to all clubs. This has not happened and the Chair should be held accountable, yet somehow the same people continue to Chair these committees. Who is to blame? One has to say the clubs for not voting them off. Yet when pressure has been applied in some instances the person trying to ensure good governance is the one removed. As the game’s administrator why does Football West not ensure that these practices are carried out? The answer is simple it is not in their interests. If the Standing Committees function as intended then they would be steered in directions that they may not want to go. The Standing Committees hold the power if run properly.
Regrettably as has been the case in football for many years there are individuals who are happy to go with the flow in return for free tickets to various functions, and free food and drink. Do they declare these perks to the Standing Committees they are representing? These should be on the record.
The standing Committees need to ask the hard questions. IF they have the power to elect the Board why do they not question more than they do? Questions need to be asked such as where the money came from to fund the W-League team. Football West did a great job and the team did superbly well which was great to see and good for the game, yet what did it cost and where did the money come from? There is nothing in the Financial report to show what this cost. Yet one would have thought it would have been one of the major costs to the organisation and worthy of a breakdown in such a report. Other W-League franchises claim the wages played by Perth were some of the highest in the country. Again surely the clubs who pay money to Football West deserve to be advised of the costs? One would assume that most of the travel and accommodation costs listed would be to do with this side, and the players may be regarded as staff, yet surely the Football Family should be advised of the cost.
While looking at the Financial Report surely the Standing Committees should be concerned about the fact that in a World Cup year, when traditionally in every Football playing country in the world registrations go up, in WA they went down. Why was this?
Also as costs rise to run their clubs are questions being asked in regards to sponsorship? In 2014 the funds raised for sponsorship decreased on 2013, this is despite having a staff member whose job it is to source sponsorship. In 2013 the sponsorship revenue amounted to $581,267 yet in 2014 with the NPL starting up and being a World Cup year the figure dropped to $558,276, Healthway paying $343,300; almost a $23,000 drop.
Of the income of $5,448,118 generated by Football West in 2014, $3,948,463 was generated by those playing the game in registration fees, development fees, referees fees and the cost to register a team. That is a whopping 72% of the revenue generated coming from the clubs and players in Western Australia.That is why the Crawford Report advocated having Standing Committees.
Yet sadly good people have walked away from the game, and now you cannot find people prepared to put themselves forward for such committees. Who can blame them when their voices are not heard and there is no proper process in place. Sadly it means that the administrator will be allowed to do what they think is best for the game, rather than the clubs, and they will not be held to account when they fail to adhere to their own rules or FIFAs.
In his email Mr Wood writes: “If you or anybody else in your club would like to join the committee, could you please reply by return email. If you haven’t been on any of our standing committees previously, a short bio (one or two paragraphs) would be appreciated.”
Although well intentioned, once again this would appear to be in breach of Football West’s own By-laws. Nowhere does it state that after the nomination period has closed can clubs put forward other candidates, in fact it states that the Board can appoint people to the standing committee or fill the void themselves (see below). Nowhere does it say Football West employees can appoint people. This is obviously to ensure that the game’s administrators do not “stack” the Standing Committee with people who will push issues on their agenda. No doubt there will be many who will not agree with this process either.
- 14.2 Casual vacancy or other shortfall in membersA casual vacancy will be filled by the Directors. However, in filling a casual vacancy, the Directors are to have regard to the results of the most recent election. A person appointed under this paragraph holds office until the end of the term of the person in whose place they were appointed. In addition, the Directors may appoint persons to be Standing Committee members in either of the following situations:
- a) after an election of a Standing Committee, if the number of candidates for election to a Standing Committee was less than the minimum required number of members for that Standing Committee; or
- b) at any time, if the Standing Committee had less than the maximum number of members. In the case of such appointments, the Directors may appoint any number of members they deem appropriate, provided that the Standing Committee does not as a result have greater than the maximum number of members permitted by the By-laws. All persons appointed to fill a shortfall of members holds office as if they were elected at the immediately preceding election of Standing Committee members.
In truth the Board should be looking at the reasons why no one is putting forward nominations, and striving to ensure that the Standing Committees are run properly and do what they were intended to do, serve the clubs and the players, and take the game in a direction that is good for all, not just the chosen few.