David Gallop during his visit to Perth showed that he is far more media friendly than his predecessor Ben Buckley. He also showed that he had done his home work on many issues. He also listened to what people said even if some of the comments caused him to raise his eyebrows. Mr Gallop has only been in the job with the Football Federation of Australia six months and one would not expect him to implement radical changes in such a short period of time, but don’t be surprised if we start to see them in the next six months, and key personnel moving on.
Mr Gallop has a pedigree in sports administration and did an outstanding job at the NRL; a topic he would not discuss during his visit as he said he was focussed on a different code these days. John O’Neill also had a good background in sports administration when he came to the FFA and wisely surrounded himself with people he trusted and knew could do a job. It is expected that Gallop will do the same, something Ben Buckley failed to do and paid the consequences with some very ill advised decisions.
It was pleasing to hear that there will be no A League expansion in the near future as the FFA try to guide all clubs into the black. As Mr Gallop said ” If there is expansion we will go where there are millions not hundreds of thousands.” Which makes good commercial sense. When pushed on how long the FFA would run Western Sydney Wanderers he would not commit, but did say that they did not want to be running the club long term.
Two areas where he could find himself in difficult waters are with the much talked about NPL and the FFA Cup. What was concerning was his comment on the NPL, ‘the sooner we lock it in and see what it can create the more people will be less wary.’ That was not exactly a comment that exuded confidence. It may well have been a bad use of words, ‘see’ as opposed to ‘show,’ but the truth is it would appear that the NPL is no more than a model on paper. The FFA do not definitely know whether it is going to work, and the likelihood of it being a success without them investing in it is far less likely. Something that they must wake up and realise soon.
The FFA cup has been much talked about and as a result there has been no clear direction on how this will work. During the visit to Perth it was said that the A -league teams would enter in the round of 32, yet another staffer from the FFA a few weeks ago stated they would come in at the round of 16. Mr Gallop also admitted that there was no sponsor lined up for a competition he said would be in place next year 2014, and neither had television rights been arranged.
Mr Gallop is a man we advocated for the job, he will however need some time to make his mark, and one crucial thing is he will need is to have key staff around him, that will also take time. Hopefully he will do the same with some of these key changes to the Australian game, as football cannot afford any more mistakes. It is time things were done properly the first time, and the foundations were in place for a long and successful future. That cannot be said of the A-League, so even more reason to make sure that the NPL works properly, and the FFA cup is a success from day one. The last thing we need is to see is teams forfeiting games due to financial constraints or being unable to travel. This is very important in terms of how the game is perceived as well as safeguarding its long term future.