Does Football Deserve More?

The Former CEO of Football West Mr Garry Chandler resigned his position in June 2009 and left the position at the end of that month. Questions were asked at the time why the incumbent board did not plan to advertise for a replacement until November 2009, when surely they could have advertised the position with a start date of January 01 2010 if they were indeed looking at that as a start date. This would have saved them six months wages or in the region of $75,000.

The position was advertised in November, the closing date was 04 December 2009. Yet five months later the position still remains vacant. A position that oversees the whole of the game in Western Australia, Women’s amateurs social, futsal, referees, semi professional, youth and development. Should the stakeholders accept this situation?

The whole idea of the Crawford report was to give the stakeholders in the game a voice, yet this situation probably highlights that there is a less of a voice than there was previously, or if the was a voice it has been lost through shouting and waiting to be heard.

On the 12th of March Football West published a statement on the situation advising that:
“The Board then engaged a consultant to assist it in assessing and shortlisting the applicants. By engaging a consultant the Board ensured that its selection process was in accordance with best practice, professional and accountable. An initial short list of 18 candidates was selected. Each candidate was interviewed by the consultant, who provided the Board with a report and recommendations as to the top candidates to be interviewed.
After reviewing the consultant’s recommendations, the Board conducted interviews with certain candidates in February 2010. Unfortunately the Board’s preferred candidate decided for personal reasons not to take up the offer of employment.”

The statement probably raised more than just eyebrows in the football community and brought into question the management of the game by the board. There are so many questions that need to be answered.

Why was a consultant employed when the governing body was financially strapped for money? The release stated as quoted above that they did so because it “ensured that its selection process was in accordance with best practice, professional and accountable.”

Surely if we had a strong board made up of professionals then there would be no need for such actions, as the stakeholders would have faith in their decisions? What happened to the second or third choice applicants, surely out of the 60 applicants, who were reportedly “extremely impressive and competitive,” there must have been more than one person who fit the bill? Or maybe they are asking for too many boxes to be ticked?

The author of this blog attended the last AGM, and could not believe that so few of the stakeholders attended. We reported that those who had been seconded to the board appeared to finally be taking the game in the direction it needed to go, but we need more people of such a calibre and the others to step aside and allow the right people to take their place.

The Football West board has for too long been the same as the directors of football clubs in the lower leagues of England and many other countries around the globe. Middle of the road businessmen, who may or may not have a love of the game, but who want to be involved in the game to either boost their profile or their ego, but lack the wherewithal to make the club or in this case the game succeed.

Football deserves better but then again the stakeholders must use the voice that they asked for in the Crawford Report to enforce change; as it appears the FFA have no interest in the situation.

The World Cup is just two months away and we have not seen one strategy as to how Football West as a body are going to cope with the increase in interest to the game, the increase in demand for teams and playing venues following the World Cup. Four years ago those in control of the game sat back and watched the participation numbers rise and patted themselves on the back, when it was in fact Gus Hiddink and his squad who made that happen. Four years down the track with no leader in place we are faced with the same scenario. It is an unacceptable position to be in. Yet it explains why the game has never reached its full potential.

If a new CEO is found and takes up the position before the World Cup do not blame them for the opportunities missed as they will have had no time to formulate any strategies that could be implemented in such a short time. Blame those who are overseeing the administration in the interim.

Football in Western Australia needs to rediscover its voice and it needs to ensure that that voice is heard.

Does Football Deserve More?
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