It has been a bad day for Football in Western Australia. Perth Glory once again have let their fans, sponsors and the public of Western Australia down, a familiar story since Tony Sage took over the club. No longer is it a club to be proud of, and one to which tickets were in high demand. Sadly sport has a habit of kicking in the teeth those who think they are bigger than the game itself.
The statement put our by the club following the announcement by the Football Federation of Australia that the club will not play finals football in 2015, and that they will be fined the sum of $265,000 for breaches of the salary cap over the past three seasons, raises a bigger question that may never be answered.
The club’s second point in their statement says “All payments to its players, coaches and administration staff are made directly by the Club’s finance department, and recorded in its accounts which are independently audited on an annual basis and submitted to the FFA annually and have been reviewed by the FFA as part of the ongoing process of the past few months.”
When one goes to the club website there is no one listed as in charge of Finances. There is a CEO, a Chief Operating, a Corporate Sales Manager, a Media and Communications Manager, a Sponsorship Manager, a Merchandise Manager, a Marketing Manager, a Corporate Sales Manager, a Community Development Manager and a Memberships, Ticketing & Events General Manager. There is no Finance Manager. Is it therefore any wonder the club finds itself in the mess that it is in?
The club has a “Finance Officer” who reports directly to The Chief Financial Officer at Cape Lambert. Cape Lambert is a stock listed company of which Mr Sage is believed to be the major shareholder and is the Executive Director. Other Directors include CEO of Perth Glory Jason Brewer and Glory Board Member Ross Levin. All three of the Directors of Cape Lambert hold non-executive positions.
So who has carried out the accounts for Perth Glory, Cape Lambert or the Financial Officer who we are lead to believe is not a certified accountant? Even more importantly if it is the latter, which company has audited the accounts and signed off on them as being correct?
For many years Mr Sage has tried to run the club on the cheap, giving jobs to friends and sycophants rather than people qualified to do the relevant jobs. By not having a full time accountant on board seems to be one of the worst cases of mismanagement and it would appear that skimping on such a position has cost him, the club, staff and fans dearly.
If Mr Sage really does care about the game, which he has tried to convince us of since he took over, he would do the decent thing and walk away and let someone who has a passion for football and a real understanding of how clubs are run take over. For those who fear there are no such people out there. There are, the problem is all know how much work needs to be done to restore the brand to a respected one in Perth, and on the sporting landscape in Australia. All refuse to buy the licence from a man who has driven its value through the floor.