Football West held its annual General Meeting on Thursday last week at Perth Soccer Club and it appears that the current board has the expertise to move the game forward to where it should have been a long time ago.
Although it has traditionally been held at Perth Soccer Club, in future a venue with no ties to any club may be best, and if they manage to find a “Home of Football” as discussed this may not be too far away.
The annual report showed how much running the W League Perth Glory women’s team is costing the body, and one feels that the board needs to turn around and say that they will no longer host live games on television, if they have to be played at ME Bank stadium; Unless the FFA puts their hand in their pocket and assist with the costs. The ABC and the FFA stipulate this venue be used for live games as none of the other grounds have positions for the camera to be high enough to shoot the game.
Luke Martin who has stepped in as Managing Director since the departure of Garry Chandler put together a presentation which reflected an improved professionalism. He also advised that a same day service culture was to be implemented. Where emails and letters will be responded to the day they are received, even if the answer is not yet able to be given.
He also advised that a calendar of events would be published and sent to all, as well as published on the Football West website. This will advise of coaching courses, referees courses, as well as state team’s trials and tournaments and also the trial dates for the NTC intakes, etcetera. This is again a very welcome move in the right direction.
There were a few embarrassing moments where Board members advised that standing committees had received information for feedback, when they hadn’t, and there also appeared to be a difference of opinion on how many applications had been received for the vacant CEO’s role.
Overall it was a very positive meeting. New board member Bob Kucera did tend to dominate the evening, and showed why he went into politics, with his ability to waffle on without actually saying very much. He took 24 mins and thirty five seconds – Yes I timed him – as he did his best Ronnie Corbett impression digressing constantly before finally saying what could have been said in four minutes. He will no doubt be useful for his political contacts, but the Chairman will have to take more control in future meetings or one feels his overpowering personality will usurp the Chairman’s authority.
On a positive front Mr Kucera did say that he has been charged with finding a home for football that will house the hall of fame, a museum as wells as Perth Glory and Football West. He also stated that if people wished to know more they should contact him and not listen to rumours which can be detrimental to the negotiation process.
Rob MacKay, has been charged with ensuring that Life Members of the association from its former days be included once again under the new regime.
Mr Paul Kelly resigned his position on the board after being announced as the CEO of Perth Glory.
Another positive issue to come out of a question from the floor is that the constitution is being reviewed. This is excellent news as the current constitution is flawed and not necessary in the best interests of the clubs and those who play the game in Western Australia. As all of the state constitutions vary, the FFA are going to ensure in the coming months that all are brought in line with each other, so that there is a uniform approach to the governance of football in Australia. One change that will hopefully be adopted is that of board members being elected for only two year terms rather than four. This will be more in line with corporate constitutions. It was fine having a four year term when Football West was set up, but there is no longer this need, however board members should still be allowed to serve two terms, meaning a maximum period of four years, and the terms should be staggered so that there is continuity.
Football historian Mr Richard Kreider also raised an issue from the floor in relation to the re-instatement of a year book for the various levels of the game, as he said that this is an excellent archive reference. This was stopped during Mr Chandler’s tenure, and appeared that the Chairman of the board was loath to re-instate yearbooks unless and all encompassing one could be produced.
There certainly seems to be a far greater professionalism on the board with members being given specific tasks on which to focus their attention, which has to be better for the game as a whole. The current board also wishes to see the structures that were implemented after the Crawford Report to be adhered to and operating as they were intended, in other words the standing committees and Zone Reps being the points of contact and information passed up to the board from them.
It is therefore vital that each section of the game now ensures that they have the correct people representing them on these committees. The fact that two such people left the AGM prior to its conclusion emphasises that point this may not currently be the case.
The only other disappointing aspect was the fact that outside of the standing committees and Football West staff there were only five other attendees, of whom three raised issues.
There are plenty who will complain about the way the game is run, but if you are going to complain, then take a more active part in trying to implement change. Attend the AGM or stand as a Standing Committee or Zone Rep to have your views heard. It appears that finally we have a board worthy of the game, and we should support them as much as possible. Nothing destroys football in Australia more than the game itself, with the constant infighting. Lets us hope that the correct processes can now be adhered to, to avoid such issues in the immediate future.