Protocols Come Under the Spotlight.

Football is a game for the people, it is all about Fair Play are catchphrases bandied about the world game on a regular basis and picked up by those running the game at lower levels, yet sadly the games administrators in Switzerland have rarely lived up to these ideals in recent times and it would appear their example is beginning to filter down to lower levels of the game. As another cliché states, Perception is everything.

The National Premier League has revealed this to be the very much the case in Western Australia, where simple basic protocols and perceived conflicts of interest have been blatantly ignored.

For a while now there have been certain people who have been concerned with board members of Football West becoming too involved in the day to day running of the game and forgetting that their role as board members is to ensure that the direction they advocate is best for the game is being followed by the CEO, and that the operation is financially responsible and being run properly. It is not their role to be at the coalface and become involved in everyday issues, being so closely involved they lose their independence and objectivity.

It has never been the role of a board member in any organization to try and influence people or stakeholders, their role is to be there purely as a sounding board, to listen and report back on any concerns members may have.

The NPL submission process saw two board members put forward to offer advice to clubs; both of these board members are in a small way associated with clubs in Western Australia, one even being a life member.  This alone made their involvement in the process a perceived conflict of interest, but the rest of the board deemed that it was not.

Now it is understood that these same two people are also be involved in the decision process as to who will be accepted into the NPL. This again raises the question as to how this cannot be a conflict of interest as once they have spoken to one club in the submission process they cannot be involved in the selection process which may involve that club. Now the integrity of each of these individuals is not in question here, as both no doubt have the best interests of the game at heart, but what is questionable are the protocols under which they are operating. Both have willingly agreed we believe to step back from the table when the two clubs with whom they have had an involvement are pitching for their inclusion in the NPL, which is right and honorable. But should they not also excuse themselves when any club they had a conversation with on the NPL is pitching for inclusion as well? Having had contact with a club and as unlikely as it may be, they could be perceived by some as influencing the decision made on that particular club.

Likewise the CEO who spoke with many clubs and actually drew up the much-questioned and lacking in detail application form, should not be involved in anyway with the selection process. Yet he has been.

Not the Footy Show has been advised that concerns were raised with Board members on these issues, yet they deemed there was no conflict of interest. The process will be reviewed by lawyer and Board member Anna Liscia and also former board member and lawyer Joe Claudio, again two respected and honourable individuals, but there will still be some who will claim the process should be voided with the original selection panel having spoken to clubs in the nomination process. Now that objections have been raised prior to the presentations it will not be a case of after the fact, and sour grapes coming from a club who maybe fails to be accepted.

The path to the NPL has not been a smooth one, and now the Board have opened themselves up to further questioning and maybe appeals when the process announces those clubs who were successful; Even though the document stated that the decision made by Football West will be final and not open to appeal. If a club decided to take legal action it could be a cost the game could do without.

The sad thing is this whole situation could so easily have been avoided. Why did the board not give an independent panel of respected football people the criteria on which admission to the NPL would be based and have them interview the clubs and make their recommendations to the Board for final approval?

We have esteemed former Socceroos such as Gary Marrocchi, Shaun Murphy, Stan Lazaridis and Robbie Zabica, to name a few, not currently involved with clubs in the state, whose opinions are respected; Players who came through the state ranks and understand what is important to achieve success. Input from them would have been welcomed and it would have been great to see that knowledge and insight being used constructively.

Hopefully there will be no post decision protests however the process not the individuals concerned may well still cause some questions to be raised

Protocols Come Under the Spotlight.
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4 thoughts on “Protocols Come Under the Spotlight.

  • August 14, 2013 at 1:34 pm
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    There are so many conflicts of interest in and around Football West it isn’t funny. In truth the Manager of Football Operations should have been moved on ages ago, an unenviable job but the current incumbent is not up to the task and simply gets everyone’s back up.

    The CEO, well once again the Board made a big mistake bringing in a guy big on spin but lacking in substance. His CV reads well but he has never stayed anywhere long enough for his work to be judged. The company he worked for with the Commonwealth Games in Delhi – Event Knowledge Services, – which he is proud to say he was involved with, were involved in actions that were deemed ‘questionable’ in the press. Maybe that is why it was felt he would be ideal for football.

    The board in the main should go. There are only a few who are genuinely there for the good of the game and not for their own egos. Yet the clubs who could force them out won’t, because as they showed with the whole NPL process they are weak and easily manipulated. Most of the club presidents in the Premier League should hang their heads in shame. They like the board, they continue to let the game down.

    Football is a basketcase and if I was the government in this state I would not give the game a cent. It doesn’t deserve it. It is worse off now under Football West than it was when each section of the game was run independently. Which proves the grass isn’t always greener on the other side! In fact if Mr Hugg has his way there will be no more grass as he wants all the pitches to be artificial ones!

    (Please note a comment making accusations against the CEO of Football West was edited out of this post. Please refrain from comments which can be personally or professionally offensive). Not The Footy Show.

  • August 10, 2013 at 4:18 pm
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    The F W board has many failings and IMO the interests of the Clubs Players and Supporters comes last down the list of what is needed ..

  • August 10, 2013 at 3:39 pm
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    All White thank you as always for your comment.

    First of all the Football Union was created to give the clubs a united voice as many were to scared to speak out individually, and felt the Standing Committee was not doing its job effectively. It was stated from day one that Gerhard and I would only be there as long as the clubs wanted us to be there.

    The grapevine is correct inasmuch as the Perth President at the time stood up and stated that Perth SC would not be submitting to the NPL. A week later he had advised his committee that all the clubs were submitting. You are also right that pressure was applied to Floreat for whom Gerhard was coaching the under 11’s and I was coaching the goalkeepers. Their President was put in a no-win situation and I feel very sorry for him, and bear no malice whatsoever. It was unfair to place him in that position.

    The clubs have made their decisions and hopefully the CEO will be true to his word when he told them, most of the Premier League clubs would remain in the NPL. Hopefully questions raised on the NPL will be answered before a ball is kicked next year and the fears people had will be allayed.

    As stated this article is not about individuals or hidden agendas as you allude, but it is about doing things properly and avoiding any accusations of perceived conflicts of interest. The board and its members will, as they always do, act in what they believe is the most appropriate way. It just may have been wise to have used independent people, so no perceived conflicts of interest could ever be levelled at them.

  • August 10, 2013 at 3:13 pm
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    What you say is 100% correct the board should have appointed an independent panel to hear the submissions and then the board should have approved those recommendations. However this is a board with an agenda, who cannot see how power hungry their CEO is.

    The clubs had a chance to make a stand but once again they let the game down. The Football Union appeared to be opening the door for dialogue and pulling the clubs together, yet word is the clubs allowed stooges from Floreat to disrupt that. Then the club presidents lacked the backbone to stand up to Football West and all rolled over and submitted to enter the NPL no matter what it costs them in the end.

    Some of these clubs despite their history deserve to die, to send a message to the others that the modern administrator doesn’t care about history and tradition and no one is safe.

    The Standing Committee is still a joke and still works to achieve Football West’s aims not the clubs and the game as a whole. This board should hang its head in shame, it has been manipulated by the CEO and one of its own seeking the Chairman’s role. The game will be the worse off in my opinion for both of them and their time in office. But the blame must lie solely at the feet of the clubs themselves, and from what I hear initially Floreat and Perth and latterly Stirling who probably did the biggest switch of the lot. Sad days for football.

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