As part of state clubs preparations to meet the requirements of the National Premier League they are being forced to employ a technical director to oversee club development. In many cases clubs have opted to sign contracts with coaches running independent coaching clinics. The people running these clinics having both the skill and the knowledge to run programs for the development of young players on a daily basis. They already know how to set up a structure and in many cases have all of the equipment as well. Therefore this has saved a number of clubs a lot of time in terms of an interview process, and hiring an individual that may not be suited to such a role. It has no doubt also saved them money in terms of purchasing all of the equipment that goes with setting up such a program.
However this has not pleased the powers that be that failed to think this process through before enforcing it. So changes are ahead. The FFA and in some cases the state bodies running the game do not like these independent coaching academies. In fact they wanted all of them to be licensed by the FFA to be allowed to carry out their business. The problem was how could they possibly enforce something after so many academies had been set up? The reason given for wanting to force them to be licensed was not we were told to bring in extra revenue, but to ensure that the coaching done was in line with the FFA’s curriculum.
So is the world famous and proven Coerver method of coaching is expected to change its methods and ideologies to come in line with the national body? In some places there is also a Brazilian school of coaching, which is far less rigid in its coaching methods, are they too are expected to change their ways? This is foolish. Just as at school some pupils prefer some subjects to others some styles of play will suit certain individuals, that should never be stifled for a communist-style of everyone playing exactly the same way. Football, until recently when formations have come to the fore, has always been about freedom of expression, if you take that away you will kill the game.
This is a digression. Those running the game did not envisage the clubs employing coaches from these external academies. Understandably they have grave concerns that these coaches will encourage parents to send their young children to them for extra coaching, and away from the FFA or state body run programs. This is obviously a conflict of interest and inappropriate. Then there is the matter of an academy run by several individuals having those same individuals employed by different clubs, something that is definitely questionable, but not illegal. Had the issue of Technical Directors been given the appropriate amount of thought and discussion these issues may well have been aired and ground rules put in place.
Now it appears the rules are already going to be changed. It is understood that from next season state league clubs who contract a coach from an already established external coaching academy or school, must not allow that individual coach to promote his school or academy or have any branding at the club. It is the individual who is being employed not his company. So any sponsorship agreements in lieu of payment may well be deemed unacceptable, even if they have already been agreed by both parties.
Although this makes sense but this should have all been thought through properly before being implemented. Clubs have every right to turn around now and ask since when does an administration have a power to dictate the terms and conditions of an outside contractor employed by a club? They have complied with the requests made b the game’s administrators and at no time were the caveats put on their agreements with the person they employed. What other rules and restrictions will follow?
As long as a club has contracted a Technical director as required the administrators should be happy. These new restrictions were not in place originally, and are only being introduced because clubs have been clever, and have employed people that are deemed ‘the enemy’ by those running the game. It is for this very reason that the changes suggested for the NPL need to be looked at in detail now. We cannot have rules and requirements put in place one season and when one club finds a way to implement them that is not along the lines envisaged, the next season it is changed again.
There is no need to rush these issues through, but there is a need to think them through and do them properly. These are the foundations for the future, and if that future is built on strong foundations the game will be in a much stronger position long term.