The Blame Game

Perth Glory find themselves once more in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. The club having received its second show cause notice from the Football Federation of Australia.

This is no surprise to many. The first show cause notice being issued in December and we covered this in our piece FFA Backed Into A Corner. 

At that time Perth Glory CEO Jason Brewer and coach Kenny Lowe were locked in a room working out the best way to respond, a move that implied the coach was aware that the club’s administration had breached the $2.55million salary cap. At the time he managed to stay focussed on the job and results continued to go the club’s way. A dip in form until Josh Risdon’s winner against Western Sydney Wanderers maybe showed that the off field issues were beginning to take their toll.

Maybe the realisation has dawned on some of the players that if they have indeed been receiving money “under the table” has huge tax implications. Implications that could lead to a spell in prison if the Australian Tax Office feel that they have been deliberately defrauded.

Perth Glory have been asked to respond to allegations on the following issues: Payments outside of the Standard Player Contract, Payments to a player’s family member, Payments of player agents’ fees, Payment of a third party sponsorship, Pre-payment to a player, Payment of travel costs, Accommodation allowances, and Provision of motor vehicles.

Interesting there are at present no mentions of players being paid into overseas bank accounts, which a club insider has alleged has happened. With the Australian Tax Office giving people a moratorium recently to declare earnings overseas that are paid into a foreign bank account one would hope that the players made the relevant declarations. With new communication between a number of countries if this has indeed happened, then these earnings will soon be found.

Looking at the FFA’s questions who is to blame? The players for accepting the payments? The player agents for encouraging the club to make such payments? The CEO? The Owner of the club? Or maybe the FFA for continuing with the salary Cap?

Word is that the CEO Jason Brewer will be the man to fall on his sword and that is to be expected if the club is found guilty of the breaches. It has been reported that owner Tony Sage has distanced himself from this latest scandal. Yet his CEO Jason Brewer said on Not The Footy Show, when we were on air, that he had daily conversations with Tony Sage. That being the case surely he would have advised the owner as to the arrangements that had been negotiated between players and the club?

Of course the FFA’s investigations are not purely into this season. Which brings into question Mr Sage’s choice of CEO’s and the fact that when the club had a purge on staff following the infamous Hatt Report they removed the one man who understood the FFA salary Cap rules. Maybe that was where everything went wrong?

There are many who believe that the Salary Cap is in fact to blame. The reasons for its implementation made perfect sense. The idea being to have all clubs operating on the same level and not extending themselves beyond their means. The trouble is the club have to spend the money. The end result is very average players are being paid more money than their talent warrants. The knock-on affect of that is it pushes up the expectations of other less talented players.

Another example and in Perth Glory’s case advocated by the FFA is that of the Marquee player. The FFA broke its own competition rules to allow the Perth Glory to upgrade captain Michael Thwaite to a Marquee player status; section 7.23 “A Club cannot 1. (a) change the status of a Player on the Player Roster;”  Section 7.18 reads “A Club must apply to FFA for approval of a prospective Marquee Player, Homegrown Player, Guest Player, Replacement Player or Contracted NYL Player using the relevant Prescribed Form before it concludes any contractual negotiations with such prospective Marquee Player,”

Nothing against Michael Thwaite personally but a Marquee player is meant to be a player that helps bring in extra fans through the gate, or is a stand out player clearly a cut above the rest on the park. Very few defenders will pull in extra punters, a few would but the are few and far between, Paolo Maldini is one that immediately comes to mind who would have, John Terry and Gerard Pique are two more. The question is should Michael Thwaite have been approved as a Marquee player? Is he a big enough player even in Australia? He is undoubtedly consistent at this level, but he is not one of the first defenders on the team sheet when Ange Postecoglou is making out his team list for the Socceroos. By allowing Perth Glory to make him a Marquee player have the FFA not exacerbated the situation and pushed up expectations of players and agents and forced clubs to pay more to secure a player?

It may seem unfair to single out Michael Thwaite who has served the club well this season and been consistent week in week out. Another example would be Matt McKay at Brisbane Roar. McKay burst onto the scene with Brisbane Strikers in the NSl and was a key component with the Brisbane Roar when they won back-to-back titles. He then left for Glasgow Rangers at the worst time possible as the Scottish giant was going through its financial troubles and was relegated from the Scottish Premier League. He moved to South Korea and then to China where he struggled for form. His two year contract was terminated after six months by mutual consent. He then came back to Brisbane as a Marquee signing aged 30. Did his career warrant him being a Marquee signing? Does Matt Mckay bring extra fans through the turnstiles? Or was this just reward for a local boy who had served the city so well? There are more players who fall into this category.

So are the FFA partly to blame for approving these Marquee status players, for forcing clubs to use the majority of the salary Cap and pay players more than their career experience and performances may warrant?

Whatever the answer, if Perth Glory are found guilty and indications are that they will be, a new debate will unfold once the punishment is handed down as to who will take the blame on their shoulders. As the supporter of a club who broke the rules in the UK and were punished severely, players will leave, as will administrators, but as is always the case, the fans will remain. They will pick themselves up, dust themselves off and start supporting again, believing quite rightly that they deserve better.

 

The Blame Game

6 thoughts on “The Blame Game

  • April 3, 2015 at 11:14 am
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    Rangers were not relegate from the Scottish Priemer league, they went into administration then liquidation Sevco, trading as Rangers International Football Club applied to take the place of the now dead Rangers Football Club but were denied entry, they subsequently joined the SFL and started in the 3 Division.

  • April 2, 2015 at 3:45 pm
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    Tony Sage needs to exit once and for all and take all his back room yes men with him. The best punishment would be the FFA to revoke his licence. They did it Clive Palmer so why not do it to Sage. He has been a cancer on the Perth sporting landscape and the A-League. Time to cut him out.

  • April 2, 2015 at 3:41 pm
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    Ryan, thanks as always for your comment and always welcome differing opinions.

    Having commentated on the Chinese League the standard is incredibly poor and there are only three to four teams who are really competitive. The only reason players go to China is because the clubs need the transfer fee, so they off load a good player in the A-League. The player too is on good money but such a move is not good for their career, but good for their post career.

    The original aim of the marquee was as stated, but it has now changed. I hear what you are saying that you want these players to play here, but trust me they would not go to a 2nd Division club, -where in the main I believe the standard is better than the A-league – because they would not get close to earning anywhere near what they are currently earning in Australia. Some would not even make it into the teams at that level.

    I do not believe that there should be marquee Australian players at all. I also believe the criteria for overseas marquee players should be much more stringent. These need to be players who still can perform at this level.

    Very valid point re Rukavstya.

    Dwayne, thank you for your comment too.

    The support Tony Sage still has is baffling. As you say maybe it is those who believe that no one would pick up the licence in WA. I know of a couple of interested parties but they will not pay to take it off the current owner. As you and Ryan say he is the common denominator in all the pain. No coach has been given a decent run in the job since he took over and that in itself is destabilising.

    He obviously does not care what the fans think or he would not continue the way he has. However if sponsors started to pull away saying that the association with the Glory brand was damaging to them then maybe we will start to see a different approach.

    Let us hope change is fast in this instant.

  • April 2, 2015 at 2:21 pm
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    Sage still has the backing of a large contingent of fans who buy into his ‘if I don’t own the club it will fold’ bollocks that he trots out every time he gets called to account over his mistakes. This club is heading in one of two directions:
    1) Attendances/members drop off with more and more false dawns and scandals to the point where it is no longer viable to run a club out of Perth (helped by Sage publicly complaining at every opportunity about how little money he makes – salting the earth for any other prospective owners). We go the way of Newcastle Jets, going further and further into the mire as our owner bleeds the club dry.
    2) Sage hands back the license, the club endures another 1-2 years of pain and hardship under FFA ownership until a new owner is found and things start to improve again.

  • April 2, 2015 at 1:31 pm
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    I agree with your overall message about the article but I can not agree with your assessment on what a marquee should be. For clarification, this is referring to the AUSTRALIAN marquee position.

    Saying it should only be there to bring fans through the turnstile is highly subjective metric but is quite limited in scope. Who would this apply to with Aussies playing right now? None of them bar Cahill are in a practical position to be marquees that fit this definition. Guys like Milligan and Spiranovic are Socceroos but I’ve never heard anyone call them the reason for an increase in attendances.

    It is there to get Australians, specifically those that would otherwise be overseas, to clubs that are in Australia. If it means the likes of Thwaite or McKay are here instead of playing in China or fourth division England then I am all for it. One of those guys is in the Socceroos squad and the other is on the outside, I don’t think their caliber should be called into question.

    And the end of the day, it allows 9/10 top Aussie players in the league that may not have been there to begin. I’m all for it.

    Back to Glory, don’t forget the club were trying to get Rukavytsya for more than WSW were paying before any of this marquee musical chairs was happening. Pretty sure Brewer said somewhere that the only way that would have happened is for them to have released a player. No news of that at the time.

    I don’t have any sympathy for Brewer, I think he’s been quite duplicitous from the start but he’s not the guy that hired another CEO from his mining company to run PGFC, so he should not be the only one to fall on his sword. There’s only one person who has been the common denominator in all the problems Glory have had this last 5 seasons:

    Sage.

  • April 2, 2015 at 10:21 am
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    Not sure there will be many fans left if Glory is found guilty.

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