When Football West finally held their AGM for 2016 in March 2017 issues were raised as to whether the Standing Committees and Zone reps were in fact representing the stakeholders. It was hoped that this would be a seminal moment in football in Western Australia, and that as result of much debate things would change.
With pressure being applied on the Football Federation of Australia by the A-League club owners as well as FIFA to expand its congress and become more democratic and inclusive, one would have expected there to have been open dialogue on the issues that will effect the game as a whole.
Have the Standing Committees and Zone reps held a joint meeting to discuss their stand on this issue? Have they canvassed the clubs that they represent as to their feelings?
While other State Associations have been vocal in their views on the matter the representative body in Western Australia, Football West, has been remarkably quiet.
This is no minor issue. FIFA has issued the FFA a harsh warning and have stated that they will disband the FFA board and put in place a normalising committee to temporarily administrate the affairs of Australian football, after several previous deadlines were missed by the FFA.
Once again it appears that the Football Federation of Victoria are leading the way for the game in Australia.
As reported in Sydney Morning Herald last week the impasse between the FFA and FFV was finally broken. It was reported that “the FFV announced they will put their conditional support behind the first phase of a controversial model that could lead to a major restructure of Australian football, including the establishment of a national second tier comprised of existing National Premier League clubs, or new entrants.
Citing a lack of player pathways and connections between professional and grassroots football, the FFV made the late change that comes with several caveats that require the FFA to make major concessions.”
One of these caveats was the remodelling of funding for State Associations and the creation of a working party to establish a National League below the A-League. Do Football West support such a stance? It would be nice to know. If more funding was achieved where do they see the money being invested? Would it go to grassroots, upgrading facilities at grounds, again it would be good to know.
With the State Association putting together a bid for an A-League licence would they be prepared to have that team play in the proposed second tier competition being put forward? Would that be a case of baby-steps towards an A-League licence? Would this benefit football in Western Australia in the long term? Many believe that it would.
One of the key issues is who will have votes at Congress within the FFA. This is a far bigger issue than many probably realise, as prior to the formation of the FFA this was one of the main reasons why the game had struggled to move forward. Too many votes were controlled by key states. This cannot happen again.
The FFA are proposing votes for the nine State Associations and three other votes, two going to the A-League owners and one to the W-League. They had proposed one to the Players representative body the PFA but that is currently not on the table.
The A-League clubs want a minimum of five representative votes. While confusion reigns in relation to the W-League vote as all bar one of the W-League sides is run by A-League clubs. So does that mean that this would be another vote for the A-League club owners?
The only W-League club not associated with an A-League team, is Canberra United, and this team is owned by Capital Football. As one of the State Associations they too already have a vote.
New South Wales in the past was a power broker in terms of votes on the old Soccer Australia board and this was highlighted in the Crawford report. At the time it garnered more votes due to the playing numbers. Crawford felt that this was not in the best interests of the game. Football NSW is one of the State Associations not supporting the FFA in its proposal. Are they hoping to once again obtain a larger say on the way Australian football is run?
These are obviously very sensitive times, but the last thing that Australian football needs is for FIFA to come and temporarily administer the game. So where do the clubs in Western Australia stand on all of this? Where do Football West stand?
Hearing that the Football Federation of Victoria became the eighth vote of ten required by the FFA, and knowing that the A-League owners and Football New South Wales are still not supporting the proposals it would appear that Football West is happy with what has been tabled. Unlike Victoria they have not seen this as an opportunity to obtain a better deal for the state in terms of funding, or to broker a deal that could benefit the game in the West. Or maybe they have, but have simply opted not to tell the stakeholders.
After the article appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald we shared it on our Facebook page and questioned why no comment had been forthcoming as to what Football West or the clubs views were via the Standing Committees, but still silence reigns.
It is disappointing that such openness and communication is lacking on such an important issue, and one that will impact the game for years to come.