It was amusing to read the ‘exclusive’ on the SBS website stating that Tony Sage may have to hand back his A League licence due to health issues. Whereas we would never wish the Perth Glory chairman ill health, it is far more likely that his business pressures are the reason for his withdrawal than any health issues. Then there is the possibility of a court case as a result of the raids made on his other businesses which are not related to the football club, by the Federal Police, the Australian Tax Office and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. (A New Year, A New Owner?)
As stated previously there have been questions raised for the past two to three months as to who is in fact running Perth Glory, and it appeared that it was not Tony Sage. The appointment of Alistair Edwards as coach for three years, the giving away of 10,000 free tickets among many other things caused raised eyebrows. Word from inside the Glory offices was Mr Sage returned from overseas and knew nothing about the ticket giveaway.
The most likely people running the club at the moment are the FFA, The Football Federation of Australia. They have stepped in and helped clubs in the past and did step in for a year and run Perth Glory when Nick Tana stepped aside, but now that they are the owners and the administrators of Western Sydney Wanderers they face a real dilemma. Under FIFA regulations no one owner is allowed to own two football clubs; especially not two competing in the same competition.
It would appear that behind the scenes as more and more Perth Glory staff leave, and we are not talking just about players, that the FFA may well be looking to have their state body run the club. Not The Footy Show hears that discussions are already in place about the two sharing certain roles, for example the youth development. It doesn’t benefit either party to be running programs in opposition. Now we hear that the media and marketing may well see staff shared.
This makes sense, but sadly there are a great deal of issues that are likely to be ice bergs in the waters ahead should this move really gain headway. These are two separate organisations with very different agendas, and there will be many occasions where there will be a conflict of interest working for both and staff will be forced to opt for one organisation over the other in terms of what action to take.
Football West is we believe currently a not for profit organisation, reliant on large sums of government funding. Surely if they move into administering a club such as Perth Glory they put both that funding and that status in jeopardy?
If the FFA through Football West are looking to set Perth Glory up as a community based club, one in which the community have some say as well as ownership and from which the football community will benefit from the club’s success and financial windfalls, then this is a model that would be worth exploring. Perth Glory need to re-engage the community, something they have failed to do during Mr Sage’s ownership.
What ever is going on behind the scenes let us hope that there is some transparency soon. The Perth Glory Fans, the games stakeholders, and everyone involved in the game deserve to know exactly who is pulling the strings and what is planned for the future. Hopefully that announcement will be made once the Grand Final is over, and the winning team has been able to steal as many headlines from the other codes as possible.