It started as a commitment to consensus. The parties that formed the Congress Review Working Group that came up with the 'reform lite' version of the FFA Constitution thought at first that they could agree on four candidates to nominate for the FFA Board, just as the previous Chairman had nominated three candidates. After all, who needs elections?

However, after weeks of sitting in a circle holding hands and singing Khumbaya, agreement could not be reached on which four names to put up so it was a bit of a free-for-all in the final 24-48 hours prior to nominations closing last Thursday, 25 October.

The Congress members might not realise it, but that's actually a good thing; competition and choice are the necessary underpinnings of democracy and while we've got a long way to go to make football truly democratic, an election for the FFA Board is something to be welcomed, not rejected.

Having said that, of course, this is football and it's fair to say that some of the 'faceless men' - and that means A-League clubs and member federations - have more in common with the “deals, counter deals and double deals” (to quote me speaking to the European Parliament about FIFA in 2015) way of doing business than most of us would prefer.

Now the focus is getting their men, and at least one woman, elected to join the two remaining Lowy appointees on the FFA Board, Kelly Bayer Rosmarin and Crispin Murray. (It's quite unclear why they would remain when the FFA Board's response to the CRWG report was so decisively rejected, a point I canvassed here). 

The only group that can stand tall throughout this is the PFA. Not only did they announce their nominees (Craig Foster and Heather Reid), they also ensured they were 'football people' and they proved their commitment to gender equity by nominating both a male and female candidate. 

The 12 nominees

Since the twleve nominees to the FFA Board were announced late on Saturday afternoon (and not long before the Sydney Derby) there has been speculation about who nominated whom, and why. There was a 13th nominee - a Federal public servant living in Sydney - but he was rejected by the Nominations Committee. 

The commentary - publicly via social media and privately - is that the list of cleared nominees is distincly underwhelming for a variety of reasons.

  • 2 existing FFA Board members, both appointed under the Lowy regime (Danny Moulis and Chris Nikou).
  • 3 served on the Asian Cup Board, under the chairmanship of Frank Lowy (Joseph Carrozzi, Nikou and Reid).
  • There are only 2 former professional players which is pathetic (Craig Foster and Moulis).
  • There are only 3 women which is also pathetic (Heather Reid, Linda Norquay and Judith Griggs).
  • There are only 5 people who could be categorised as 'football people' (Foster, Moulis, Remo Nogarotto, Reid, former referee Mark Shield), although some are reportedly fans (Stephen Conroy and Linda Norquay) and three with previous experience in football (Morry Bailes, Nikou and Mark Rendell).
  • 1 is the deputy chairman of an AFL club (Carrozzi).
  • The cultural and linguistic diversity is limited - thought admittedly wider than the previous Board.

Some say the nominees to the Board are further evidence of the Lowy influence on football - Carrozzi, Moulis, Nikou, Reid are all alumni of a Lowy Board and would join Rosmarin and Murray. 

Some say it’s a ‘Melbourne Greeks v Sydney Italians’ battle with Nikou and Moulis (who is a Canberra person) on the one side, versus Carrozzi and Nogarotto on the other.

Some say a few of the candidates are in it to confuse the lobbying efforts of possible frontrunners and could drop out before election day on 19 November. 

What do the nominees stand for?

Other than Foster, Nogarotto and Reid, all of whom have runs on the board to one extent or another, who knows?

What is clear is that the AAFC's intervention by way of a community forum in Melbourne on Monday 12 November is both timely and strategic. AAFC's argument is that even though other stakeholders do not have a vote, this election is too important for the broader stakeholder group not to know what the Board candidates stand for and what they would bring to the Board table and, in some cases, football.

To be faciliated by FOX Sports' Simon Hill, and broadcast live on FNR Radio and via webcast, it would be a brave candidate not to be involved.

The football community bought into the so-called reform process because it wanted change. That change wasn't about shifting deckchairs. The football community wants and deserves greater democracy, transparency and accountability - and the candidates who understand this, live it, and show that they understand and champion our game will be candidates people will be prepared to support. 

In the meantime, in the absence of an official announcement, this is what we've been able to piece together from sources about who nominated whom. Just why certain parties would choose to nominate them, why some didn't nominate anyone (for example, most of the A-League clubs), as well as background on the candidates, are matters for another day.

Morry Bailes SAVIC
Joseph Carrozzi MVCWSW
Stephen ConroyACTMVC
Craig FosterPFA Women's CouncilPFA
Judith GriggsSAMCY
Danny MoulisACTTAS
Chris NikouMVCMCY
Remo NogarottoNNSWMCY
Linda NorquayACTMCY
Heather ReidPFAACT
Mark RendellTASACT
Mark ShieldTASACT

Who wants to be chairman?

As part of the nomination process, candidates were required to strike out a sentence if they did not intend also running for chairman of FFA.

The six people who indicated they will be standing for chairman - the individual to be the face and champion of our game - are Carrozzi, Foster, Griggs, Nikou, Nogarotto and Rendell.

Nogarotto has indicated on Twitter that he did not stand for chairman, so his inclusion in that group may require an administrative correction. 

Categories: Analysis | Football Business

ffa board, ffa governance

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