Craig Foster dramatically withdrew from the FFA Board election on Friday evening because he says it became “clear that I do not have the necessary stakeholder support in my candidacy for the Board and as Chairman of FFA.”

But while he may not have won the support of the 29 stakeholders, a poll conducted by the Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC) showed that he had a 90.2% approval rating. 

The 28 people who get to vote for the four Board positions are drawn from the nine Australian A-League clubs, the nine member federations of FFA, the PFA and the known nine members of the Women's Council who, with one exception, are drawn from the same groups. AAFC's poll received 2,316 unique responses and was available via their website from the day after the historic forum of Board candidates held in Melbourne on Monday.

Respondents to the poll were asked two questions. 

Question 1: Based on what you heard and learned from the Forum, and elsewhere, which four candidates would you vote for?

The first question asked respondents to choose the four candidates they would vote for to join the Board (with respondents able to choose a minimum of one person and a maximum of four). 

The top three after Foster with his 90.2% approval rating were:

  • former Soccer Australia Chairman and Crosby Textor Managing Director, Remo Nogarotto with 61.1% approval rating
  • former longtime football administrator, Heather Reid with 52.8%, and
  • former World Cup, Asian Cup, A-League and NSL referee, Mark Shield with 45.1%.

Of the so-called ‘non-football’ candidates, PwC Managing Partner, Joseph Carrozzi, and former Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, were the most popular choices with 27.5% voting for them.

The man tipped to be most likely to be the new Chairman of FFA, existing Board member Chris Nikou, was supported by only 14.5% of voters. The other existing Board member hoping to be re-elected, Daniel Moulis, fared about the same with 12% support. 

The remaining three candidates attracted less than double digit support: Linda Norquay (8.9%), Morry Bailes (3.6%) and Mark Rendell (2.6%). Norquay gave her (so far) only interview to Vince Rugari yesterday - venturing out of the Murdoch bubble - while Bailes provided a video message at the AAFC forum.  

The most popular combination of four candidates was Foster, Nogarotto, Reid and Shield – preferred by 15.5%, followed by Conroy, Foster, Nogarotto and Reid OR Carrozzi, Foster, Nogarotto and Reid (both 6.7%).

Question 2: Who would you like to see as Chairman (of those who have expressed interest)?

Until Foster's withdrawal there were four candidates who had declared an interest in also stepping into 'Lowy shoes' as the next Chairman of FFA: Carozzi, Foster, Nikou and Rendell. That number is now three. Nogarotto had also expressed an interest in being Chairman, but has subsequently withdrawn from consideration for that role both on Twitter and at AAFC's Forum last Monday. 

The Chairman is not elected by the Congress, but the elected Board members, which will be the four elected on Monday as well as the existing two elected Board members, who are also remnants from the Lowy Board of Crispin Murray and Kelly Bayer Rosmarin. 

Once again, Foster was a clear favourite with 82.4% popular support, followed by Carrozzi with 13%, Nikou with 3.1%, and Rendell with 1.6% support, a surprisingly high number considering he has said nothing other that uttered a platitude to reports by Vince Rugari for Fairfax and Tom Smithies/Emma Kemp for News Corp. 

AAFC Chairman, Rabieh Krayem said the AAFC is not endorsing or supporting any particular candidates, but conducted the survey as a means of gauging the opinion of the football community. 

ffa board, #ffavotes

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