It Is a Simple Game – On and Off the Pitch

November 7, 2013 at 11:13 am 8 comments

It is funny that in team sports to be successful you mould different personalities, different skills and instil a common purpose and belief and with hard work and dedication success invariably follows. So why is it off the field of play those same principles do not always apply.

In football the Crawford Report was supposed to welcome a new dawn, but many will tell you that maybe it was only a false dawn. This may be taking things a little to far, as despite many failings in its interpretation there are some definite positives.

Sadly so caught in the euphoria of change were many at the time, that they did not look at what was being put in place in closer detail. So happy were they that the game was finally uniting as one in each state, and that the national body finally looked to have a structure and a long term plan, they took their eyes of the ball as to the structures that were being put in place. Structures that now give them little or no say on how the game is run, the one thing that the Crawford report was supposed to do, give the stakeholders a voice.

There is no doubt that the football community in Western Australia feel that their voices are not being heard. Which proves that the current structure is failing. If the standing committees were truly representative then they would be able to implement or guide the game’s administrators to make the changes required. Sadly these committees have proven that they are no longer representative of the game, as they have failed to ask the questions and seek satisfactory answers for the clubs they are supposed to represent. Les than a month ago one such committee sat there and watched the clubs request be overturned and by all accounts they failed to even put up a fight.

Clubs are afraid to speak out on their own for fear of retribution, the all encompassing accusation being if you have an opinion that differs from the administration, who are meant to be listening to you, is you are ‘bringing the game into disrepute.’ Yet surely their failure to listen to their stakeholders is far more damaging in the long term?

There is a distinct lack of trust within the game. This has stemmed from a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ style of leadership from the game’s administration. When trying to push through the flawed NPL Football West were happy to have small exclusive meetings where only a few were privy to what was discussed. Yet as soon as the clubs look to have similar discussions it is frowned upon, as stated in an email sent out by the CEO Mr Peter Hugg just a few days ago:  “Organising small exclusive meetings and talk of setting up incorporated associations with their own constitution is no way to garner support.”

Mr Hugg continued in the same email to state that he “and officers/Board members of Football West make ourselves available to meet clubs regularly.” This statement brings to mind a quote by US author Dave Barry, “If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings.”

Football West seems to be all about meetings, there are committees and sub committees and the game is lost in a maze of bureaucracy. Frequently information is limited to a select group, as was evident in the aforementioned email when according the recipients visible Mr Hugg only copied in three of his board, and missed out the remaining four other board members.

Football is a simple game all you have to do is manage the personnel that you have at your disposal. The same should be true in its administration. There should not be so much ‘dressing room unrest.’

How often do we hear that a coach has lost the dressing room, meaning the players have lost respect for him and will no longer perform to the best of their ability for the coach. The end result is the coach is replaced. Has the administration of the game lost the ‘players?’ If so do the same rules apply?

Just as the game has evolved and confrontational managers are a thing of the past, so too are administrators who fail to listen to the wishes of their stakeholders. The game is fracturing due to a lack of transparency, and a lack of trust, as well as the feeling that voices with opposing opinions to those of the game’s administration are not being listened to, some are even afraid to speak up.

If a player did not trust his team mates, if he felt his voice was not being heard on equal terms to his team mates or he was in fact too scared to speak up is he going to perform to his best? Is the team going to achieve the success that is their goal?

It really is that simple.

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. All White  |  November 7, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Been saying it for close to a year Mr Hugg needs to go. In his time here he has managed to upset so many people and I have never know the game so disgruntled. He makes Chandler look like a saint!

    The board need to have a good hard look at themselves too. The NPL has been handled so badly. In my opinion they should all go. Liam Twigger has been a huge disappointment, a supposed football man but he has allowed Mr Hugg to continue to intimidate clubs.

    Reply
  • 2. EXZR  |  November 7, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    Yep, time for a change. Not so much a change in personal, but a change in ownership (constitution or otherwise)
    The game belongs to the people …. the grass roots people.
    If some clubs or associations want to head down the all encompassing professional win at all costs path, then let them. Just dont do it off the back of grass roots….especially without their sayso.
    Grass roots and business…two completely different beasts imo

    Reply
  • 3. Stephen  |  November 7, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    Definitely time for a change and if the board will not change the CEO then at the AGM all of those who are moaning need to turn up and make it clear that things must change. But sadly football has a habit of shouting and then suddenly losing its voice. THe board and the CEO know that!

    Hugg has fractured all sections of the game and his leadership will never unite the game. Quite simply the wrong man for the job, he did not have the background and we are paying the price. Whoever takes over will have a really hard job rebuilding faith in Football West. It is time he moved on before he does any more damage. I agree with All White Gary Chandler looks a saint compared to Mr Hugg.

    It would be a great Christmas if he announced he was heading back to Canberra!

    Reply
  • 4. EXZR  |  November 8, 2013 at 5:53 am

    Hello Stephen
    In my opinion, making a change in personal only will not solve this merry go round. If Garry. Luke or Peter were all shown a direction by a standing committees and zone reps we would all be in the same boat. How sound that boat was would depend on all us
    If it began to leak, we would have the power to plug the leak

    Reply
  • 5. Super sub  |  November 8, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    I have not commented for a while but the past few days have forced me to air my thoughts. First of all yes the administration is the same as the team on the park and yes the CEO should go.

    I have read the FootballWA Forum and words like ‘dictator’ and ‘communist regime’ have been mentioned. To me the key issues are firstly Football West are there to serve the game, and administer what the clubs want, and somewhere along the line since the wise man from the East arrived that has all been changed and he thinks he can do what he likes. That was definitely not part of the Crawford report, it was about the stakeholders controlling the game.

    Secondly Mr Hugg loves to bandy around the word communication, yet despite having two people employed in that area they stink at communicating! The reason being that all communication is controlled propaganda. Even dare I say Football360 which word has it is paid for with a grant from Healthway! Hugg even restricts what is said on that show so everything is fluffy and nice and his ego is not harmed. It is all propaganda similar to that used by any dictator.

    I have to say that some of the comments on the Forums make me laugh. People who are so ill informed making ridiculous comments. Check your facts first. Then we have Eamon saying he asks the hard questions, which he may have done, but when Hugg fails to answer that question did he press him on the issue? Give me a break, that is not an interview and if you play it back the only thing to come out of it are contradictions by the CEO from previous statements, but are these picked up on? If you are so impartial walk away from the funding FW give you!

    Then we have others from club world who take the high ground, yet are as guilty as Football West when it comes to factionalising the game. Why did the NPL clubs call a meeting but not invite Perth Glory, Armadale and Cockburn? That shows a very united and transparent operation. Yet this same person was supposedly the driver of the Football Union. HIs club may have lodged their application late, but also they went very quiet as the deadline approached, ponder why that may have been.

    There are a lot of people talking but very few actually doing, and no leadership from either side.

    The reason I keep coming back to your site and listen to the show is you say it how it is. You praise when its due and armed with facts state clearly without emotion why you disagree with issues.

    Football in WA needs Tony Sage to ride off into the Sunset, Peter Hugg to go back over east and the board of Football West to resign on mass, before it starts heading in anything like the direction it should!

    What a mess!

    Reply
    • 6. Struth  |  November 9, 2013 at 9:21 am

      Well Super Sub you make a lot of good points BUT why is it that no one seems to pick up on the fact that the 2012 Annual Report had a Disclaimer by the Auditor RSM Bird Cameron on the TWO pages dealing with EXPENSES ….

      Although this type of opinion is rarely used, the most common examples where disclaimers are issued include audits IS
      where the auditee willfully hides or refuses to provide evidence and information to the auditor in significant areas of the financial statements,
      “icumac” was barred from the Baysie forum for raising this .

      So dig deeper Super sub and get on the starting line up ..

      Reply
  • 7. Not The Footy Show  |  November 8, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Thank you all for your comments. Sorry for being slow to respond but have been busy.

    One has to say that the board went through the process of selecting the CEO and maybe that is why they are standing by their man, rather than the stakeholders; if so that is understandable. However they need to take control and become more hands on and start mending bridges, and fast.

    Supersub, Eamon’s show serves a purpose and he deserves credit for getting it off the ground and keeping it going. Trust me it is a big commitment, especially while he has a full time job.

    I had heard that clubs were excluded from a meeting, and have to say that is disappointing, but confirms the point made in the article that there is a luck of trust.

    EXZR, I have to agree with you that the constitution needs to be changed, I have actually been saying this for a number of years, and spoke to Kevin Campbell and Bob Kucera on this issue. In fact I found today correspondence from the latter advising that it would be changed, the letter is dated February 2011. Has it happened? No. Why? Because all changes have to be approved by the FFA and they do not want to change it, even though in their World Cup bid they promised all state bodies would have uniform constitutions.

    There is currently too much talking and not enough listening followed by more talking and no doing. If that continues the game will continue to go no where.

    Reply
  • 8. EXZR  |  November 8, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    I think where a lot of folk get confused, is that they think our game is a business…one that they can control and play with as they see fit.
    How wrong they are, in fact it is very rude to think this way IMO.
    It is a game played on a park (or indoor). It belongs to the masses, not the big heads.

    Reply

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