The upper levels of Australian football at yesterday’s FFA AGM could not be further away from the gritty beer-soaked stands and chip-strewn terraces they try to fill.
Joseph Carrozzi is an accountant/barrister and managing partner of PwC Australia who is now at least minus the rival code distraction of his role as deputy chairman of AFL’s GWS Giants board, which he gave up two hours before yesterday’s AGM began.
However he still remains as almost a professional board member, with additional roles on the boards of Western Sydney University, NSW Institute of Sport, chairman of Centenary Institute for Medical Research Foundation and also chair of Sydney Harbour Federation Trust.
Two members of the previous board are also still lurking - Kelly Bayer Rosmarin who handled the Lowys’ corporate account at the Commonwealth Bank until she left the company in July.
And equities fund manager Crispin Murray. He may well be the nicest and most football knowledgeable guy on the planet but that last sentence includes four words normally only heard in rooms filled with platters of prawn sangers and Aston Martin keyfobs.
Remo Nogarotto is a former chairman of Soccer Australia and a veteran of football politics (and real world politics too, with his previous role as a Liberal Party director and strategist). He’s been vocal in his opinions on Twitter and has at least been in direct contact with fans. On the downside, he was director of football at Newcastle Jets when they signed Mario Jardel – but he says that was all the handiwork of then-owner Con Constantine.
Heather Reid may well be the breath of fresh air we’d all been hoping for after Craig Foster was forced out of contention and former A-League ref Mark Shield was humiliated by not getting a single vote.
To put Shield’s dismissal by the suits in the room into perspective, it means that even the state federations who nominated and seconded him DID NOT VOTE FOR HIM. That is brutal.
Reid through is a worthy flag bearer for grassroots and women’s football, with life experience on the pointy end as a former chief executive of Capital Football. She was nominated by the PFA and if fans were looking for a voice in the FFA boardroom, she may well be the best hope.
Her resounding election to the board with more than 90% of the vote is testament to the respect she’s held in by all sides within the game. She knows many of the key issues that affect fans and players and immediately on election as deputy chair, she identified the long-running family bugbear of registration fees as her first priority.
Three more directors are likely to be appointed to the board in the coming weeks once the existing board identifies areas it needs additional expertise in.
But with Reid as possibly the major exception, the new board does not look a whole lot different from previous boards. There is no-one there likely to disrupt the way things are run, in the way that you know Foster would have done (and which was almost certainly why he was marginalised and effectively forced to withdraw).