FFA and A-League clubs at loggerheads over board elections

Football Federation Australia (FFA) has confirmed the nomination of four candidates who will run unopposed for the election of directors in a move slammed as undemocratic.  

With just four vacancies, the process has been criticised by A-League clubs as a rubberstamp for the FFA’s handpicked candidates who go before the AGM in November.

It all sets up nicely for Frank Lowy's son, Stephen, who is ready to step into his father's shoes when the FFA Chairman and ageing titan of the game bows out.

The new directors will replace Lowy, outgoing Deputy Chairman Brian Schwartz Phill Wolanski and the recently resigned Peter Tredinnick. 

A-League clubs failed to install former Sydney Olympics CEO Mal Hemmerling as a candidate.

Earlier in the week Adelaide United chairman Greg Griffin spoke out after the nine state bodies refused to second the A-League-backed Hemmerling.

Griffin told the Daily Telegraph: “The clubs have put forward a high calibre candidate that we are asking be given the right to stand.

“Once it became clear that the outgoing FFA board wished to impose its candidates without election, it became beholden on all parties to defend the FFA constitution by finding nationally representative candidates that could at the very least ensure adherence to proper democratic process and good governance.

“The states’ reaction to our candidate is a sad testament to a broken process.”

The four unopposed candidates are: Steven Lowy, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Westfield Corporation; Daniel Moulis, a former Socceroo and principal of Moulis Legal, Crispin Murray, Head of Equity Strategies, BT Investment Management, and Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, Group Executive for Institutional Banking and Markets at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Under the FFA Constitution, to stand for election candidates must be nominated by two proposers and a third seconder.  Each of the nine State and Territory Members of FFA acted in the capacity of proposer and/or seconder across one or more of the four nominations.

The nominations followed the conclusion of a selection process conducted by the FFA Nominations Committee that started in September 2013.

The process resulted in six candidates being recommended as directors in two phases.   In the first phase two were appointed to fill vacancies in 2014 – Melbourne lawyer Chris Nikou and the Chief Financial Officer of Caltex, Simon Hepworth, both of whom went through the review process.

The second phase of the process concluded with the four current candidates being unanimously recommended by the Nominations Committee.

Chairman of the Nominations Committee, Brian Schwartz, said that the committee’s recommendations took into account the experience and qualifications of each individual as well as the extent to which these would complement the skills of other candidates and existing board members.

“The Committee’s charter was to identify candidates that would result in a board with a blend of corporate experience in strategy, governance, finance, marketing and new technology combined with football experience and international business at the highest levels,” Schwartz said.