The Foster spray Print E-mail
Written by Jim Forrest, Football NSW   
Monday, 29 September 2008 18:13
Football NSW

FNSW President Jim Forrest responds to recent criticism of the organisation by a journalist in the Sun Herald

Most of us believed that with the advent of Frank Lowy and Football Federation Australia we'd be rid of Old Football and its politics of envy, malice and negativity.

Sadly, proponents of the Old Football remain among us. This is apparent in recent, unsubstantiated diatribes by Mr Craig Foster on the official SBS website and Sunday last in the Sun-Herald. Coaching and player development, and what we provide to our membership, attracted Foster's ire, yet he made no attempt to contact either myself, or our CEO, Michael Quarmby, or our High Performance Manager, Paul Bentvelzen to discuss his stories. We need to put the record straight.

The only government funding received by Football NSW is $30,000 from the Department of Sport & Recreation, which goes to help support elite player development program through the NSW Institute of Sport.

Capitation fees to associations range from $3.23 to $12.85 for seniors. Yet the careful financial management of our organisation over recent years means that these fees only amount to 15 per cent of our total income. Instead, the bulk of our funding comes from sponsorship related sources, investments and competitions. Our self-funded player injury and public liability insurance has not been increased for three years, including for 2009.

Football NSW's coaching department's areas of responsibility are coach education, player pathway programs, schools development, state team representation, school holiday camps, specialised coaching clinics, Indigenous and disability programs.

Our grassroots development, for players aged 7-10, is self-funded. The cost per session is $20 for a 90-minute session. This compares with $25-30 per session from independent academy providers. Beyond the 10s, FNSW focuses on elite player development, which is subsidised by FNSW, and on the coaching of coaches at Association level. A Junior development program provides intensive training for boys aged 11-12 and girls aged 11-14 to prepare them for representative selection, then we have the Johnny Warren program which feeds into into the NSW State Teams.

At Association level, in 2007 FNSW introduced an annual formal instructors’ course aimed at updating and educating all current coaches on the latest ideas. All updates are free of charge, conducted by FNSW qualified instructors with invited guests like Heather Garriock and Frank Farina. Junior, Intermediate etc coaching qualification initial courses are governed by FFA charges and not by FNSW.

In 2008 FNSW partnered with Global Ambition Group to provide an interactive webpage to allow coaches, parents, teachers and players to view detailed player development curriculum content. The website focuses on ages 5 to 19, free to visitors. It allows us to communicate directly with head coaches in every club and provides the basis for regular updating. Some 800 clubs in NSW have been given free access to the website for 12 months. Anybody else who wishes to avail to help them the costs is $39 per year. This is great value, given the costs of hosting and downloading the video files and suchlike. As well as their initial investments in developing this site.

From 1997 to 2007 FNSW was the COERVER sub-licensee for Oceania. The first three years ran at a loss. Thereafter there was an operating surplus of about 10 per cent, which was distributed to other, loss making coaching and player development areas. In the end, however, it was not economically viable to maintain this program, and the offering from FNSW was restructured.

In conclusion our coaching schemes have a net budgeted loss of $780,000.

Service to members
Each year, Football NSW looks at major initiatives towards what we can give back to members and the game. In 2008, every grassroots coach was provided, through their Associations, with a Tip Top sponsored DVD for coaching ages 6-12 years. This year we distributed amongst Associations and Senior Clubs $250,000 in vouchers to assist in the offsetting of costs for the purchase of football equipment through the Soccer Wearhouse.

A national weekly TV show, Football Stars of Tomorrow, has been maintained. This highlights and promotes grassroots, coaching, refereeing, Futsal, Premier League and special interest stories. FNSW spends approximately $350,000 per annum on this program, which we believe is fully justified in promoting the code. In 2008, some 1,000,000 viewers watched this program.

As a special sponsorship, McDonalds this year spent, in conjunction with FNSW, some $400,000 to advertise and promote participation in football in NSW. As well as providing 32 scholarships x $500 each to assist the needy.

What we do for our members does not stop there. We are currently planning for up to 14 new grounds in north west Sydney, and are in discussions with developers for a further 20 fields in the south west growth sector.

This year FNSW has invested time and money in meetings with Association coaches to educate people in the new Small Sided Games concept. As with mini-soccer (later called Rooball) some two decades ago, in such a large organisation as ours these roll outs have to be carefully planned. They work best when developed consultatively with our members. That is why FNSW has called a meeting of Associations for 2nd October, to get your advice so the Board can make informed decisions.

Finally, the Sun-Herald report mentions a referee matter. In the past year, FNSW has been working with a program to give up and coming Association referees an opportunity to officiate at the top level of our senior State League. Nevertheless, the responsibility remains with FNSW's senior management to ensure an appropriate level of match official experience on every senior game.

On one occasion, a country referee was appointed to a Premier League championship fixture which our Senior Management did not feel was appropriate for such a high level game. He was replaced by an experienced official from a list of recommended appointees prepared by the Technical and Appointments Committee of the State League Football Referees Association. In the end, FNSW is responsible for appointing the best referees to each level of game, and we make absolutely no apology for ensuring that we get this right on the rare occasion where a mismatch occurs.

A lot more remains to be said about the positive achievements of Football NSW, which you'll get over the next month or so. We've highlighted here responses to the major issues raised in the recent diatribes by Old Football's Mr Craig Foster, simply to counter the entirely negative and uninformed comments recently in the Sun-Herald and on the SBS official website. It's also an opportunity for us to tell you something of what we’re about, which is a positive benefit.

Yours sincerely,
Jim Forrest,
President Football NSW
29 September 2008

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 October 2008 11:04