NNSWF Future of Football Review – Independent Change Consultant Appointed

January 28th, 2022

Northern NSW Football’s Board of Directors have appointed Sport Business Partners Advisory as the independent change consultants to lead the next stages of the Future of Football Review.

SBP have 20 years’ experience in similar projects at Bowls Australia and Golf NSW. SBP is familiar with the structure of football in northern NSW through their facilitation of Northern NSW Football’s Strategic Plan 2010-2014.

Managing Director Martin Hirons will lead future phases of the review.

Martin’s experience in the strategy and research sector spans more than 32 years. He is a member of Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), The Research Society (TRS), a Fellow of the Australian Marketing Institute and holds a Bachelor of Business and a Master of Business (Marketing) from Monash University.

“The review will seek to embed best-practice modern governance principles across the northern NSW football ecosystem and there are no pre-determined outcomes from this process,” Hirons said.

“This is a listening exercise to understand your vision for the sport and the desired way forward.

“SBP’s recommendations will be informed by what we see and hear through the consultation process, which has been developed to ensure Zones, clubs and all members of the football community are given the opportunity to have their say.

“The Board can accept all, none or some of the recommendations that we put forward.”

NNSWF Chair Helene O’Neill welcomed SBP’s appointment.

“SBP’s appointment brings a wealth of experience and independence to the process,” O’Neill said.

“The Board will receive regular independent updates from Martin and his team as they consult with the game’s valued stakeholders. I strongly encourage everyone to have their say to ensure the Board’s decisions are founded on sound consultation with stakeholders who are charged with the responsibility of delivering participation opportunities in their communities.”

Next steps 

With the NNSWF Board’s appointment of SBP, now is the time for individuals and clubs to give feedback on the limitations of the game’s current governance and administration structures. More importantly, it is time to discuss the structures and tangible support required to drive the game forward.

SBP’s consultation will start with Member Zone Boards in late February and early March. This initial phase of consultation will also include an opportunity for clubs and other stakeholders to complete an online survey. Surveys will be complemented with face to face or Zoom consultation sessions with clubs and standing committees later in March and early April. Registration details will be sent directly to stakeholders in due course and posted on the review landing page. There will be ample opportunities for everyone to have their say to ensure the outcomes are in the best interests of the game and accurately reflect stakeholders’ needs and expectations.

SBP sessions are independent. Northern NSW Football team members will not be present, providing session facilitators the space to objectively record feedback, use findings to write their independent recommendations and present a report to Northern NSW Football’s Board later in 2022.

Feedback from State of Play Roadshow 

Late last year, NNSWF CEO David Eland engaged with a range of stakeholders to outline the review’s terms of reference, stakeholder consultation roadmap, identify limitations of the current structures from Northern NSW Football’s perspective and to answer questions.

Across Member Zones, Standing Committees, volunteers, coaches and referees the common themes of discussion were:

  • Need for “boots on the ground” to support local clubs
  • In principle support for the review’s underlying purpose
  • Strong support in some zones for local administrators and concerns associated with the perceived implications of the review
  • Concerns about the game’s affordability
  • Enhancing access to talented player pathways and examining the impact on community football
  • Questions related to the independence of the review

You can access the presentation here.

Eland thanked the football community for participating in the initial phase of the Future of Football review.

“The underlying purpose of the review is to identify and subsequently address the limitations of the current governance and administration structures to ensure the region’s largest club-based sport has the capacity to tangibly support clubs and other stakeholders to deliver quality football experiences which are affordable for families,” Eland said.

“I acknowledge the breadth of views across the football community and understand we will not always agree. However, Northern NSW Football is committed to consultation and listening to ensure clubs and other stakeholders receive tangible support and the review achieves its purpose.”

More information, questions and feedback

If you have any questions or feedback contact review@northernnswfootball.com.au and a NNSWF team member will respond, or visit the Future of Football Portal.

Key information can be found here including:

  • Football Australia’s XI Principles for the Future of Australian Football
  • Terms of Reference
  • Stakeholder Consultation Roadmap
  • Review FAQs
  • Key review dates
  • Northern NSW Football’s strategic plan
  • Feedback form
*Face-to-face forums may need to be held remotely due to COVID-19 impacts.
Related Topics:
Future of Football review Independent Change Consultant Martin Hirons SBP Sport Business Partners

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