Reaction to the @FFA news conference on the @aleague active supporters PR issue


This morning in Mumbrella I wrote about the PR rumpus involving Football Federation Australia (FFA) and its active supporters, most of whom will boycott this round’s matches. In my piece I said (1) the FFA waited too long to stridently respond to the original claims in the Sunday Telegraph; (2) the Chairman needs to come out and speak (after a ten day silence) and (3) they need to have lots of personal engagement with “key stakeholders” to get a way forward and clarity on acceptable fan behaviour, sanctions and appeals.

This afternoon, (1) they admitted they got their media strategy wrong and waited too long; (2) the Chairman led a news conference and made numerous other concessions of error on their part and,  (3) set out a plan to meet with key stakeholders of the game. You’re welcome.

The new Chairman, Steven Lowy, defended the overall fan base, distanced football for those barred and said the appeals process for the barred would be reviewed. The review is due to be considered by the next FFA Board Meeting in February.

What the FFA did today (Thursday, 3 December 2014) should have been done ten days ago (on Monday 23 November), the day after the Sunday Telegraph went to print. Certainly, the chairman and CEO, David Gallop, were in India and remote administration is difficult at the best of times. That said, a strongly worded print and video statement or telephone conference call could have averted the drama of the last week and the subsequent multi-lateral medium term damage.

Everything that was said today was what needed to be said. I don’t think, however, this issue can wait until February for resolution. People will accept that it is the Christmas and New Year period but surely a special board meeting could be called for mid-January to consider the review. The timetable should be at the stakeholders pleasure and not the board’s pleasure.

So, today in an issues management sense, the issue has bottomed out, it will bump along the floor for a few days; nine of the ten supporter groups will boycott this weekend’s matches and, the ascent will commence next week.

And then something else will happen. That’s the beautiful game.

You can watch the full news conference and excerpts here.


FFA summary


Original Mumbrella article


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