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Never a Shaw thing.

Deryck Shaw today announced that he was resigning from the position of President of New Zealand Football (NZF) and as a member of NZF Executive Committee (ExCo). 

Now firstly I must acknowledge that Shaw is a personal friend. I don’t have a lot to do with Deryck but have known him in a social sense since the mid-eighties when I resided in Rotorua. 

People who know him well regard Shaw as a very straight-up person: successful in life but honest with no B.S factor. Business-wise, as a mutual friend described him, “he is not only a great administrator and leader, but also a good guy”.

In my view his work at NZ Football has not been driven by ego, as some may assume. It’s not a “Shaw” thing, it is more about contributing, giving something back. 

He was elected at a special congress in 2014,  elected President in 2015 and re-elected at Congress in 2018 as President and a member of ExCo.

Shaw has spoken to ITBOTN exclusively today. 

——

Tell us what happened Deryck  

I would like to acknowledge that it has been a privilege to lead NZ Football over what has been both a successful but also a challenging period in its 126-year history.

The recent NZF ExCo initiated Review has rightly been the main focus around football, but there were many great people and outcomes being achieved week in and week out in the game.  In particular NZF and federation staff, volunteer coaches and players who deliver the game to a very high professional standard.  I have  immense respect for NZF staff and the work that they do for football and wish management and ExCo well on their work ahead.”

I have resigned to allow football to move forward and my expectations are that ExCo and management will work closely with the football community to implement the Review’s findings.  This decision was my decision as the head of the organisation and it is the right thing to do.

I note that ExCo as a team had accepted full accountability for the findings of the review and that both ExCo and NZF management would work together to oversee its implementation.

In terms of the Review findings under ExCo structure and operation I agree that ExCo had not monitored player welfare and international teams reports which were not elevated to Board environments. However ExCo had undertaken considerable developmental work in terms of:

1. risk management (complete overhaul of the risk management framework and monitoring by Finance Committee, including risk assessment analysis of international teams going into tournaments);

2. health and safety (new reporting systems and monitoring);

3. staff welfare (direction on implementation of independent surveys);

4. a key focus on agreed strategic metrics (eg, player numbers, player satisfaction, coach development, national competitions, international teams performance);

5. governance development (eg, governance workshops, assessment of skills and experience of board members, SportNZ Qualmark accreditation, use of board only time);

6. financial performance through medium term planning and forecasting; and

7. national men’s and women’s league development (reviews and implementation); full policy reviews and updates (eg, including policies and framework around working with children environments).”

So what did you do, following the review? 

Following the review release I wrote to a number of people in the football community expressing my personal commitment to implement the Review findings as this represents a real opportunity to make changes required in football, particularly around culture, diversity, building human resource capability, player welfare and culture, ExCo structure and governance, NZ Football processes and NZ Football relationships with key football stakeholders.  The latter is critical for football and forms a key aspect in what NZF does do and how it conducts its football business.  I had received positive feedback from this personal approach.”

Despite recent media reports seemingly intent on highlighting the fragility of some elements of the national coaching and administration recently, Shaw is quick to point out it has not all been negative. 

I am pleased to see the collaborative collegial approach supported by members and football partners in the recent football summit and I hope that this would be a regular occurrence on the football calendar.  I was also pleased to be part of the first Kate Sheppard Cup, a name synonymous with empowering women. On a similar basis I acknowledge the partnership approach established between NZF, Football Foundation and Friends of Football.”

The review won’t be ignored? 

For the record I note that, while I will not be a member of the governing body I remain committed to assist NZF members and partners on where I can assist football around the findings of the Review.

There has been quite a lot of speculation on other areas I want to clarify as follows:

1. The role of the President and other members of NZF ExCo are unpaid.

2. All ExCo decisions involving previous staff were unanimously agreed.

3. All ExCo decisions had been implemented.

4. I had a key role in reforming Oceania Football around the corruption allegations (as reported in the New York Times).

5. I had stood for the Oceania presidency on the basis of the support from NZF ExCo and if I had been successful in my candidacy for the role, to remove any financial elements around the position, I had agreed to share any salary with the 11 members of the Oceania Board.

6. As well as giving of my professional time as a matter of record I note the tough financial environment for nearly all sports and I have donated approximately $30,000 to NZF and the Football Foundation over the past 4 years.

For the Review there was a lot of cynicism when NZF ExCo developed the terms of reference collaboratively with the PFA,  many said that the report would be a “white wash”, and that we would not release it, nor would we act on it.  

However you will see that ExCo received the report, adopted its recommendations and now is charting a way forward around implementing these.

Over the period of the Review when our CE resigned I had stepped in and ensured that football continued to be delivered until Interim CE Andrew Pragnell was appointed and able to start.  ExCo also set up a series of working groups to ensure that NZF would meet all of its agreed commitments in football which it has done (eg, national premier men’s and women’s leagues, three NZF teams competing in international football tournaments, football awards, Chatham Cup and Kate Sheppard Cup finals etc.).

Things are not all bad? Shaw points out. 

Through this process some of the positive things in football have been lost, such as NZ Football’s on-field performance.  NZ Football is performing at the highest levels in many regards against its two key strategic goals of both having more New Zealanders playing and loving football and our elite teams winning at global pinnacle events.”

I asked Deryck for more details as to how he sees football at playing level, from grassroots up? 

At the community level, football is the most popular team sport in New Zealand, with over 150,000 registered players and well over 30% growth and at a governance level NZ Football are doing well. We became the first major national sporting organisation to receive Sport NZ’s Qualmark qualification for excellence in governance and each of the Federations is now proceeding with the Qualmark accreditation process.

At the management level, NZF has recorded many strong results with 19 of NZF’s 23 KPIs  (or 82%) either achieved or on track for the current year. This compares well, for example, with NZ Rugby which reports achievements levels of 78 to 80% against its KPIs. “

And what about at Elite level? 

The All Whites triumphed in Oceania to win the OFC Nations Cup and play in the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia in 2017 and qualified for the FIFA World Cup Intercontinental Playoff last year, going out in a closely fought battle to number 10 world-ranked team Peru. 

The  Football Ferns qualified for the last (2015) World Cup and continue to be ranked in the top 20 in the world. The country’s most promising young male footballers competing strongly at both the men’s U-17 and U-20 FIFA World Cups, while their female counterparts qualified for their respective World Cups for 2018 after sweeping all before them in Oceania qualifying. In 2018 both NZ men’s youth teams in winning their respective Oceania qualification tournaments, qualify for the U17 and U20 mens FIFA world cup events and the women’s team that was competitive in the recent FIFA W20 World Cup in France. 

Recently, a ground-breaking pay-equity agreement was reached with the PFA, resulting in female and male high-performance footballers being treated equally.”

Going forward? 

In terms of preparing for the future, the groundwork is being laid for the game to continue to flourish and grow with an emphasis on coaching.”

World class players need world class coaching, so I asked, how are we placed at a qualified coach level?  

“In 2018 there are 8 pro licence coaches, 37 A license coaches and 116 B license coaches. 

I must also point out that we have even more players than ever playing overseas and making a living from the game. And in terms of professional players in international competitions, this has risen from, in 2014, having 20 men and 6 women playing to, in 2017, having 49 men and 11 women playing.

And with NZF’s diversity and inclusion strategy in place we are focusing on promoting opportunities for all New Zealanders to enjoy the world game.” 

Clearly football is a complex and extremely difficult sport to run in any country and in a small nation like New Zealand, where resources are meagre, one could argue even more difficult. But Shaw is upbeat in terms of the future. 

There are tremendous opportunities in football in New Zealand as the truly global team game.  The Review and its 22 recommendations alongside the eight priority areas from the recent football summit provide a clear road map of focus areas over the next period.”

Shaw muses over the various areas of potential for New Zealand football.

I’d love to see us host additional FIFA World Cups, an area which NZF has been very active in pursuing. I also see potential for a Kiwi women’s team in the W League and hopefully success eventually in the A league.”

He concludes

 “Lastly I note my thanks to all of those people who contribute as volunteers, players, referees, administrators, technical directors, managers and governors for all of the work that they had done and continue to do in football.”

 ——-

Thanks Deryck and all the best for the future. 

Rod de Lisle. 

 

Categories: All Whites Football Ferns

Rod de Lisle

Waikato based follower of Leicester, Hamilton Wanderers, Allwhites and Phoenix, roughly in that order. Underdogs all. I pen stuff that I feel I'd like to read myself but there's no accounting for taste, eh? Some of my opinions occasionally may be factually correct, sorry about that.

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