Soccerscene the only online publication dedicated to the Australian and international football industry. It serves as a practical guide for those involved in the business of running a football club and bringing readers up-to-date research and development across all football matters providing insights, discussion and information related to topics that matter.
Football NSW have announced the appointment of Deborah Chapman and Brett Mitchell as new directors to the Football NSW Board.
With an extensive background in finance and organisational strategy, particularly in relation to audit and risk experience, both Chapman and Mitchell will help to develop and advance the member federation’s financial accounting, reporting, and strategy development.
As Chief Financial Officer for NSW Treasury, Chapman holds a wealth of financial and strategy experience, which also spans to previous executive roles at Unilever Australia and PricewaterhouseCoopers. She is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Appointed for a period of two years, Chapman comes from a football family with her husband and daughter both current members of the Football St George Association. Her son is a referee in the St George area and part of the referee development program at Football NSW. Both her daughter and son also previously participated in Football NSW’s State Cup and Champion of Champions competitions.
Joining the Board to fill the casual vacancy in the Elected Director position, Mitchell joins with an abundance of experience in the finance and strategy space.
As a Partner at KPMG for 16 years, Mitchell is the National Partner in Charge of Enterprise – Tax, Transactions & Accounting, a current member of the KPMG Board, Chair of the KPMG Audit Committee, a member of the Ethics and Independence Disciplinary Committee, and is a trusted advisor in providing taxation and accounting services to various private companies and high-wealth individuals.
Mitchell also boasts a long history within the Australian Football family, having played for 26 years at community and state league level, including two National Championship campaigns (1988, 1989). He also holds qualifications in coaching and refereeing and has previously served as the Junior President of Chatswood Football Club.
Football NSW warmly welcomes the addition of these new Directors.
Heather Garriock, the former Matildas midfielder, is the proud holder of 130 Caps for her country and as she looks back at her extensive career in playing, coaching and mentoring, she faces her biggest challenge to date in attempting to make a difference on the Board of Football Australia (FA) which she was appointed to in September, 2021.
After the success of the Women’s World Cup, when the Matildas became the talk of the nation, it would be easy to say that football in Australia had finally arrived on the map.
However, acceptance for the game has never been that simple and despite the impetus generated in women’s participation numbers since the World Cup and some excellent attendances at the A-League Women’s matches this season, the A-League Men’s competition is struggling.
On the football field, Garriock always accepted a challenge and she is determined in her role on the FA Board to make a difference.
In this interview with Roger Sleeman, Heather Garriock discusses her early career in football before she rose to the top, the meaning of being a Matilda, how she contributes to the continuing growth of the women’s game, her involvement on the board of the F.A. and the role of past players.
When was your introduction to football?
My Dad was a Scotsman who played semi-professional football and was a fanatical Hearts supporter.
I started playing as a six year old at Leppington Lions and lived and breathed the game into primary school when I was selected in the NSW Primary Schools squad.
Eventually, I was chosen in the first NSW women’s public school team from 250 triallists.
What was your progression from there?
I attended Westfield Sports High School and also participated in the NSW Institute of Sport from 13-14 years old where I was coached by Connie Selby, 3-4 nights a week.
I was in the state teams and played under Jean-Paul de Marigny who reckoned I had a bad attitude so I left to play in Marconi Reserves.
While at the club, I was privileged to witness the feats of Craig Foster, Andy Harper and Francis Awaritefe.
On leaving school at the end of year 10, I went to the AIS where I was coached by Chris Tansey and in the same year became the top scorer and player of the year at Marconi.
Ultimately, my winning mentality and strength of character was rewarded when I was selected for my first Matildas appearance against China in October, 1999.
Can you describe your early journey with the Matildas?
Early in my experience, we had tough coaches like Chris Tansey and Adrian Santrac but fortunately when Tom Sermanni took over the reins, things changed completely.
Tom was able to get the best out of me and I loved playing for him.
How much has women’s football changed since you first played at a senior level?
I still can’t believe how the women’s game has grown so much, but I am proud to say I was part of the pioneer movement which worked so hard to pave the way for future generations to excel in the sport.
How do you rate the standard of the current Matildas with those playing in your time?
It’s hard to compare eras because we were part timers, unlike so many of the current players who play full-time overseas.
The game is also quicker and players are in some cases playing 50-60 games a year.
However, from my era, players of the quality of Cheryl Salisbury, Di Alagich, Joey Peters, Lisa de Vanna and Julie Murray had that X-factor and would perform in any company.
What is your opinion of the A-League Women’s competition?
While the established Matildas are playing overseas at big clubs which has left a void, our young players are getting the opportunity to compete at the highest level in Australia.
Also, their local experience has been highly beneficial to the Young Matildas who are improving rapidly in international competition and the recent defeat of China was a testimony to this.
Furthermore, as the professionalism of the league improves, so will the quality of players.
After the success of the Women’s World Cup, why hasn’t that success been capitalised on by infiltrating the business world to back the game?
On the contrary, the Matilda’s brand is one of the strongest in Australian sport, superseding the Socceroos.
However, it’s not a competition between the two because we need both to be strong.
You were appointed to the FA Board in September, 2021.
What is your role and what have you achieved in this time period?
In this time, I’ve been involved in improving the lot of the Matildas, e.g. the collective bargaining process which has led to equal pay conditions with the men.
Also, I’m involved with overseeing the technical development, development pathways, junior national teams and focusing on the history of the game.
The success of integrating the former Matildas into the World Cup experience was a great achievement and we’ve had so much feedback about how they felt so accepted during the event.
How do you rate the current FA Board’s ability to turn the future of the game around?
We have a new team with new leadership in Chairman Anter Isaac, who has been in the game for many years and is determined to take the game to a new level.
The game has to be united with a top to bottom approach, with particular emphasis on working with the stakeholders and the member federations.
Why can’t more opportunity be provided to former players from the women’s and men’s game to contribute their expertise, rather than non football people dominating the sport?
This is a fair point to action and we must identify what they can contribute so the game benefits and becomes stronger in all areas.
Recently, we discussed the appointment of talent scouts to scour the country for the very best young players.
Obviously, there are many other areas they can be utilised.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between Football Australia and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) was recently formed for 2023-2027, bolstering the future for the Socceroos and Matildas.
The CBA will put a number of key changes and initiatives in place – namely payments, commercial partnerships, gender equality, work-life balance and life after football.
As a former Matildas captain, PFA Co-Chief Executive Kathryn Gill has been the perfect role model for those rising up through the ranks, and also in her leadership to turn this CBA into reality.
She spoke with Soccerscene to outline the key milestones achieved for the new CBA and what we can look forward to over the four-year duration.
The path towards the 50:50 payments and the key conversations that made it happen:
Kathryn Gill: Women’s football has undergone a global explosion over the past four to five years. When we signed the previous collective bargaining agreement in 2019, the women’s game was threatening to reach new heights, and our gender equal model reflected that trend.
In 2023, we needed the new agreement to reflect this new reality, and most players were comfortable moving away from a centralised contract structure to a meritocratic payment model, mirroring the Socceroos’ match payments.
Players provided direct feedback in player meetings, steering committee meetings, and in the negotiations with FA to share their views.
The outcome was that the players now have a payment model that incentivises performances, creates competitive tension within the team, and is a fit-for-purpose gender-equal payment structure in line with the Socceroos.
There is still work to do to increase player salaries in club football, but we are hopeful that it will continue to grow in line with global trends.
How revenues will benefit the Australian football community with programs for current and former players:
Kathryn Gill: Under the CBA, a percentage of the players’ share of revenue is redirected into player development support programs and services, which are vital to the ongoing support of players and ensure that football remains a sport of choice for Australian athletes. That money is to support the current national team players. However, for the first time, the CBA guarantees investment in our past players via legacy funding from the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
That funding will ensure our players can stay in their careers longer, help them to prepare for life after football, and enable the PFA and FA to invest in areas that will allow us to support our retired and former professional players better.
The importance of giving back towards the PFA Footballers’ Trust:
Kathryn Gill: Players are deeply passionate about many issues within football and society, from reducing the cost of football to climate change and human rights. Their aim is to make the Footballers’ Trust the most impactful sports charity in Australia. The CBA is a great vehicle to foster the players’ commitment by building a deeper level of impact on many existing and new initiatives across the next four years of the agreement.
There were 40 players in the negotiation process, was there anyone in particular that stood out in discussions?
Kathryn Gill: The CBA is the players’ agreement, so as many players as possible in and around the national teams provided their input into their deal.
The players were constantly at the table and in the negotiations, even though many had to join from overseas at various hours of the morning or evening.
Our Executive Committee Members in particular – Andrew Redmayne, Lydia Williams, Tameka Yallop, Elise Kellond-Knight, Jackson Irvine and Mat Ryan – were deeply involved given their representative roles with the union.
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