The West Perth Football Club has welcomed new board members as part of governance measures outlined in the West Australian Football Commission’s Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA).
The DOCA – a legal mechanism typically required to restructure a business that has entered administration – put forward by the WAFC was unanimously approved at a meeting of West Perth Football Club creditors on Tuesday, September 4.
The new-look board will be headed by experienced football administrator and former West Perth player Neale Fong as President. Dr Fong brings a wealth of experience to West Perth including nine years as Chairman of the West Australian Football Commission and over 20 years of corporate board experience.
In an important step to retain the experience of key directors as the club transitions to its new governance model, Scott Ballem has stepped down as President but will continue as a board member, while existing board member Peter Cutler, who’s portfolio includes overseeing the club’s successful football operations, will also continue as a board member.
Former West Perth player and inaugural chairman of the Fremantle Football Club, Ross Kelly, has joined the Board as Vice President. Other appointments include former West Perth board member Jim Caffieri, chartered accountant Sam Modica, who undertook the recent financial review of the West Perth Football Club, and media identity and life-long West Perth supporter Paul Murray.
WAFC Chairman Murray McHenry said the newly appointed board members had all demonstrated strong passion and commitment to the success of West Perth Football Club and would bring strong credentials to the governance of the club.
“These appointments bring a balance of strategy, governance and operational support that will help provide certainty for West Perth’s future after what has been a difficult time for the club.
“As the administrators detailed in their report, West Perth found itself in this do-or-die situation as issues compounded over the years. As such, we have wanted to strengthen the governance and control measures in place to best ensure West Perth does not end up in this position again,” Mr McHenry said.
The new board has been established under West Perth Football Club’s constitution, which limits the number of members to seven. The confirmation of the new board ends the voluntary administration process undertaken by KordaMentha.
Mr McHenry thanked KordaMentha and the previous West Perth board for completing the process and in particular, their efforts in raising approximately $250,000, which will be critical to the future success of the club.
“Through the hard work of KordaMentha it has been clearly established that the situation is not the result of one person’s actions or an isolated incident and has highlighted opportunities to implement good governance and secure new revenue streams for the future. It's important to note that these changes reflect no culpability on behalf of the departing board members,” he said.
“Our focus now is on finding a way to make sure there is a sustainable, long-term way forward for the club – this is an absolute priority.”
To support the club during this period a new Finance and Risk Committee will be established and overseen by WAFC Commissioner Cheryl Edwardes, who has been appointed as an external observer, as per the WAFC loan conditions, to support and oversee the effective financial management of the club.
A Strategic Fundraising and Sustainability Group will also be formed to help secure long-term revenue streams for the club and underpin what will be a challenging time ahead.
“We will be working with all members of the new and previous board and other key supporters of West Perth Football Club as their ongoing support of the club will be critical to its future success,” Mr McHenry said.
“It is very important to WA football that we work together to maintain West Perth’s rich history and support the growth and development of football in the northern corridor of Perth.
“It is also important to note that under the DOCA proposal, the WAFC has not provided any additional funds to West Perth. The WAFC has provided a loan of $250,000 which was offered to support the club during this difficult period. The WAFC operates within funding constraints and we have a very disciplined approach to balancing the funding needs of all WA football, from grassroots to the WAFL.
“I would also like to thank all of the West Perth staff led by their CEO Linda Hamersley and the coaches and playing group for the professional way in which they have conducted themselves.”
New West Perth Football Club Board
Dr Neale Fong - President
Ross Kelly – Vice President