Expertise vital to Football board

THE recently elected Football Far North Coast board boasts no Tweed representation, but that’s no surprise to general manager Steve Mackney.

At the association’s annual meeting last week, Mike Berry (Lismore businessman and founding member of Dunoon Soccer Club), Bill Coulter (CEO Ballina RSL Club), Bob Perrin (long-time board member FFNC) and Isaac Smith (Deputy mayor Lismore) were elected to join existing board members Paul Parry and Geoff Finch.

“Having people with business experience, passion for football and who have a respected position within the community can only assist us, and confirms the spirit of progress within this region,” Mackney said.

“While the profile of the game in this region continues to grow, the ongoing challenge in operating in a competitive sporting market, as well as the extensive commercial considerations, require a range of resources.”

However, while Mackney is confident the credentials of the elected members will bring a productive and professional contribution to FFNC, the fact stands the Tweed remains without representation.

That, according to Mackney, is simply because no-one put their hand up.

“I’m not saying that had they nominated they would have been a shoo-in, but the point is no one nominated from up that way, and hence no one is on the board.

“I’m never surprised when there are not a lot of people nominating for committees, as there is a lot of commitment and responsibility associated with any role,” he said.

“Having said that, I don’t think it’s either here nor there, because if we had the right mix of people on the board, and I think we do, then it doesn’t matter where they live.

“It’s very important to recognise that FFNC is interested in all soccer activities within the zone, wherever teams come from, and there is a lot of work to be done to try to ensure that everyone within the association recognises that we are all one.

“I think the skills these guys bring, and the contacts they’ve got, will assist the whole zone.”

First up for the board is to finalise FFNC’s strategic direction as it looks ahead to the coming years.

Top of that list is enticing Tweed-based clubs playing across the border back to the Northern Rivers competition.

“The board’s focus is on policy and governing, and it’s my job to give a little direction,” Mackney said.

“Part of that would be to try to open up lines of communication with clubs that are not playing in the FFNC, but should be proximity-wise, such as the Tweed sides playing in the Gold Coast Soccer competition.

“It’s up to us to make it work over time, to work with them and find a way that satisfies all parties, to bring them back into the zone and further strengthen the competition.”

Mackney said the board would work on a proposal for an Asia Pacific Football Institute in the region.

“Discussions are occurring through government and football channels,” he said.

“There has been interest from as far away as Barcelona about this region being very favourable for an elite academy.”

The FFNC season kicks off with the Anzac Cup on the weekend of March 5-7, with the senior season to start April 10.

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