FFA- It’s time to step in.Posted: August 17, 2016
Here we go again. The financial crisis that has engulfed Brisbane Roar over the past 18 months has again got to crisis point with Managing Director Daniel Cobb quitting the role. In a dramatic evening Cobb also confirmed a final bid to buy the licence from the Bakrie Group while also further isolating himself with the Indonesian ownership group by refusing to deny the Roar are trading insolvent.
This past 24 hours has been particularly dramatic with Cobb calling out the clubs ownership over a lack of funds, which he says lead to the late payment of the monthly payroll.
In the midst of all that the FFA and Cobb had a meeting in Sydney, swapped public statements before Cobb also announced he would make a final offer to buy the Roar licence from the Bakries even after quitting his Directors role.
Throughout this entire 18 month saga there has been plenty of anger from Roar supporters aimed at the clubs ownership group, former Directors and Chairman in addition to current MD Daniel Cobb in recent times.
One group which wasn’t included above, but has arguably the most to answer for is the FFA, whom the majority of this will be aimed at.
Over the past 18 months FFA have had multiple opportunities to step in and force change within the clubs ownership structure, and at each opportunity they’ve failed to do so. I’ll save the full recap of the this saga for when it eventually comes to an end, but here’s the key flash points.
The first opportunity to act was back in September 2015 when an ultimatum was issued following a third straight month of late payments to players.
Despite not meeting the deadline set –they were paid in the ensuring days-, the FFA chose not to step in and take control of the licence despite having the power to do so under the competitions rules.
The continued late payment to players in part cost the club the services of arguable its best home-grown talent -Luke Brattan- who used the situation to secured a move to Manchester City.
That lead to a rather tense fan forum in the weeks leading up to the new season where former A-League boss Damien de Bohun blamed the fortunes of the Roar –and Newcastle Jets- on mistakes both made in 2012. But here we are, four years later and Newcastle are only just recovering from their issues, while Brisbane are yet to be rescued from the structure which created their problems.
On the night De Bohun explained that mechanisms were in place to prevent these issues from occurring, but those mechanisms obviously haven’t worked here in Brisbane. The question of due process when considering the Bakrie Groups ownership application should also come into question.
Fast-forward to May of this year and after a successful season –all things considered- on the park, things again appeared to be heading south with the departure of the clubs Indonesian directors and CEO David Pourre.
The FFA issued a second ultimatum in early May demanding leadership restored to the club, which was the precursor to the announcement of Daniel Cobb as MD and the leader of a consortium which would purchase the licence from the Bakrie Group.
Cobb’s brief stint with the Roar can best be described as problematic, with his frequent international trips doing little to add the leadership or stability it was said he would bring when appointed.
That lack of direction meant the club was unable to make all the recruitment decisions necessary on the football side, while off the field the club have only just launched their membership campaign some six weeks after the rest of the competition.
That brings us to the events of the past 24 hours including ultimatum number 3, and at this point its abundantly clear that neither the Daniel Cobb, nor the Bakrie Group are the right people to be in charge of this football club.
Throughout this saga we’ve seen late pay and superannuation for players and staff alike, a lengthy list of creditors and a general lack of leadership from the clubs owners, yet despite all of those things FFA has refused to take an active role in sorting the clubs issues out.
I should point out all of this isn’t to absolve the clubs owners, Daniel Cobb or anyone else whose been involved in this saga from blame, but it’s the FFA who could, and should have brought this to an end long before now.
From where this club was in May 2014 when it was celebrating its third Championship in four years to where it is now is a collective failure for all involved.
When you factor in that the Socceroos haven’t been to Brisbane for nearly two years, and it’s over 4 years since a World Cup Qualifier has been held in this city with no game likely for at least another six months.
When factoring all that in, it’s not a stretch to say that football in Brisbane–professionally at least- is in the worst shape it’s been in since the launch of the A-League some 12 years ago.
Whichever way you look at it the FFA have flagrantly let this marketplace down in the last two years, so here’s my final message to those running the game in this country.
FFA, we all know that you just helped the nation’s richest club secure a Socceroos legend. You can keep celebrating that, or you can do something to fix the situation here in Brisbane and make sure he has a meaningful competition to play in. Because as it stands you will have a shadow of a team representing the competitions third biggest market, with fewer spectators, assuming they get on the field at all.