Friday, 18 March 2016

List of questions for the 2015 AGM

This coming Wednesday evening the South Melbourne Hellas and South Melbourne FC AGMs will be held at Lakeside. These meetings are important because apart from the implied duty of members of a member owned club to attend and hold the board that represents them to at least some account - as well as take advantage of the one mandatory information session that we are all eligible for - there are a number of issues to be voted on.

As outlined in the letter that financial members should have received as part of their notification of the AGM, these include changes to the club's constitution with regards the make up of the committee, a vote to amalgamate with South Melbourne Women's FC (which has been approved at SMWFC's end), and the tabling of documents regarding the Lakeside lease.

Below are some of the questions that I would like to see asked at the upcoming AGM. They are intended to be a reference point or guide for any eligible member to refer to during the meeting, which anyone present may choose to ask. Doubtless there will also be people who do or do not read this blog who will have their own questions to ask, and for that reason this list should not be viewed as exclusive, exhaustive or pointed towards or against the interests of any particular faction of the club.

I have deliberately left off questions regarding Nick Epifano, because:
  • While I acknowledge the importance of the matter to a section of our membership, I am concerned that too much attention paid to that issue will make us lose track of other very serious issues of compliance and governance.
  • I expect those interested in that topic in particular to be armed and ready as a matter of due course regardless of what I may say or think, and as members they can go for their lives on the matter.
Clearly I will have forgotten other important questions that need asking, so please leave your questions and comments in the comments section, and as long as they're not defamatory, I will add them to the overall list.

Financial statements, legal compliance and NPL compliance
I'd ask more things about the financial statements except that I'm more or less functionally innumerate in these matters.
  • Why has the AGM date been set so late? And why is the AGM repeatedly held late?
  • Did the committee apply to ASIC for an extension to holding an AGM?
  • If they did not, who would be liable for the financial penalties potentially imposed by ASIC - the club or the directors?
  • Is it true that the AGM was not due to be called until the committee was alerted to the drawing up of the petition of the EGM by South members during round 1 against Heidelberg?
  • If this is not true, why were the financial statements of the club not ready for viewing by the members upon the announcement of an AGM, as required by the motion passed by the members in 2013?
  • What steps is the club required to take in order to have its NPL licence renewed? What criteria is the club lagging behind in terms of the future of the NPL?
  • How much debt is the club carrying, and to whom is it owed?
  • Does the listed item regarding expenditure on wages include only the players, the footballing department, or the entire wage bill of the club?
  • What processes does the Club put in place to restrain costs?
  • What is the proportion of cash vis a vis contra sponsorship? 
  • What processes are being put into place to service and maintain the current level of sponsorship? 
  • How much has the deal with BLK saved us compared to our previous deal with Adidas?
  • Does the club still receive financial compensation for the grand prix disruption, as was the case in the past?
  • What, if anything, did the club get out of the teams that used Lakeside Stadium during the 2015 Asian Cup and 2015 International Champions Cup?
Media
  • Why does the club continue to push the social media numbers line, when the day to day concerns of the membership are based on the failure to deal with the practical elements of the lease and social club?
  • Does the club have benchmarks regarding its social media enterprises? For example, what are the targets for overall hits and unique hits to the website? Likewise for views of the videos and TV show?
  • Has the club ever purchased Facebook likes and/or Twitter followers?
  • What is the current relationship between ourselves and the broader media? Are there specific media groups or persons in the media that we are looking to work closely with?
Membership/Attendance
  • Since the FFV's forced constitutional changes to club membership criteria - which included making seniors players, and the parents of junior members members automatically - what has been the breakdown of paying memberships and memberships allocated to parents of junior players?
  • Can you please provide at least some membership data documenting our numbers since the return to Lakeside?
Players and coaches
  • Who is primarily responsible for recruitment, Chris Taylor or members of the committee? And what is the usual process for recruiting players?
  • Who was responsible for recruiting Philzgerald Mbaka, sight unseen to any of the coaches?
  • Who was responsible for the re-signing of Peter Gavalas?
  • Did the recruitment of Mbaka have anything to do with Genova International School of Soccer?
  • Does the Club have a policy in place to attract a 'marquee player' through its connection to the Genova International Soccer School?
  • Who was responsible for the signing of Andy Bevin and other mid-season signings last year?
  • Why were player agents allowed into our change rooms after matches last year?
  • Who is responsible for the management of our PPS tally?
  • Has the club received compensation for the signing of Andy Brennan to Newcastle Jets?
  • Did the club receive any compensation or fee for James Musa? If not, what was the nature of the two year contract the club (through its media channels) claimed he had signed?
  • What was the rationale behind the unusually lengthy contract given to Chris Taylor?
  • In what way does a 'senior football advisor' differ from an assistant coach?
Social club and lease
  • Why has the club repeatedly refused to provide even cursory updates to the members about the status of this matter?
Real Madrid 'relationship'
  • Last year the club made a big deal about establishing a relationship with Real Madrid, yet since then has provided no details to the members or anyone about what that entails. What is the actual story here?
  • What is the connection between South Melbourne and Genova International Soccer School?
  • What is the connection between South Melbourne and Morris Pagniello? 
  • Who paid for the Spain trip of January 2016? Did Genova or Morris Pagniello have any involvement with that trip? If so, what was the nature of that involvement?
Women and juniors
  • If the women officially reunite with the men, will the club seek to join the WNPL?
  • Should the women join the WNPL, will there be an establishment of a community club in order to maintain the female social players and juniors?
  • If so, how would the club go about making sure that such a community club remain linked to South Melbourne FC, considering that the two entities can not share a committee?
  • Four of our juniors - Andrew and Costa Mesorouni, Spiros Stamoulis and Josh Meaker, have reportedly signed contracts with overseas clubs. Why has the club made little effort to publicise these signings?
  • Why did the club remove the article discussing Andrew Mesourouni's move to Spain from its website?
  • Why did Strati Xynas, the new Technical Director, join the trip to Spain leaving behind a shortage of coaches for the rest of the junior teams not fortunate enough to attend? 
  • Is Strati also a GISS appointment?
  • Does the club have plans to join the W-League?
  • What are the club's plans in regards to joining the cut down version of the National Youth League?
Relationships and the future
  • What is the status of the club's relationship with a) FFV b) FFA c) Victorian government d) State Sport Centres Trust e) other clubs both in the NPL and those outside of it?
  • What is the relationship between Yarraville SC and South Melbourne? Are they affiliated to South? 
  • Is South Melbourne looking at entering into affiliations with other junior/lower level clubs around Melbourne/regional centres? 
  • Does the Genova International Soccer School have an exclusive arrangement with the club for future commercial junior player tours? Does this organisation have an exclusive arrangement with South Melbourne youth player transfers? If yes, what financial benefit is being paid to Genova International Soccer Schools?
  • Since the club's ambition to takeover an A-League licence has failed, and considering that David Gallop and FFA have ruled out promotion and relegation for at least 20 years, what is the club's plan for getting back into the top flight? Does the club now think that any sort of accession to the top-flight is unrealistic? 
  • If it is not realistic, where does the club see itself in five years, ten years and 20 years time? 
  • If the club does believe that accession to the A-League is possible, what is the plan for achieving that goal?
  • If it is based on promotion/relegation and/or a second division, why has the club only recently come out and made their position known on this?
  • How hard is the club willing to push for a national second division and/or promotion and relegation? Is it willing to go above the FFA to the AFC?

19 comments:

  1. James Musa - did the club receive any compensation? The club reported he had signed a 2-year contract.
    Are these trumpeted contracts binding or are they just press release fodder?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In the wake of the Jason Hicks signing/unsigning, this is a good question. Thanks, Anonympus.

      Delete
    2. Paul, I may have a partial answer to the 2 year contract query: Last year, the FFV was not collecting fees that are usually required to register a player on actual contract (not sure what that figure is exactly but I've heard it's $2k or something similar). This year the FFV is collecting those contract fees so the clubs that were smart enough (and wealthy enough) last year to realise that FFV not collecting these fees wouldn't be a permanent arrangement (e.g. South) signed several players to 2 year contracts to avoid having to re-register any 1 year contracts this year and incur the FFV costs.

      In regards to the Hicks situation: not all players are on proper, registered contracts. Some would just be operating on a handshake agreement basically and that could be the reason why we has offloaded/walked to Knights. The question of why he wasn't on a contract could be an issue with South dragging their feet on finalising the paperwork, could've been the club wanting to keep their options open for another visa player (e.g. Mbaka)or they simply though as a visa player his options for other clubs would be limited, especially ones that would be willing & able to match his asking price.

      Delete
    3. That's very informative, Anonymous, thanks for the post.

      Delete
  2. I look forward to voyeuristically viewing the aftermath of this

    ReplyDelete
  3. We talk a big game about a national 2nd tier - have we established any sort of relationship with the AFC? If we are serious about a national div2 promotion/relegation we should be pushing from below and engaging AFC heavies to pressure from above.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you haven't seen it already, Shaun Mooney's article on the Leopold Method on this and related issues is pretty damn good.

      http://leopoldmethod.com.au/the-restlessness-of-the-aspirationals/

      It includes a look at the 'unauthorised' communication by a member of the FFV's men's standing committee contacting the AFC to try pressure them into making promotion/relegation in Australia a more urgent matter of business.

      Delete
  4. You forgot to add: What is a "Senior Football Advisor" and how does it differ from the role of Assistant Coach?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, added. I think I'm looking forward to the answer to this question the most.

      Delete
  5. Paul

    Please add the following questions to your list:

    1. What processes does the Club put in place to restrain costs? It is far easier to restrain the growth in costs than raise additional revenue.
    2. What is the proportion of cash vis a vis contra sponsorship?
    3. What processes are being put into place to service and maintain the current level of sponsorship?
    4. Does the Club have a policy in place to attract a 'marquee player' through its connection to the Genova International Soccer School?
    5. Does the Genova International Soccer School have an exclusive arrangement with the club for future commercial junior player tours? Does this organisation have an exclusive arrangement with SMFC youth player transfers? If yes, what financial benefit is being paid to Genova International Soccer Schools?
    6. What is the relationship between Yaraville SC and SMFC? Are they affiliated to SMFC?
    7. Is SMFC looking at entering into affiliations with other junior/lower level clubs around Melbourne/regional centres?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Super stuff, very much appreciated.

      Delete
  6. How does the board measure success? What are the KPIs? Can members receive a copy of how we performed against these KPIs. Hopefully this includes membership numbers, spectator numbers, team performance etc.

    Est1959

    ReplyDelete
  7. Why did we wear solid blue socks in the Cup game, rather than our Home hoops? We were the home team, and there was no chance of a clash. Who makes this call?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Paul,
    It may be that I am a bit late to ask any further questions but I would like to know why Strati the new Technical Director joined the trip to Spain leaving behind a shortage of coaches for all of the rest of the junior teams not fortunate enough to attend, surely the club had sufficient support on the trip with the president and youth director present? Is Strati also a GISS appointment as I have heard he has a history with Morris Pagniello?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not too late at all. Some good questiosn here, and I've added them to the list.

      Delete
    2. Thank you,
      Soon to be ex-SMFC parent

      Delete
  9. SOTB, can you help us identify which questions belong in which AGM (SMFC or SMHFC)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would say that stuff to do with players and the various on field issues tend to go with SMFC, and the rest with SMH. However, the way these meetings have tended to be run in the past, is that it will all kind of blend into one another.

      Delete
  10. The question should be "why has the club bought Facebook likes?" not "if".
    There is substantial proof.

    ReplyDelete

While I like people commenting on the blog, it would be useful if different posters could at least leave some sort of nickname to make it easier to sort through all the different 'anonymous' posters. If your post doesn't get approved straight away, it's probably because I haven't seen it yet. Lastly, just because I approve a comment for publication does not mean that I endorse its content.