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Eddie Moore. Eddie Moore. Featured
26 August 2013 Posted by 

Man with NSW football in his hands

By Roger Sleeman

WHEN Juan Antonio Samaranch , the former President of the IOC, uttered those famous words,”The winner is Sydney” on September 24, 1993, the life of Eddie Moore, the current CEO of Football NSW, changed forever.

The man with a passion for triathlons who worked on the Sydney bid was also retained for the seven year Sydney Olympics program prior to 2000 and was the head of the triathlon, cycling and marathon events in Sydney’s finest sporting hour.

Moore was also employed by Rugby Australia as Head of Operations for the 2003 World Cup and has since held other prominent senior management roles in Australian sport.

However, Moore who has been at the helm of one of the most difficult roles in Australian sport since May, 2011, faces a challenging path in attempting to lift the profile of the sleeping giant of NSW sport.

In this interview with WSBA’s Roger Sleeman, Eddie Moore explains FNSW plans to engage the junior football and wider sporting community to support senior competitions, the promotion of the IGA NSW Premier League, youth development and FNSW‘s alignment with the FFA to grow the game in NSW.

Roger Sleeman: Why did you decide to become involved with a sport which has a history of political infighting and factions, particularly prior to your appointment?

Eddie Moore: I saw an opportunity when the dust settled with the Commission of Enquiry which ended the reign of the previous board to apply my administrative and management skills in a game which has such potential and to make a difference working with the new board. From the outset the new board was committed to implementing a professional strategic direction for NSW football.

R.S.: Can you describe your working relationship with the FFA because to the average supporter, it appears it is only concerned with the A-League?

E.M.: It is very positive and connected at all levels which was exemplified two weeks ago when a community development meeting was conducted at FFA headquarters. Amongst other matters, I discussed youth development with National Technical Director, Han Berger, in plotting the progress of development for players to u/16 levels for boys and to u/17 for girls, the AIS and National Youth League. With the establishment of the National Premier League this year, a footprint has been embedded so there is a pathway for players to graduate from the state Premier Leagues to the A-League. At the moment 40% of A-League players come from the IGA NSW Premier League and hopefully the new structure will provide even greater numbers.

R.S.: How is the FFA assisting in promoting the Premier League?

E.M.: There are new horizons, with the first NPL final series to be staged at the end of September and the final to be played on the weekend of October 12/13, coinciding with the start of the new A-League season. Hopefully, the final will be played as a curtain raiser to an A-League fixture. The FFA is also currently sourcing a national sponsor and developing website activity to promote the series.

R.S.: Although football has by far the largest grass roots participation in NSW, crowds are small at Premier League matches and there is little or no coverage on television or in the popular press. What is FNSW doing to address this situation?

E.M.: Obviously it’s a great challenge when you’re competing with the three major codes for coverage in the winter. Also, a lot of our amateur competitions are being played while the Premier League matches are being staged so ironically our largest source of support is at the same time our greatest competition. We do have edited on line coverage which is available on Monday afternoon, podcasts interviews during the week and you tube coverage has increased.

R.S.: Well, can you explain how Sydney grade rugby union still maintains its weekly Saturday afternoon broadcasts on the ABC and the Premier League has nothing?

E.M.: The NSWRU pays in the vicinity of $50-60,000 per week for this coverage so it’s not a cheap exercise by any means and I’m not sure how they manage to fund this investment.

R.S.: Could part of the problem with drawing larger spectator support also be the lack of star quality emerging? 

E.M.:The NPL format, whereby players from 9-11 participate in the Skills Acquisition Program(SAP)  and  from (12-16) boys, (13-17) girls in the NSW Institute at FNSW has been designed to produce the best coaching outcome for young players and create that important pathway from Youth League to Premier League and to higher levels in the game.  I have no doubt with this framework, and now that we have Ian Crook as coaching co-ordinator to work with NPL coaches and players as well as technical directors at every Premier League club, we just won’t be producing the best athletes, but players who will be coached to produce high level technical and tactical performance. This increasing level of talent on view will naturally attract the attention of fans and I’m confident in time, the NPL will command a higher public profile.

R.S.: There has been criticism in the last few years that the cost of playing elite football at youth league level ($2,500- 3000 per season) is prohibitive for some young players when their counterparts in the other codes are heavily subsidised by their ruling bodies. Consequently, the sport is potentially losing a lot of young talent. What is FNSW doing to address this image problem?

E.M.: If you do the sums, for a forty week season it costs $12-15 per session and under the NPL the best coaching development outcome is guaranteed. It’s stating the obvious that the other codes don’t have the playing numbers football has, so their ability to fund their juniors is a much smaller financial commitment. Ultimately, one of our major aims is to reduce the cost of football, particularly at the elite level. If there are players who have financial constraints, the clubs should certainly assist with talent which should not be lost to the game and FNSW will also help in finding programs for these players to participate in.

R.S.: What is the short term to medium term plan of FNSW?

E.M.: We must define the pathways for coaches, players and referees so they are aware of the opportunities available for them to participate and realise their objectives. Ninety per cent of our playing population will still enjoy grass roots football and we want to ensure they have a safe environment to do that. We can help them invest in their facilities, especially grounds, and ensure they always enjoy their football experience whether they become referees or play o/35 or 0/45 in the future Importantly, we want them to consume the game, whether it is watching EPL on television, attending an A- League or Premier League game and sharing the total experience with their children. Also, alignment of the national pathway, from a technical perspective with players progressing to A-League, strengthening youth programs and women’s league are major priorities This must be achieved within our economic means to make these opportunities available to as many people as possible We’re just about to commence a $20 million redevelopment at FNSW headquarters at Parklea, comprising 2 synthetic fields, new athlete facilities, upgrading accommodation and a futsal court which will provide a workable asset to run programs for country children, development opportunities and funding for unidentified talent. This will be completed by September, 2014 and there wouldn’t be a state governing body in the country which would own and run a facility like this.


Michael Walls
0407 783 413