NZ Football has a war chest to fund All Whites

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 05:00 22/06/2014
All Whites
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READY TO PLAY: NZ Football boss Andy Martin wants more international action for the All Whites.

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New Zealand Football chief Andy Martin wants increased international activity for the All Whites as one of the first steps on the long road back to the World Cup.

Through the full glare of the World Cup in Brazil and the All Whites' failure to feature, NZF's annual report has been pushed into the public arena with lucrative broadcast rights from the lost playoff games against Mexico creating a $6.1m surplus.

With the number of financial bullets immediately available to Martin now clear, the new boss of nation's most participated-in sport has started to draft the details needed taking the game forward.

Top of the list is returning the men's team to the world stage - and solving NZF's recurring dilemma of how to give the All Whites regular, meaningful games without going bankrupt.

"The ambition is for both the All Whites and the Football Ferns to play more," Martin told Sunday News.

"There's clearly logistical challenges we're still working through. Those challenges are ultimately subject to conversations between us and the players' association, but the going-in position of everybody is we want to play more games.

"It's an ambition, we've got to match that against our financial position to say ultimately, this is about [World Cup] qualification and success."

Claiming anything short of capacity crowds will always see NZF lose money hosting international matches, Martin says the organisation is focusing on revenue to help absorb the inevitable financial hits.

"Commercially, I think there are a lot more stones to turn," Martin said.

"The cost control of the organisation is excellent, what we've know got to do is generate more revenue, be more commercial, without losing control of cost.

"You'll see us hiring more commercially focused staff with the challenge of raising money from different sources.

"We're going through all the rights that we own and will come out with a sponsorship hierarchy. We've got to match those to potential sponsors."

The good news is, unlike the last annual report when NZF under Martin's predecessor, Grant McKavanagh, claimed it had made a surplus - but had actually papered over operating losses of $616,000 by transferring money from a reserve account - this NZF business model did wash its own face.

"We're in a good space now to say, even without the windfall, the financial result was positive," Martin said.

"That surplus gives us lots of options going forward. It's what you do with it that's important.

"The key decisions with the All Whites are obviously the coach, that's progressing very well, and the programme - we've got to make sure we've absolutely learned from the past and we make sure we put a four-year programme in place.

"One of the most difficult things with the All Whites is the [World Cup] qualification process still isn't locked down, so we can't plan as hard as we want to, but that will come. As the picture becomes clearer, there will be a four-year international team's budget that will lock in. I want certainty that I've got a funded, four-year programme that gets me to the goal."

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