Morgan's offer fails to attract Government cash

Last updated 05:00 26/11/2013
Gareth Morgan
OFFER REFUSED: The Government has refused to match Gareth Morgan's offer of money to New Zealand Football.

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The Government says it is happy for Wellington Phoenix co-owner Gareth Morgan to donate $5 million to New Zealand Football but it won't be stumping up $10m in return.

Dr Morgan, who is part of the Welnix consortium that owns the Wellington Phoenix, has called for an overhaul of the sport's governing body. He offered $5m of his money, on condition that the Government chipped in $10m and the present board of NZ Football was kicked out.

The organisation was an embarrassment and being run like a local tennis club, the economist said. NZ Football rejected his claims but said any offers of help were always appreciated.

Prime Minister John Key said it was great Dr Morgan wanted to give the sport so much money but it was not for the Government to interfere on such a "micro" level.

Sport New Zealand was in charge of distributing funding and its job was to decide what amount it would contribute to football.

"Sport NZ will continue to work on the matter and, if they want to engage with Mr Morgan and he wants to give them money, that's great," Mr Key said.

"The Government will be putting in money but it will be putting it in through Sport NZ."

Dr Morgan said he had made the offer because he believed improving the performance of the All Whites could bring great economic benefit to the country.

He agreed that Sport NZ was the conduit for discussions but questioned the Government's hands-off response, pointing to the amount it gave towards the latest America's Cup challenge.

This year Sport NZ provided $800,000 funding for the Football Ferns women's team and $1m for investment in the sport at a community level.

Sport NZ chief executive Peter Miskimmin said he disagreed with Dr Morgan's view that the entire board needed to be cleaned out but appreciated his passion for football.

The future plan NZ Football had in place was one of the best in the world and Sport NZ had flagged the sport as one of the most important in the country.

"They're doing a really, really good job. You only have to look at how well the Football Ferns, the girls, are doing with their recent draw with the US."

It was true the All Whites' buildup to their recent playoff with Mexico had been poor but that would all be explored in the ongoing review, Mr Miskimmin said.

Yesterday NZ Football announced it was expecting a surplus of about $6m for 2013, largely because of the All Whites' World Cup playoff with Mexico.

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A crowd of 35,206 watched the 4-2 loss at Westpac Stadium last week, and NZ Football also negotiated a significant TV rights deal. The game was screened in more than 130 countries.

An effective board needs to be ...

Gareth Morgan says New Zealand Football is run like a local tennis club and its board should be kicked out.

So what should a capable and well-functioning board of directors look like? The Dominion Post asked Institute of Directors chief executive William Whittaker.

A good board that truly adds value is not just a group of qualified individuals, but a diverse team with complementary skills and a culture that allows them to work together to make the most effective decisions for an organisation.

A strong board will have balance in terms of five key areas: the diversity of directors, size relative to the size of the organisation, skills and experience of directors, the number of executive and non-executive directors, as well as independent and non-independent directors.

There should be diversity of thought around the table derived from a wide range of backgrounds, experiences and skills.

In terms of the effective operation of a board, a strong culture is vital. Board members must have respect for each other while being able to have strong individual opinions and disagree.

Whether a board operates in the sporting arena, SME or corporate arena, the basic principles of good governance are timeless. A board needs to focus on its own governance as much as the entity's to achieve the objectives that it sets itself.

- The Dominion Post


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