Gallop's Arrival As New FFA CEO Greeted With Optimism, Caution
Former National Rugby League CEO David Gallop's arrival as the new CEO of Football Federation Australia has been greeted by key figures in the football landscape with "degrees of optimism and caution," according to Sebastian Hassett of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Gallop replaced former CEO Ben Buckley Tuesday, with Buckley saying that he will "stand down from the position as soon as the much-anticipated media rights deal are concluded." The amount of money left for channels Nine, Seven and Foxtel is a problem that "could seriously hinder the game's prospects of getting the kind of broadcast deal it has coveted" since the A-League was announced in '04. It has been speculated a rights' deal worth $200M over five years is presently on the table. That amount would be "less than a fifth of the total value of the NRL and Australian Football League deals." However, FFA believe the value to be closer to $300M. Central Coast Mariners majority Owner Peter Turnbull said that Gallop "had a track record that made him the right man to take over." Turnbull said, ''He's a well-known administrator who ran rugby league through a very difficult period -- the Super League war and so on -- and saw the sport come out the other side in a very strong position" (SMH, 8/22).
WAITING GAME: In Sydney, Michael Cockerill opined that if Buckley can get double the value of the existing contract from both networks he will "be able to walk out of Whitlam Square and face his many detractors head-on." Buckley cannot "airbrush the many disappointments of his six years at the helm." But a true assessment of his time in charge "cannot be made until after the TV deal is completed." That could occur in the coming weeks, so "we will not have to wait long to find out." There is some irony in the fact the person Australian businessman Frank Lowy wanted before he got Buckley will now replace him. The "dynamic has changed, circumstances have changed," but one thing has not. Like Buckley, Gallop "is not a football man." That is the "major reservation about his appointment" (SMH, 8/22).
PAYING UP: Also in Sydney, Ray Gatt reported that Gallop is "expected to receive a significant pay package" at FFA. It is expected to be "a far better deal than he was on in rugby league." Buckley is rumored to be on a little more than $1M, while Gallop was believed to be on $750,000 with the ARLC. Lowy said that Buckley had discussed Gallop with him about two months ago and that Buckley had contacted Gallop "soon after he left the NRL" and had discussed possible opportunities at FFA. Lowy said of Buckley: "He is one of Australia's finest sports administrators. Ben has worked tirelessly for football both at home and abroad and has steered the game through a difficult period of consolidation" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/22).