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FFA Failure: The Gallop Era

Author Note: This is a collected accounting of various issues, problems and failures of the FFA & A-League & it's staff over the course of the David Gallop leadership. These points were collated based on journalist reports in major publications from the time periods indicated. Australia deserves better than this from our football leadership.


* Damien De Bohun and then David Gallop join FFA as head of A-League and head of FFA respectively, in mid-2012.

* The FFA announce the creation of the "Joint A-League Strategic Committee" to discuss the administration of the A-League with the clubs. 4 years later in 2016 the FFA announce the formation of a new "joint committee" to address the A-League's administration with the clubs.

* Never ending scheduling issues around high temperatures, and Asian Champions League fixtures. Teams often forced into playing in Perth & Wellington in successive weeks, or playing away matches in between ACL matches in China/Korea/Japan, FFA reluctant to do anything to mitigate these issues despite knowing far in advance when ACL matches will take place.

* No international windows, extremely disruptive to Wellington Phoenix.

* Censorship of FFA's comment websites, any mention of Hatamoto and your comment is removed.

* FFA Head of Communications Kyle Patterson calls entire Sydney Derby "spoilt" because of a handful of flares.

* Nathan Tinklers attempts to hand back Newcastle began before Gallop started at the FFA, but FFA watch as Tinklers fortune implodes, including the Hunter Sports Group (which hold the Jets license) being the subject of a winding up order by the Australia Tax Office. The Jets end up being used as a debt sink for Tinkler, as he uses inter-company loans to eventually load up the Jets with $21 million of debt.



* Allows national team coach Holger Osieck to ban national team players from attending Sydney Derby a month after Gallop says the national team need to connect more with the community.

* EAFF Qualification Debacle. Drawn game against North Korea in qualifying, 85th minute 1-0 win vs Hong Kong, sees us nearly get knocked out by North Korea, only going through on goal difference.

* EAFF Finals, team finished 4th in EAFF Cup, drawing with South Korea, and losing to Japan and China, finishing with 1 point.

* WCQ for 2014, Holger's Australia Draw against Oman & Japan twice, lose in Jordan. Need 83rd minute winner from Josh Kennedy in final match to qualify for the World Cup in 2nd place.

* Holger finally sacked after losing successive friendlies 6-0 against Brazil & France. Ange given all of 8 months to prepare for the World Cup, and Australia loses all 3 matches against Chile, Spain & Holland.

* FFA forced into $1,000,000 payout of Holger's contract (along with payout to Robbie Hooker assistant).

* Allows Melbourne Victory to rort the salary cap by signing James Troisi on loan, paying Juventus a large loan fee which they use to pay Troisi directly, while Victory giving Troisi a minimal salary for cap purposes. They repeat this trick with Tom Rogic and Celtic in the summer transfer window.

* FFA & Melbourne Victory play the blame game over a match with Western Sydney Wanderers, as neither group take responsibility for failing to ensure their stadium was booked. The match is kicked out of AAMI Park so that a Bruce Springsteen concert can take place, and is rescheduled to a Tuesday night. Wanderers have their preparations disrupted and go on to lose the game. No disciplinary action is taken against Victory for failing to secure their home ground.

* Australian national team active support group "Terrace Australis" is immediately ruined by FFA, as good faith from supporters is taken advantage of, and usual FFA tactics of delaying & lying deployed in an attempt to get active support continue past the Asian Cup are seen through, group disbands after handful of matches.

* De Bohun & Gallop shatter the trust between the FFA & A-League active support groups. The FFA & Melbourne Victory begin the destruction of the North Terrace with draconian measures which have no bearing on safety. The FFA use active support in media campaigns, while allowing the Police, Hatamoto & stadium security to threaten supporters with evictions & bans when they actively support their team at A-League games. Hatamoto used as undercover agents, and build privacy breaching documentation on people who have committed no crimes or infringed any code of conduct.

* FFA continue to refuse to allow an appeals process for supporters given bans.

* Version 2 of the National Curriculum omits the vital skill of heading the ball.



* FFA change the salary cap rules for loans after Victory rorted salary cap. Melbourne City blocked from signing Frank Lampard on a short term loan as a result of the rules change.

* Damien De Bohun shows up for a supporter forum, and launches into a torturous defence of the FFA's banning process, which includes a failure to describe exactly what the FFA considers their 'jurisdiction' and what could lead to a supporter being banned or an active support group being blamed for actions outside matches. This defence includes De Bohun being unable to confirm or deny that the FFA might take action against someone stopped by the police for jaywalking or littering in the general vicinity of the stadium.

* FFA launch widely derided NCIP Policy, banning any new or revised club names, logos or emblems from carrying any ethnic, national, political or religious connections. Almost immediately this brings them into a dispute with Melbourne Knights during the FFA Cup due to a sponsor affiliation with "Melbourne Croatia Soccer Club". The Knights lodge a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

* The NCIP Policy creates confusion, as teams like Maccabi Hakoah include a Jewish Star of David on their crest, and the Shamrock Rovers in Darwin having an obvious Irish connection being allowed, while Stirling Lions were banned from including the "Vergina Sun" symbol, and Gwelup Croatia are confused as a result of discussion with the Football West CEO.

* The U19 Australia team at the 2014 AFC U19 Championship draw with the UAE, then defeat Indonesia, before conceding a late equaliser to Uzbekistan in the final group stage game. The late goal sees the UAE, Uzbekistan and Australia finish on 5 points each, with Australia finishing 3rd as a result of goal difference. Australia are knocked out, and fail to qualify for the 2015 Fifa U20 World Cup.s

* Damien De Bohun states that he has "no concerns" regarding a Perth Glory "administrative error" on their salary cap and marquee players. Perth move Michael Thawite & journeyman midfielder Nebosja Marinkovic to "Marquee" status. Irish International Andy Keogh, who joined the A-League from the English Championship, is apparently being paid less than Marinkovic who came from the Israeli Premier League. The FFA do not find this strange.

* Additional media reports involving Perth see the FFA launch a new investigation into potential salary cap breaches.

* A-League club owners meet in Duabi to discuss having greater influence on the A-League administration and improved funding.

* World Cup 2014 finishes with Australia losing all three matches. 3-1 vs Chilea, 3-2 vs Holland & 3-0 vs Spain.



* Despite Damien De Bohun having "no concerns", the second investigation has Perth Glory found to have breached the salary cap for three seasons. Breaches include payments to Andy Keogh's wife through a company where owner Tony Sage is a director, payment of agent fees, third party sponsorships, travel costs, accommodation costs and vehicles.

* The FFA accept that owner Perth Glory owner Tony Sage was ignorant to the systemic, massive, ongoing breaches of the salary cap over the course of three years at the club he runs. Perth CEO Jason Brewer resigns from Perth Glory. That Brewer only joined Glory in August 2013, while the cap breach includes $26,000 in illicit payments for the 2012 season is not investigated by the FFA.

* FFA corruptly influence the standings of the A-League in order to benefit betting agencies following the Perth cap breach. Rather than applying the ethical punishment of placing Perth Glory last in the A-League (in a similar way to Gallop's punishment of the NRL team Canterbury in 2002), the FFA invent a punishment of Perth being placed 7th in the A-League to ensure that betting companies do not lose money from people who had put bets on Perth to finish last. Damien De Bohun specifically states that keeping betting companies happy was the main reason for this punishment.

* The PFA vs FFA Dispute becomes public in June after 6 months of private disagreement. Gallop's FFA & the PFA trade media statements in a back and forth public argument regarding the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

* Men's national team boycotts public appearances in September during CBA dispute.

* Women's national team boycott high profile tour of United States, as "whole of football" agreement sees national teams linked into the A-League which is the focus of dispute.

* Gallop refuses to attend negotiations with the Women's national team. Media reports that De Bohun "stormed out" of negotiations after the PFA refuses to accept his pay offer.

* FFA failed to lock in a booking at Etihad Stadium for a potential Grand Final. Their "tentative booking" was over-ridden by the AFL and their solid bookings for the 3rd & 4th of May. As the MCG was also booked by the AFL, the FFA was forced to move the Grand Final to the much smaller AAMI Park and a 30,000 strong crowd, forgoing a potential crowd of 50,000 at Etihad. While this resulted in a better atmosphere, the FFA are heavily cash strapped and their failure hurts their solvency.

* National team coach Postecoglou criticises both parties regarding the CBA dispute during an appearance on a sports panel show. Subsequently Postecoglou apologises for his comments criticising his employer the FFA, and makes a statement further criticising the PFA for "hurting the national team program by boycotting commercial partners." Gallop "accepts Ange's regret" over the statement.

* Brisbane Roar owners the Bakrie group given a 'final warning' in August, as Luke Brattan leaves the club due to non-payment of wages. The Roar are failing to pay player & staff wages, superannuation & commercial invoices on time. Many Brisbane supporters boycott memberships, leaving them with slightly better figures than the Mariners. Brattan joins Melbourne City, then eventually returns to their parent club Melbourne City in a similar salary cap rort to the Victory loan rort.

* The FFA change the transfer regulations specifically to allow Melbourne Victory to re-sign Archie Thompson by introducing a "loyalty bonus".

* After years of financial woes for multiple Tinkler owned properties, Newcastle Jets fail to pay staff & player wages for over a month in May 2015, they go bankrupt, and FFA terminate Nathan Tinklers license. The Jets finish last.

* Frank Lowy arranges the nepotist installation of his son as the chairman of the FFA.

* The FFA begin a war with active supporter groups as a result of the leaking of private FFA documents to a newspaper who proceed to splash peoples photos & information over the front page of major newspapers. The information contains factually false statements by the FFA, includes minors and incorrect photos. One example of an incorrect ban was a member banned by the FFA despite being in Afghanistan for the military at the time.

* The FFA send out Damien De Bohun to defend their failure over the ban list, and the bans themselves. The FFA gladhands to the anti-football media, failing to condemn the leaking of the list (nor trying to have the story quashed legally), they do not apologise for the list being leaked, and they do not defend football supporters even as elements of the anti-football media compare supporters to terrorists.

* Damien De Bohun lies to the media and the public about an appeal process. Written statements from the FFA advised that no appeal process existed nor would any banned support have a request for an appeal listened to at all. A month later, De Bohun was saying that an appeal process had "existed all along", contrary to previous written statements to banned supporters. After that, Gallop then stated that an appeal process would be "introduced", followed by the appeal process existing already but needing "fine tuning".

* Gallop then ignores supporter demands for an independent appeals process, with thought bubbles regarding "community service", and closes out his press conference by describing active support as a "growth strategy".

* The FFA place immense pressure on the Wellington Phoenix, refusing to approve an extension of their A-League license, despite having little trouble from the NZ team. The FFA blame poor NZ tv rights numbers for their refusal to extend the team. They are eventually given a shorter 4 year license extension.

* A-League supporters stage a walkout protest during Round 8 of the A-League. The FFA continues their silence on the issue of the appeals process and the anti-football media.

* A-League supporter groups boycott Round 9 of the A-League. The Mariners play in front of only 4510, Sydney FC 9150, Wanderers 9860 & Adelaide 6205. The FFA are further embarrassed when Wellington who are being threatened with expulsion from the A-League, host Melbourne Victory, win the game 2-0 and have the highest attendance of the round.

* A four hour meeting is held with the FFA and representatives of all 10 active supporter groups. The FFA is surprised by the clarity and planning done by the active support groups, which includes having a lawyer present to assist during the negotiations. An in-principle agreement is reached to introduce a fair, independent appeals process. The boycotts cease.

* The FFA order Wellington & Melbourne Victory to play in clashing kits of grey vs white, over-ruling the referee who ordered that Melbourne change into a typical dark blue kit. The game was effectively ruined for viewers by making the game un-watchable.



* David Gallop gets into a war of words with Tim Cahill over Cahill's remarks about the A-League lacking "vision".

* The U16 Australian side fail to win a single game at the 2016 AFC U16 Championship, thus failing to progress from the group stage & failing to qualify for the 2017 U17 World Cup.

* The U23 Australia side at the 2016 AFC U23 Championship lose to the UAE, defeat Vietnam, then draw with Jordan in the final match of the group stage. As a result of their failure to win, they are eliminated at the Group Stage and fail to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

* The 2016 FFA Cup final attracts a small crowd of 18,751 at AAMI Park. The FFA are heavily criticised for setting extremely high prices in an attempt to cash in on a Melbourne Victory vs Sydney FC match, even if it was a midweek game in a new competition still finding it's feet.

* The Bakries sit on the Roar license, failing to fill their Chief Executive position, not giving the club money to sign players. FFA sit back and watch, and hand the Bakries another extension to fulfil their ownership duties.

* The U19 Australia side at the 2016 AFC U19 Championship defeat China, lose to Uzbekistan then draw with Tajikistan. The final round draw sees Tajikistan finish 2nd, ahead of Australia on goal difference. Australia are knocked out at the group stage, failing to qualify for the 2017 U20 World Cup.

* Damien De Bohun finally quits as head of the A-League. Greg O'Rorke, a former Football NSW chairman is given the job.

* Refereeing standards slip dramatically, FFA continue to utilise the same referees who make the same mistakes over and over again. Views from Media & Supporters is that nearly every round there are games which are drastically impacted by poor decisions. Melbourne City & Sydney FC benefit from these decisions far more than other teams.

* FFA spend $1m in kids rego money, ticket sales from the A-League final series, and other revenue streams to pay Tim Cahill to play in the A-League. He signs a 2 year contract worth $9 million with the worlds richest football group (City Football Group).

* FFA change the A-League salary cap regulations to allow Melbourne City to sign Tim Cahill as a "12 month guest marquee". They use the first spot to upgrade Bruno Fornaroli, then sign Tim Cahill (who should have taken the existing 2nd marquee spot), and with their 3rd spot, sign Nicolas Colazo. This allows Melbourne City three marquees.

* The FFA reject Melbourne Victory from signing Italian international Alessandro Diamanti in the 3rd "Guest Marquee" spot.

* The FFA reject Brisbane Roar from signing Australian international Brett Holman in the 3rd "Guest Marquee" spot.

* The FFA reject Western Sydney Wanderers from signing Croatian international Eduardo in the 3rd "Guest Marquee" spot.

* FFA's "Yoshi You've Gotta Have A Team" marketing campaign turns into a Melbourne City marketing campaign after Yoshi picks Melbourne City, despite him living in Sydney. Yoshi is never heard from again once the objective of pushing Melbourne City is realised.

* Manchester City purchase Anthony Caceres from the Central Coast Mariners. Manchester City then immediately loan him to Melbourne City. The FFA do nothing while Melbourne City subvert the salary cap and the regulations that state no A-League team can purchase players from another A-League team.

* Tim Cahill breaches anti-sports corruption laws by using a mobile phone at half-time during a game. There is no public investigation of the breach, Cahill is not referred to a judiciary, nor is Melbourne City investigated for their part in mobile phones being used inside their dressing room.

* The FFA make ludicrous statements regarding a Canberra team, expecting 10,000 fans to show up to games involving the lower ranked Mariners & Wellington. This combination of teams has only ever reached over a 10,000 crowd in their home stadiums 5 times.

* The existing TV deal is worth $40 million a year over 4 years. After initial bullish expectations of a 100m per year deal, in 2013 David Gallop states "a doubling would be the least we would expect" (ie $80m/y). The new TV deal is $346 million over an increased 6 year time frame. This new deal is worth only $57.6 million per season. There are no free to air tv rights included, they will have to be sold separately. It is unlikely these rights will be worth more than several million dollars, leaving Gallop upwards of $20 million per year short of the target he himself said was the minimum football could expect.

* FFA & Melbourne Victory finally kill the North Terrace active support group.

* One year passes since the agreement between the FFA & active supporter groups regarding an independent appeals process. The FFA have not kept up their end of the agreement, and no appeal process is yet in place.

* The FFA state in November that they will have an Expansion Criteria available early in 2017. In early 2017 they delay the criteria being launched until mid-2017 at the earliest.



* FFA forced into scrambling for governance reform after their fortnight long junket to Zurich resulted in FIFA implementing a March 31 deadline for reform. The FFA board is currently elected by just 10 votes, which are comprised of 9 state/territory federations, and 1 collective vote by the A-League clubs.

* FFA head for collision course with A-League club owners regarding an increase of the FFA grant from $2.5 million to $6 million.

* Instead of releasing the expansion criteria, the FFA make a statement that an analysis of the "financial standing" of the A-League has 'revealed' that adding two new teams to the A-League would "result in losses over 6 years". No expansion criteria is publicised.

* FFA fail to reach FIFA's March 31 deadline for reform as they scramble to retain power.

* FFA fail to sell the Free To Air TV Rights to any of the commercial networks or public broadcasters ABC & SBS (unsuprising given the breakdown in the relationship between FFA & SBS bosses). Eventually, the rights "fallback" to Foxtel, who gift them for a peppercorn fee to Channel 10, who are part-owned by Foxtel. FFA refuse to acknoledge their "Cahill First" strategy has been a complete, expensive failure, nor do they acknowledge the failure to reach the minimum 80 million per year "minimum" as per David Gallop.

* FFA and Newcastle Jets kill their active support group The Squadron.

* FFA defund the Australian national futsal team, as a "short term cost saving measure". This prevents the team playing in the AFF Futsal Championship in Vietnam in November or taking part in qualification for the 2018 AFC Futsal Championship

* FIFA rejects the FFA's attempt to ram through the FFA's preferred governance reform, with the threat of a FIFA mission to takeover the running of the FFA, they are told to go back to the drawing board and come up with a more inclusive board.

* FFA cancel "Guest Marquee" rule. After allowing only Melbourne City to take advantage of the "Guest Marquee" special rule to sign Cahill (rejecting three clubs with highly rated international players), the FFA scrap the rule after just one season, having fulfilled their goal of corruptly influencing the A-League to help Melbourne City.

* With a FIFA & AFC mission in Australia to oversee continued negotiations over Governance reform, the various groups (PFA, A-League Clubs & State Federation leaders) come to a suitable arrangement, only for FFA Chairman Steven Lowy to interfere & flip enough of the State Federation leaders to scupper the reform, sending FIFA back to Europe stunned at the intervention of the non-voting FFA Chairman.

* Season 2017/18 begins with a non-existent advertising campaign. The FFA, bleeding money due to their excessive wages, produce a recycling of the "You have gotta have a team" campaign from last year, with a barely adequate campaign launch hosted in a park in Melbourne.

* FFA & local media manage to anger Australian national team manage Ange Postecoglu so much that he quits the side a week after finally qualifying for the 2018 World Cup after the intercontinenal playoffs. An expensive foreign manager is appointed and at the same time the FFA confirm that Graham Arnold will take over after the World Cup. Arnold is being paid an extremely large amount of money for a federation which had trouble qualifying the previous World Cup and is bleeding money that it will need for a future where it is not taking the majority of money from the A-League.

* FFA sell out to Disney corporation, turning an entire A-League round into the "Star Wars Round" to much derision. More effort goes into marketing a movie from a 3rd party corporation than has gone into the A-League promotion this season.

* FIFA reform deadline arrives, and FFA fail to see an agreement made with the various stakeholders. The dismissal of the FFA Board & the introduction of a FIFA Normalisation Committee appears imminent.


*FIFA decline to immediately introduce a normalisation comittee. The media speculates that Frank Lowy has uses his relationship with FIFA heavyweights to keep FIFA from dissoloving the board. A FIFA/AFC taskforce is ordered to create a committee to investigate then direct the FFA to introduce an acceptable congress makeup.

*The FIFA/AFC Taskforce arrives in Australia in February. After several days of talks, FFA Chairman Steven Lowy is absent from the final day of talks as he has a "diary clash" with his Westfields "day job", another nepotist hand me down position from his father.

*Frank Lowy manages to stall the FIFA normalisation comittee from disolving the FFA board. Instead, talks are stretched out into a "congress review working group" that will take months to sort out.

*Dismal failure at 2018 World Cup. No goals scored from open play. No wins. Australia have such a lack of attacking depth that Daniel Arzani is thrust from minimal experience in the A-League into coming off the bench to try and salvage results.

*Despite intense lobbying by Frank Lowy and his lickspittle kid Steven, the FFA Congress Review reform finally passes with an 8-2 vote, expanding the Congress that determines the direction of football and appoints the FFA Board into a larger, more democratic congress that included more A-League club votes, women's football votes, representatives from the PFA and other stakeholders.

*The Lowy family take their bat and ball and go home. Steven Lowy quits the board, having failed in his effort to maintain the Lowy chokehold over football in Australia.


*Depsite qualifying for the 2019 Women's World Cup, Matilda's coach Alen Stajcic is sacked by the FFA for alleged "workplace culture" issues. A ferocious response by a baffled media and public leaves the FFA reeling as David Gallop and new FFA Chairman Chris Nikou attempt to divert & deflect from the sacking, all the while refusing to elaborate on the reasons for the sacking.

*Stajcic's sacking is revealed to have been caused in part by a survey undertaken by the "Our Watch" organisation. As "Our Watch" is an organisation dedicated to fighting violence against women, this results in speculation that Stajcic was sacked for inappropriate behaviour towards his players. The survey is eventually found by members of the public, was currently open & and able to be completed by anyone who had the link. It is also eventually revealed that the survey was not merely limited to players, but staff and allegedly, family members.

*FFA Director Heather Reid makes comments to the media saying "if people knew the actual facts about Mr Stajcic's behaviour 'they would be shocked'." This only increases speculation and damages Stajcic's reputation, who files legal action against the FFA.

*FFA continued to oppose independent A-League reform, lobbying the states to block the reforms in order to gouge more money into FFA coffers. Just before the deadline that would see the FFA control the A-League for another year, the FFA folds, settling their in-principle agreement.

* Alen Stajcic and the FFA come to a settlement in his legal action. The FFA make a formal apology. Heather Reid makes a personal apology: "I apologise unreservedly for the damage, distress and hurt that I have caused to Alen Stajcic as a professional football coach and long-time servant to, and advocate for, Australian and women’s football. I understand that my conduct in making public and private statements may have caused serious damage to Mr Stajcic’s reputation, both in Australia and internationally." Despite the apology, Reid is not dismissed or censured for her actions, and no ethics or disciplinary investigation is launched, despite prima facie breaches of multiple FFA Constitional codes of conduct. Reid makes her way to France to watch the Women's World Cup.

*A-League TV ratings plummet. Fox Sports as part of ongoing cost cutting measures become open to 'selling' matches to interested parties, although no major interest is made public. There are also suggestions in the media that Fox Sports may not purchase the next tranche of A-League TV rights.

*A-League attendance falls slightly compared to the previous season. This makes 2018/19 the 5th season in a row the average has fallen. From 13,479 in Season 13/14 down to 10,877 for Season 2018/19 this is a difference of almost 460,000 in the seasonal total. One example of the poor viewership is an 8pm Friday game between Melbourne City and the Mariners in the final round which managed a pitiful 10,000 tv audience and 4,950 home crowd.

*Gallop announces he will resign from the FFA effective at the end of 2019.

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