Trouble for football board

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The board behind the region’s national youth league football team appears to be in disarray, with just three board members left and the chairman saying he’ll resign at the end of the current season.

Nelson Weekly understands that three board members of the Nelson Marlborough Falcons football team have resigned in the past month, leaving just chairman Aldo Miccio, his brother Francis and Blenheim-based Nigel Thompson.

But Aldo doesn’t appear to be aware of the shrinking board, telling the Weekly last week that there are still five board members but two would step down once three representatives from Nelson Bays Football and Marlborough Football are appointed.

But two of the people he named as currently on the board have confirmed they resigned weeks ago. Even worse, Nelson Bays Football chairman John Armstrong has rejected any proposal that would see him supplying board members to the Falcons, calling the board “in turmoil”.

“Aldo sent an email last week asking for two board members from Nelson Bays Football ‘as soon as possible’. But he hasn’t disclosed any financial information or what their financial commitments are. We won’t commit to a board where we don’t have that information. Why would we want to go onto a board that in this situation? It would be crazy, I’m not interested in doing that,” says John.

“I told him to send a full and frank proposal and I’ll take it to the district executive to discuss, but I haven’t seen that yet.”

The Nelson Marlborough Falcons are a private team that play in the New Zealand Football-run ASB Youth League. They won the right to a youth league licence three years ago over Nelson Bays Football, which runs the game in Nelson on behalf of Christchurch-based Mainland Football, one of the country’s six federations.

This year, the Falcons have also been left without a major sponsor and New Zealand Football had talks with Aldo in Auckland last Thursday to discuss the $20,000 entry fee which hadn’t been paid.

Aldo says a new major sponsor has been signed though, which will be announced in “five weeks”.

The regular season ends on December 21, eight weeks away.

“We’re set to announce, in about five weeks’ time, our sponsor for the rest of the season and for next season, which is fantastic,” says Aldo.

“We’re just waiting for the new strips to arrive and then we’ll get their logo on it, and then we’ll be able to announce it.”

He also said New Zealand Football were being “very patient” with the late entry fee and were “understanding”.

He was bullish about the future of the Falcons, saying it was still his goal to have a men’s national league side, but admitted that he was resigning from his role as chairman at the end of the season.

That would leave a two-man board.

Cam Mitchell of New Zealand Football says he was happy with the discussions with Aldo last week and that they have agreed to a payment plan for the team. He says the governance of the team will be reviewed at the end of the season. “As it sits, the Falcons are meeting the obligations in terms of their licence and we think it’s positive that they’re looking at their governance structure.”

On the pitch, the Falcons are unbeaten, playing fantastic football and Aldo says that’s a huge success story.

“On the field it’s been unreal stuff this season. It highlights the depth of football and is a slap in the face of all those people who didn’t back the team, didn’t think they’d do well.”