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Fremantly Football Club

Constitution changes

The Fremantle Football Club, in consultation with the WA Football Commission, has been reviewing its governance structure as part of meeting the ever changing and complex needs of an AFL club.

Part of this process with the WAFC included looking at aligning the key terms of each constitution for both Fremantle and West Coast.

As a result of these discussions, the Fremantle Football Club has received approval from the WAFC to amend its constitution to move to a full board of directors approved by the WAFC.  The club has also introduced new opportunities for members to increase their engagement with the club.

Previously, two of the club’s eight directors were elected via a popularity poll. Under the changes, these elected director positions are replaced by positions approved by the WAFC. However, club members – with an appetite for hard work and to giving their time generously for their fellow members – can still nominate for board positions, but via the WAFC.

Fremantle president Dale Alcock said the board oversees a complex, high profile $60 million revenue business, and it is critical for each director to possess the skills to meet the commercial, legal and governance demands required of them, while retaining the club’s community engagement and identity.

“In making these changes it is important to the board that the Fremantle Football Club retains close contact with our members, including the introduction of new initiatives,” Alcock said.

The new initiatives include:

  • Expansion of the board’s Fans and Community Sub-Committee operations (currently made-up of three existing directors plus management) to include consultation with a selection of member representatives. Members can nominate to join and participate, with a call for nominations proposed in December 2019; and
  • A Board of Trustees to oversee the new Fremantle Dockers Foundation separate legal entity, which will include external directors who are members of the club.

In addition to the engagement initiatives, should a board vacancy arise club members can still nominate for the board, through the FFC board selection process governed by the WAFC. Information on the nomination process can be found here.

“We want to ensure that when a board vacancy arises, the best potential candidates who have the capacity, time and skills are available to nominate and serve on the board,” Alcock said.

The WAFC, the owner and licence holder for both of WA’s AFL teams, supported the change, which will result in the alignment of the Fremantle and West Coast board selection process and constitutions.

Fremantle’s two most recent member-elected directors are former club captains Peter Mann and Peter Bell.

Bell stood down from the board last year following his appointment as the club’s general manager of football.

Mann, who has very extensive football industry experience, will seek approval from the WAFC for a two-year extension when his current term expires in November.

“As the remaining elected director on the board I fully support the move to a board selection process where each member is evaluated for the skills they can offer the Fremantle Football Club,” Mann said.

 Alcock said as part of this constitutional reset, the board was keen to broaden member input and involvement with the club’s operations.

“In addition to members being able to nominate for a seat on the board via the FFC board selection process, governed by the WAFC, the club plans to establish a partly independent Board of Trustees for the proposed Fremantle Dockers Foundation separate entity, which will have implementation and governance responsibilities for the foundation,” Alcock said

“By establishing this separate entity it is intended the foundation will ramp-up its fund-raising and philanthropic activities for community organisations and community-building causes.”

The member representatives who will consult with the board’s Fans and Community Sub-Committee, appointed via a nomination process, will operate in addition to key stakeholder and coterie groups the club currently engages with regularly.

WAFC Chairman Murray McHenry said the complex nature of AFL club boards and an increasingly challenging governance and compliance environment, consistent with business and industry, meant there was a clear need for Fremantle to target the specific skill set and area of expertise for board vacancies as they arise.

 “A board’s make-up needs to always be well balanced with a range of skill-sets and expertise, so the club is best placed to deal with any issue or subject. Whilst at one level Fremantle is a sporting club, at another level it is a complex business with annual turnover of approximately $60 million that needs to be expertly managed.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs