Gallop on the ball at FFA

Football Federation Australia always knew respected sports administrator David Gallop was the man to replace current chief executive Ben Buckley.
Nanjing Night Net

Within days of Gallop stepping down from his role as the CEO of the newly formed Australian Rugby League Commission in June, the FFA had opened talks with the man who had run rugby league for the past decade.

Buckley, a former AFL senior executive, said he’d raised the issue of ending his term as CEO with FFA chairman Frank Lowy ‘‘some time ago’’ but rumours of his exit had been circulating for several months.

Australia’s failed bid to land the 2022 World Cup, when $50million in taxpayer funds resulted in just one vote from FIFA in late 2010, is believed to have taken the shine off Buckley’s tenure.

Subsequent public fallouts with A-League club owners Clive Palmer and Nathan Tinkler as well as the collapse of the North Queensland Fury and a proposed Western Sydney team further damaged Buckley’s reputation.

After six years at the helm following his appointment as John O’Neill’s replacement, the former AFL chief operating officer yesterday confirmed he would quit the role when negotiations on the FFA’S new broadcast deal had concluded.

In a statement released by the FFA it was revealed Buckley had sounded out Gallop shortly after his departure from rugby league, the 47-year-old identified by his predecessor as the leading candidate.

‘‘These discussions created the opportunity for us to consider Mr Gallop as a successor to Ben,’’ Lowy said.

Buckley leaves the FFA on good terms according to Lowy, despite the disappointments of the past two years.

‘‘Ben has worked tirelessly for football both at home and abroad and has steered the game through a difficult period of consolidation,’’ Lowy said.

‘‘He has the respect and thanks of the board for his contribution and he will remain a valued friend of the game.

‘‘I wish him well for the future.’’

Confirmation that Gallop will replace Buckley means for the third time since its rebirth in 2003, FFA will be headed by a man from a non-footballing background.

Several candidates were reportedly shortlisted to Lowy in 2010 including then A-League head Archie Fraser, PFA boss Brendan Schwab and former NSL player and businessman Mike Fraser.

But Lowy was confident the federation had secured the best man possible for the role in Gallop.

‘‘Mr Gallop comes to the job well-equipped to meet the challenges ahead,’’ he said.

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