Monday 11 November 2019

Football Coaches Australia (FCA) yesterday presented the findings and recommendations derived from an independent study conducted by researchers at the University of Queensland (UQ) into employment conditions and well-being of football coaches in Australia.

Delegates at the Football New South Wales State Coaching Conference were informed by FCA President Phil Moss that the surveyed group included almost 430 football coaches, representing all levels of Australian football. They highlighted several key concerns, including:
(i) poor remuneration despite the number of hours spent working;
(ii) lack of formal or standard contracts;
(iii) limited legal protection by football bodies in cases of contractual breaches;
(iv) poor club governance; and
(v) lack of professionalism from club boards and officials when dealing with grievances.

Key data which came out of the survey included:

  • 85% of the coaches reported being contracted on a part-time basis and more than 75% of those employed were on contracts of 1 year or less
  • Even when contracted, only 57% of the coaches had some form of co-signed conventional written agreement, with the remainder working from emailed (6%) or handshake agreements (37%)
  • Moreover, 73% had started work as a paid football coach without a written agreement

Given these circumstances, it is not surprising that issues regarding termination were also identified, with 84% of the coaches stating they did not receive termination payments, regardless of the terms and conditions previously agreed, and regardless of any outstanding amounts owed to them.

Notably, of those who had cause to terminate, only 37% pursued a claim, with only 54% receiving a successful outcome. There were also other anomalies, that were surprisingly common, such as 15% of coaches being asked at some stage during an appointment to take a pay cut, and 10% being demoted despite being initially appointed to a higher position.

The UQ authors made four key recommendations for football coaches in Australia moving forward:
(i) increase support for the ongoing professional development of coaches;
(ii) develop contractual and remuneration guidelines;
(iii) standardise grievance and dispute resolution procedures; and
(iv) improve support for club and federation governance.

It was reported that football club committee members are often made up of volunteers with little training and understanding of governance. In particular, the introduction of standard coach contracts and a football-specific grievance procedure would provide additional support and guidance to federations, both clubs and coaches.

FCA is pleased that the UQ recommendations concur with its core constitutional objectives and ongoing mission to ensure coaches are recognised and respected within the Australian football landscape.

FCA, as a Qualifying Member of Football Federation Australia, will continue to provide a collective voice for Australian football coaches and strive to ensure that they have the means to contribute to key decisions in Australian football as an equal stakeholder.

The full UQ report is available for download from the FCA website here.

Media inquiries can be directed to FCA Chief Executive, Glenn Warry, on +61417346312