FFA CEO David Gallop steps down as A-League independence looms

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 12 July 2019
David Gallop

Football Federation Australia (FFA) CEO David Gallop has revealed he will step down from his role at the end of this year, as footballs top tier league, the A-League, seeks independence from the governing body.

Gallop joined the sporting body in 2012, when he departed as the boss of Rugby League's leading body the National Rugby League (NRL).

During his time with the organisation, Gallop was instrumental in a securing the record six-year media rights deal with Fox Sports.

However, heavy criticism has been leveled at Gallop over this and other areas of the game, as interest in the A-League, as well as audience attendance and viewership, declines.

The issue reached boiling point earlier this year when the league decided that it would seek independence from the governing body and operate as its own organisation.

“It has been very satisfying to be part of so many important moments including the introduction of the FFA Cup, winning the AFC Asian Cup, participating in the FIFA Women’s World Cup & FIFA World Cups, securing a record six-year media rights deal with Fox Sports, strengthening the financial aspects of women’s football, adding expansion teams to the Hyundai A-League and growing the huge participation base of the game," Gallop says.

“There are challenges given the expectations that are created by the global mirror that is held up to the game in this country’s competitive sporting landscape, but enormous growth opportunities are available if the stakeholders are united.”

Gallop was also responsible for helping secure major sponsorships from Caltex and Westfield for the Socceroos and Matildas, respectively.

As the right debate around the A-League continues, Foxtel revealed earlier this year that it would be looking to scale back on its sporting rights deals, with industry insiders saying the A-League is likely to be the first to hit the chopping block.

When asked about whether Ten would look to reinvest in the code, chief sales officer Rod Prosser previously told AdNews the network's view on sporting rights is unchanged, stating that while sport is an "important mix" in a schedule, the right deal has to deliver on both ratings and revenue.

Ten has been tipped as the most likely to negotiate with Foxtel and the sporting body on more rights, should the pay-TV provider scale back, as Ten's sporting calendar has lessened following the shift in cricket rights last year to Seven and Foxtel.

It also remains to be seen what impact Gallops departure and the breakaway of the A-League will have on the FFA's current agency arrangements.

Last year, the FFA named Saatchi & Saatchi and Starcom as its creative and media agency partners, following a competitive pitch.

The two Publicis agencies replace incumbents BMF and MediaCom and were hired to lead a fresh approach for the FFA, including the Hyundai A-League.

“David has provided strong and distinguished leadership over a long period and particularly through a difficult last few years for FFA as we have managed the governance and structural changes around the game," FFA chairman Chris Nikou says.

“The timing of David’s decision is predicated on the recent progress of the New Leagues Working Group with regards to determining the future governance model for Australia’s Professional Football Leagues and FFA."

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