Football in turmoil


AS the dust settles on a World Cup campaign that has thrust football to the fore of most sports fans' consciousness, it seems that at a local level the sport has managed to shoot itself in the foot.

The excitement and optimism that was felt at the beginning of the season under the banner of the newly formed North Coast Football Zone has slowly dwindled.

Following on from the resignations from the Management Committee of President Jim George and board members Paul Kelly and Catherine McKimm, the final straw has been the departure of Operations Manager Gary Phillips.

George has remained quiet since standing down from his role in late May but the departure of Phillips is the straw that has broken the camel's back and has brought the former president out of his self-imposed silence.

"The recent departure of Gary Phillips from North Coast Football is something I regard as a tragic and immense loss," he said.

"Here was a uniquely talented and hugely experienced football professional, one whose loss will be a huge setback to the development of football in the state of NSW.

"Those responsible for the loss of Gary Phillips to football should hang their heads in shame."

George's outburst is proof of the underlying discontent within the zone's ranks with a precious few ruining the game for the majority by acting in the best interests of their own personal agendas.

As yet the former president is yet to make contact with either Kelly or McKimm in regards to the reasons for their departure but he expressed a lack of surprise if their reasons turned out to be similar to his.

"I feel outraged on behalf of football that the loss of such high quality people is indicative of a problem requiring strong and determined intervention," he said.

"I hope that all football clubs will learn from this debacle the lessons that need to be learned."

This issue has come on top of the disenchantment of a group of juniors and their parents in regards to the newly formed State Youth League.

Talented local juniors are being told that while representing the zone in the new Northern NSW competition, they're unavailable for selection in club games which has junior clubs up in arms.

It also leaves many juniors disappointed as they simply want to play on weekends with their friends as well as be part of the new talented player programs.

The clubs have a hard task in front of them as it will take more than a 3-1 Socceroos victory over Japan to heal these wounds.

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