Roosters board responds to Wilson withdrawal

How artist Josh hall saw the unfolding turmoil at North Ballarat Football ClubRELATED COVERAGEWilson after a return as North Ballarat chairmanPeter Wilson only nomination for NBFC chairman’s rolePeter Wilson’s hopes to lead a new-look North Ballarat Football Club board of management in the pursuit of securing the Roosters’ long-term future in the VFL are over.

Wilson has withdrawn his nomination to take on the role of chairman after six members of his ticket were deemed ineligible to stand for the board.

The former chairman was set to return to the position, which he held for more than decade up to and through the Roosters’ premiership years of 2008, 2009 and 2010, after being the only candidate when nominations closed on January 24.

Wilson told The Courier on Wednesday that he had reluctantly pulled out after an extraordinary meeting of the outgoing board of management determined more than half of his support group of 10 were no longer eligible to stand or vote in the upcoming election.

He said the board had ruled that to eligible to stand for the board or vote, members must have been paid up before October 31 – as set out in the rules of the club.

Wilson said while this was the rule, he questioned its “real” intent.

He said the date had been set in the days when the club’s annual meeting was held late in the year to ensure members were paid up at least a month beforehand.

With the 2016-17 annual meeting not taking place until Tuesday, February 21, this lead-up time now been extended to three months.

Anyone signed since a Roosters’ membership drive was launched in early November with the objective of making North Ballarat long-term presence in the VFL financially viable will be unable to vote in the election when it opens on Friday and runs until February 19.

Wilson said the decision to stand by the October deadline was also in conflict with a letter sent to members by interim chairman Shaune Moloney on January 3 that stated new members needed to join by January 24 to be eligible to vote.

The October deadline ruled out Judy Verlin, Justin Kroussoratis, Ian Corcoran, David Shepherd, Andrew Oliver and Paul Bregazzi.

Wilson said while like himself Leigh Marriott, Tim Bodey, Tony Godfrey and John Polkinghorne were eligible to stand in the election, they had also withdrawn their nominations.

Wilson’s group are not the only casualties in the latest fall-out.

Moloney and fellow board member Stephen Jurica have also resigned – leaving just four members on the board in Di Nevett, Mark McGrath, Ray Gluyas and Richard Start.

Moloney, who is a former Roosters captain and premiership player, said he loved the club and had great affection for it, but he was not the right person to take the club forward.

He said he had also withdrawn his nomination for the board.

Board spokesman Richard Start said the board regrettedthe decision of former chairman Peter Wilson to withdraw his nomination.

“The board was looking forward to having Peter as chairman and working with him to rebuild the club’s financial position.

“However, we accept his decision, and will now focus on the upcoming election.”

Start said it was regrettable that six members of Wilson’s “ticket” did not meet nomination criteria under the club’s constitution.

“As a board, we had to abide by the rules of the constitution.

“The current board is unable to make amendments to those rules, but it may well be that a future board will move to clear up the anomaly that resulted in their ineligibility.

“They would certainly have been high-quality candidates,” he said.

Start said he, like all associated with the club, were deeply concerned at the current instability.

“It is a priority of the remaining board members to see the club through to the elections later this month, and thereafter work with the new board to restore the club to its rightful position as a strong and powerful force in football.

“The events of the past 18 months have been distressing for many people.

“We want to put all that behind us and move forward with confidence,” Start said.

Wilson said he had been buoyed to have rallied the support of a group people from the broader community and business sector to work for the Roosters, and it was disappointing they were not getting an opportunity to stand and hopefully help the club get through a difficult times for the benefit of others.

“This isn’t an easy decision.”

He said it had been well documented the club had financial issues and he certainly had fears for its future.

The departure of the Wilson-led group leaves uncertainty as to who will be the future chairman.

Wilson said that decision would be up to the newly elected board.

With the club having stated that based on privacy entitlements of individuals it is not prepared to public release the names of other nominations the board, it is unknown how the withdrawal of the Wilson group will impact the election.

A cloud has been hanging over the head of the Roosters since the NBFC board revealed during last season that it had a cash flow problem, resultingin it falling behind in player payments.

It was not until the first week in December that the board agreed to commit to have a team in the VFL in 2017.

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