NZF chairman steps aside after review
Criticisms of Shaw’s role made it impossible to stay
New Zealand Football chairman Deryck Shaw has resigned. It’s the latest twist in the ongoing fallout from the NZF review, which was released last Wednesday.
The review contained both explicit and implicit criticism of the board.
Shaw informed various stakeholders yesterday of his decisison to step down.
Phil Barry will be the interim chairman for at least the rest of this year.
Shaw has been under severe pressure for the last few months, since the Football Ferns/Andreas Heraf scandal first came to light in June.
That pressure only increased with the various revelations and allegations around former CEO Andy Martin, even though much of that couldn’t be detailed in Phillipa Muir’s review, because the NZF board had signed a confidentiality agreement with Martin as part of the terms of his departure.
The revelation in the Herald in August that both Martin and Heraf had been paid significant settlements also angered many football stakeholders.
Last week Shaw maintained he wanted to remain at the helm of the board, to be part of the implementation of the changes recommended by the review.
But it’s believed the board has been split, with some feeling that Shaw’s position was untenable.
A further layer was added on Wednesday, when the Herald revealed that board member Jon Ormond had resigned.
In a statement sent to the board, Ormond said that the details in the confidential element of the review meant that ongoing tenure on the board came down to a conscience vote.
“As is now a matter of public record, the recent NZF review also comprised a confidential briefing to the board about matters which fell within the purview of the review but which cannot be published by NZF or the reviewer due to legal constraints, including obligations of confidentiality,” said Ormond
“I formed the view that when read together with the published portion, that the position of the chair, and potentially the board itself was untenable. The collective duty of a board has essentially made this a conscience vote. I respect those board members who prefer to act from the inside to effect change.”
Some other board members are said to be currently considering their positions.
Shaw has been the president of NZF since 2015, and deserves credit for some of his achievements, especially in the way he helped to mend the nearbroken relationship with OFC.
But ultimately his inability to manage and oversee Martin, in what Muir referred to as a “handsoff approach” proved to be the pivotal factor. Lima Sopoaga admits he went to school to play rugby and eat his lunch. He saw the sport as his ticket to potentially making a better life.
So when the opportunity to accept a lucrative offer to continue his career in England arose, he made the decision to do what was best for his family — leaving the All Blacks dream behind.
Speaking to The Times, Sopoaga said the contract could change not just his own life, but a few lives.
“To come over here, to uproot my partner [Miriam] and daughter [Milla, aged one] was a very big decision,” he said. “But in the long run, it will be the right one.
“Guys in New Zealand who are second or third string, we’re not getting paid the same as the Beauden Barretts. I fell into that category, I’ve no qualms about it, that’s the way it goes.
“Now, if I’m smart and make the right choices, if I’m not buying stupid cars and stuff like that, this money will be put to good use. Who wouldn’t want that for their family?
“Things were tight at home and I can remember times when Mum and Dad struggled. But we got through, our house was filled with love.
“I’m not just playing for myself over here, it’s about making a better life for my family, making Mum and Dad’s life a bit easier, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews.”
Sopoaga left New Zealand at the end of this year’s Super Rugby season with 16 test caps for the All Blacks and 88 matches for the Highlanders to take up a 21⁄ year deal with Wasps, reportedly worth £1.5m (NZ$3,065,000).
The 27-year-old said now that he was ineligible to represent the All Blacks, he was enjoying watching them play from the perspective of a fan. However, he was grateful for the opportunities he had to live out his dream and play in the black jersey despite forfeiting his claim by moving abroad.
“If someone had said to me when I was eight years old that I was going to play 16 times for the All Blacks, starting twice, that would have been enough for me. I got to do what many people walking this Earth aren’t able to do, that’s to achieve their dreams.”
Sopoaga has found plenty to enjoy already in a short time in England, giving the example of the price of avocados as a big tick in the pros column.
“I couldn’t believe it, it’s about 50p (NZ$1) for an avocado, that would cost six times as much back home.
“We want to make the most of our opportunity here, to experience a new culture in England, to learn a new language, to get to know new people.
“I’ve been to Newcastle recently,” he explained.
“I couldn’t understand a word anyone said. I tried to order some food and it wasn’t really happening. I got in an Uber, I couldn’t understand the driver and we both just ended up laughing. I’m sure they couldn’t understand me either. I thought I’d come to live in an Englishspeaking country.”
NZF chairman Deryck Shaw has resigned in the wake of the Muir report into the culture of the organisation.