“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.”
It has been 1,383 days since the New Zealand Men’s International football team played a game in Aotearoa. Just a shade over three years, nine months. Imagine if the All Blacks didn’t play a home fixture for three years. You can’t, because it would never happen.
The ‘All Whites’ have made the news this week, not a result of their sporting prowess — although the 2020 Olympic “Oly-Whites” emerged last month with burnished credentials having played their way into the knockout stages before crashing out on penalties against Japan. In fact, the team itself hasn’t made the news, but their nickname has.
Some background first. New Zealand Football (NZF) as an organisation has had a turbulent last few years. The swift retirement of previous CEO Andy Martin shortly before an independent review into NZF’s conduct and culture took place, should be enough indication of that. Led by Phillipa Muir, a leading employment lawyer, the review then found that,
“There needs to be a greater focus on staff wellbeing and developing people,” at NZ Football, while noting the lack of any dedicated human resources function in the organisation.
She also noted the organisation had no diversity and inclusion policy, no women on its senior management team, and that only 21 per cent of its staff were female.
Muir said there was a perception held by some that NZ Football was a “boys’ club,” and that there was “a tolerance of inappropriate banter” in parts of the organisation.
The review had 22 recommendations, which you can read here. Core among them were the revelations that the organisation had no player complaints procedure, that the Executive Committee (Exco) “needs to demonstrate strong and inclusive leadership with its CEO and work more collaboratively to improve communication and trust” and that NZF “develop a culture that is respectful, inclusive and has a common vision.”
If you have read the latest Mediaworks review coverage, which also highlighted a “boys club” culture and “a tolerance of inappropriate banter”, then you’ll recognise things at New Zealand Football were not at all well in 2018, and had…