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Opinion

An open letter to the Collingwood board and President Mark Korda

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Roar Guru
28th April, 2021
9

I write to you as a member and lifetime supporter of the Collingwood Football Club.

I ask you to invite an open process so that the members of this great club can choose the next President.

Like many members, I have felt completely powerless about what is happening at the club over the past 12 months. I can see that our club is at a crossroads and wanted to do something. So, I decided to write this open letter to put this proposal forward.

I have also developed a petition, which outlines these sentiments, so you can hear from the Collingwood faithful about their views.

As you know, over the past 12 months Collingwood has gone through a troubled time including:
• The release of the Do Better report highlighting systemic racism at the club.
• Losing long serving President Eddie McGuire when he was pressured into stepping down due to his communication around the report.
• The mismanagement of the salary cap, which led to the club forcing key players out.
• A painful trade period where supporters were left angry and hurt, not just by the trades themselves, but how we treated the players exiting.
• A team that is currently in transition at 1-5 and 17th on the ladder.
• An impending decision about whether a club legend, Nathan Buckley, will be our coach moving forward, after ten years and one kick from a premiership.

This period in Collingwood’s history does have many hallmarks to 1998-1999.

In 1998, we farewelled a President (Bob Rose, Eddie McGuire became our President at an extraordinary general meeting), the team was in transition (in 1999, Collingwood finished bottom of the ladder for only the second time), and a decision on whether a favourite son should continue as coach (Tony Shaw – he ended up being sacked, with Mick Malthouse being the replacement).

Looking back at the 1998-99 period, the President and Board were revitalised, allowing them to work with the club executives to set their own agenda for the future of the club.

Eddie McGuire

Eddie McGuire (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

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Unfortunately, this is not something that is afforded to the current board.

By electing Mark Korda as President (who has been on the Board since 2007), and Alex Waislitz as Vice President (who was part of the Eddie McGuire ticket in 1999), whether it is a fair representation or not, the board is tainted by the recent failings of the club, particularly with the systemic racism and management of the salary cap.

Mark Korda’s unconditional apology to Heritier Lumumba and other past players who have suffered systemic racism is a positive step. However, this position is clouded by the issue that Mark is a long-term board member and there has been plenty of opportunity for this to have been done previously.

The Collingwood Football Club needs to have the opportunity to be refreshed, which is why I am requesting that you allow the members to choose the next President.

This should be done to allow sufficient time for new candidates to put their hand up. This fits with Mark Korda’s approach as a collaborative leader, and our club’s current mantra: Made by Many.

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If we decide that Mark Korda is the next President, then great, he will get the opportunity to start afresh to lead his vision for the club.

If members decide it is someone else, that will be great too. What is important is our members get to choose the President that will shape our club’s future, at this critical juncture.

I am not a CEO, I am not running a large successful business, I do not have close connections with any Collingwood players, administration, or board members.

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Even if I wanted to, I could not put a ticket together that will have any respectability to contest the Board.

Like most Collingwood members, I am just an ordinary person that has a passion for the club that has played a significant part of my life and wants to see it move forward.

Please consider this proposal and I wish you all the best.

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