A message from Chairman Sean McElduff

Dear Members and Supporters,

I am writing to you to encourage you to Save the Date of 10th September 2019. The is the date for the meeting for a vote on constitutional reform at the Parramatta Leagues Club (“PLC”).

As the owner of the Parramatta National Rugby League Club (“the Parramatta Eels or Football Club”), the PLC has an important role in the ongoing success and stability of the Parramatta Eels. Whilst not involved in the active management and oversight of the Parramatta Eels, the PLC does provide financial support and two of seven Parramatta Eels board members whose role is to provide oversight and direction on the management of the Parramatta Eels.

I want to encourage all Parramatta Eels Members and Supporters who are eligible PLC voting members to attend the General Meeting at Bankwest Stadium on Tuesday 10th September 2019 commencing at 7pm in the Cumberland Lounge.

This is one of the most important meetings in the Parramatta Eels recent history as eligible PLC voting Members will have an opportunity to endorse important governance reforms that will ensure that the stability and growth that we have achieved over the last three years in the Football Club continues.

The Parramatta Eel’s current independent Board members, Management, staff, players and coaches are united in their support for the proposed reforms that will: -

  • See the Parramatta Eels included in the PLC constitution for the first time and ensure that the Eels remains in full ownership of PLC Members.
  • Provide certainty for the future funding of the Parramatta Eels and junior league.
  • Allow the Administrator to appoint the first Board enabling a pathway for PLC Members to elect future PLC Board members.
  • Introduce a triennial system for Member elections so that electing future Board members is done in an orderly fashion thus eliminating the constant changes caused by voting blocks and factions.
  • Introduce Postal and Electronic voting to ensure all Members can have their say.

The proposed reforms as being put forward to members to ensure the PLC and PNRL continue to build on the last 2 plus years. A few key points I would to highlights are:-  

  • General elections for all seven board positions have been problematic in the last two election cycles.  They have been marred with poor publicity and embarrassment for the club and subsequently some members of those boards have been found to be not fit and proper by the regulator or were removed by the government. The appointment of the first board ensures a safer transition from administrator back to an elected board. 
  • Members will get to select their board via the acknowledged best practice of using a triennial rule for future elections. This will ensure that the history of Directors only being elected via the popularity of their ticket is avoided. A key problem with the make up of previous Boards. 
  • A stable environment for our Leagues Club is critical to ensure the management, staff, coaches and players at the Parramatta Eels are able to focus on their set roles and responsibilities. To do this they need certainty and skilled directors at Board level for both the Parramatta Eels and the PLC.

Most of you know that we have not had a stable environment during our recent past history. It doesn’t really matter how or why this happened but the facts remain that during the period between 2009-2016, the Parramatta Eels had:

  • 5 coaches;
  • 6 CEOs;
  • 25 Directors; and
  • 5 Salary Cap breaches

Whilst some level of change is necessary, the constant changes in leadership that occurred over this period of time created too much instability and uncertainty for our coaches, management, staff and players and our performance on and off the field suffered.

In the three years to Oct 2017, the Parramatta Eels made an operating loss of over $32m. Over this period, our financial performance was in the bottom 25% of NRL clubs when it should be in the top 25%. Last year, we were able to reduce this operating loss to under $4m but we need to continue to do better over the next 3 years.

Over the last two plus years, our coaches, players and management have been able to operate in a more stable environment and as a consequence, important initiatives such as the Football Review, our three-year Strategic Plan and our new $40m Community and high performance facility at Kellyville Park are being delivered. Importantly, our on field performance has improved.

The Football Club with your support, is starting to move towards its rightful place as one of the premier sporting organisations in Australia. We are not there yet but we are heading in the right direction. To ensure we maintain the current level of stability and continue our period of growth, the Football Club is committed to supporting the PLC Administrator, Max Donnelly in his attempt to implement key reforms at the PLC.

It is critical to the ongoing success of the Parramatta Eels that we have stability on our Board. As such, I am asking all Eels Members and fans who are three-year financial members of the PLC to attend a meeting of PLC Members on Tuesday 10th September 2019 commencing at 7pm in the Cumberland Lounge, level 1, Bankwest Stadium.

I urge you to vote FOR in support of Max’s proposed reforms as this will be an important step to ensure that the Parramatta Eels can continue to move forward in a strong and stable way.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Sean McElduff
Parramatta Eels Chairman