Fears football is squibbing its big moment

Craig Foster is the only former professional footballer standing for a seat on the FFA board.
Craig Foster is the only former professional footballer standing for a seat on the FFA board.

As candidates for the FFA board prepare to face the public ahead of next week's elections, there's growing unease as to the motivations of several aspirants.

Eleven men and women will bid for four elected seats on the new board: the first that won't feature a member of the Lowy family in 15 years.

On Monday night in Melbourne, eight will give their ambitions and hopes for the sport at a public forum organised by lobby group Association of Australian Football Clubs.

The AAFC gathering is timely, given very little is known about the priorities of the power-seekers.

Only one - Craig Foster - has chosen to publish a statement of priorities and beliefs, which can be read at believeinourgame.com.

In that absence of intent, there's a pessimism that football could remain mired in factional battles or without a united vision.

"The football community wants, and has been asking for for many years, for a football specific champion," former player and commentator Andy Harper told the ABC.

Harper said he wanted to see people elected that are "looking to serve the game not get on the board to have the game serve them".

"Given who has nominated and given the role of football related specific experience on this spectrum ... I'm going to find it really difficult if the stakeholders look at this list and cannot find a place for Craig Foster.

"He's certainly the best of the people that have formally nominated."

Foster is one of four board candidates who, if successful, are also bidding to succeed Steven Lowy as FFA chairman.

The others are Joseph Carrozzi, current board member Chris Nikou and Mark Rendell.

Carrozzi's candidacy has raised eyebrows given his role as deputy chair of AFL club GWS Giants, which is seen sceptically as a competitor to the code in football heartland.

Seven others are in the mix for board positions: Morry Bailes, former ALP Senator Stephen Conroy, Danny Moulis, Linda Norquay, Heather Reid, Remo Nogarotto and Mark Shield.

Reid, a long-term football executive, wryly noted her election timing could be right given new constitutional guidelines for 40 per cent women.

"It's possible for once in my career being a female might work in my favour," she said.

"But I want my own credentials and achievements in the game over the last 40 years to stand on their own merits."

Four groups - state federations, professional clubs, the players union and a women's council - vote to decide the new board members in Sydney on November 19.

Australian Associated Press