devo's volleyball – Australian volleyball: news and views

Poll result

Posted by devo on September 18, 2009

Do you support an Integrated National Structure for volleyball in Australia?

One hundred people voted in the poll. It is clear that only a minority of our voters were opposed to a move towards an integrated national governance structure for volleyball in Australia. Although some people are tentative about the move, it’s time that Volleyball Australia and the states got on with it.

Do it now!
What about a 5 year trial?
No way – too risky!
~ 46 votes
~ 29 votes
~ 25 votes
~ 46%
~ 29%
~ 25%

32 Responses to “Poll result”

  1. Steve said

    Interesting way to read the results Al!

    Given a trial is not really feasible (can you imagine the amount of work that would be involved re-regstering state bodies, rebuilding funding networks, explaining to funding bodies WHY all this happened etc …) if it happens it happens for good. Given less than half were 100% behind a change I would take these results to say don’t do it!

    PS Take a guess which way I voted!

  2. Steve said

    I just think that with something this big there needs to be a clear and overwhelming madate to shake things up, and that doesn’t exist.

    It would also be interesting to see the results broken down by state. VSA (and I am only using them as an example) may be completely ineffective and so everyone from SA is voting yes, while VVI has produced a state volleyball centre that I can assure you wouldn’t be there if the AVF was in charge (would be seen as favouritism by other states, and so they would be working towards a centre in every state while not getting one in any), which should see VVI getting a more favourable review.

    Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

    • devo said

      Unfortunately, I can’t give you the break down you want. If you want to pay for the upgrade for us, I will be able to do so for future polls. ;D

      A clear mandate? 75% of pollers were looking for change. Only 25% were against change. Are we looking at the same figures? C’mon Steve, get with the flow.

      • Steve said

        That is one interpretation of the results Al, but to me it reads 46% saying let’s change things up, 25% saying don’t do anything and 29% undecided on which way to go hence their middle of the road vote. In the real world that middle of the road option doesn’t exist and it is a presumptuous to say that if only the two real options were presented the 29% would vote withe the 46% isn’t it Al?

        • devo said

          75% of people opted for change.You can equivicate any way that you want to. Only 25% said, “No way.” Or are you suggesting that our readership can’t read the options?

          • Steve said

            I am saying the options included a non-option, and you are assuming how the people who voted for the non-option would vote amongst the two real options. I don’t disagree that some of the 29% wuld go with the 46%, but I think it is wrong to suggest all would and that is what you are doing. If the outcome was 60/40 would you still be as confident with your assertion that a mandate exists?

  3. Caveman said

    There is no way the AVF is going to get out of the deal with the Dandenong Council so as to stop paying the $240,000 per year for the next twenty or so years without losing all the money paid so far, and the AVF wouldn’t waste that.
    There was only Victoria and New South Wales stopping this program from going ahead every other state was ready to go with it, now that Terry Jones is (edited devo) gone, maybe at least Victoria may change its mind and go with the proposed Structure change.
    THe AVF also could not do anything regarding the stupid situation that has occurred in Victoria as far as the ball approval is concerned, (and currently I’m embarrassed to be a Victorian and I know that there are some Victorian State Coaches who are as well) that must go until the contract runs out at the end of 2010. In otherwords what’s done ! And it is best to look towards the future rather than dwell on the past.
    As far as your comment regarding statistics is concerned … usually I would agree with you but in this case I do not, the percentages are in line with what I know, and I myself voted (and only once I might add) for the new structure.
    I have been involved with volleyball since I was a kid at school and I am sick and tired of other sports like Netball and Basketball doing better than us in that time, something has to be done about it.
    I believe 100% in the points expressed by “Eldo” and believe that they should be implemented.
    I may be a caveman but I am not stupid, to expect an overall change in the way that volleyball is looked at by the overall population of Australia CANNOT come from individual state bodies, it can only come from a co-ordinated effort from the AVF.

    • Steve said

      So you think the state volleyball centre would exist if the AVF had been in control of Victorian volleyball? Would someone at the AVF had expended the amount of time and effort on a project that would only benefit a small part of their membership base? I doubt it. I am not saying the AVF would walk away from the state centre, I am saying it wouldn’t exist at all!

      Also, don’t put it on Terry’s head that VVI said no to the national structure. It was a VVI decision made by the board, of which Terry was just one member. Given how useless the AVF has been over an extended period I honestly can’t see that VVI had any other option.

      As for the ball issue … I can see both sides of this. Yes it would be great to have the one ball used everywhere, but at the same time why should the Victorian volleyball public have to take a financial hit to use a ball that isn’t necessarily a better product. Are you prepared to have your players pay higher fees to play with Mikasa? This is actually a perfect example of why the AVF should NOT be in charge everywhere. In my view it is fantastic that VVI said “Hang on, you are supposedly using national buying power to give us balls at $X per ball and Y free per year, when we as a single state can source these other balls for less than this. Sorry, but we owe our members more than to take your crappy deal, come back when you can match or beat the deal we can get ourselves”. How is this bad?

      The AVF can bring about change by being a customer focused organization that has great ideas and presents a roadmap for implementing those ideas. It does not need to do the implementation itself.

      It is pretty clear there are entrenched views on this, but I can guarantee that I won’t be changing mine until the AVF can prove itself to be something other than a feckless organization that has done little for any Australian volleyball player that hasn’t worn green and gold.

      • devo said

        Why wouldn’t the Centre exist? The state manager would have access to the same state funding arrangements. As the state manager he would be trying to get the best deal for volleyball, not only in Victoria, but Australia. State managers would be sharing and cooperating to achieve similar goals for their section of Australia. (read State)

        • Steve said

          Sorry Al, but I just don’t see it playing out that way. Strategic direction would come from Canberra and state managers would be there to implement that strategy. My gut tells me that the aim would be for consistency amongst states and so the initiative shown by VVI by Terry Jones and the Board and the people in place before them such as Tom Jones and Kevin O’Flaherty would be gone, as would the chance to take advantage of local networking. Do you really think it was just the ED that got the state centre rolling? It was as much board members as the full time staff. Are AVF board members going to be travelling around the country trying to get a good deal for each state, or are they likely to be looking for the best deal for their state?

          Like I have said a number if times, I have no problem with the AVF setting a national strategy that includes grass roots strategies, in fact I think they have a responsibility to do this. I just don’t think they are best placed to implement the strategy or would be able to do as good a job in a particular state as a state association can.

      • markleb said

        I’ve never seen anything to suggest that the AVF would be in charge of all state bodies. I’m not sure where this ‘if the AVF was in charge’ etc comes from.
        Having individuals (through the states) contribute to the financial viability of the national body is not the same as the national body suddenly being in control of all decisions.

        • Steve said

          You might want to have another look Mark… under the terms of reference one of the focal points is:

          An analysis of Member State Constitutions in regard to winding up of
          associations and distribution of assets.

          Also from the letter to state governments:

          “The basis of the proposal is to combine the eight state and territory associations, and the national body, into a single legal entity. ”

          If winding up the state associations and only having the AVF is not putting the AVF in charge of the states I am not sure what is!

  4. Caveman said

    I never said “So you think the state volleyball centre would exist if the AVF had been in control of Victorian volleyball?”

    I said “There is no way the AVF is going to get out of the deal with the Dandenong Council” the deal has been done, and that’s that. Please read what I said properly !

    • Steve said

      Perhaps take your own advice chief.

      I said the centre would not exist at all if the AVF had been running Victoria instead of VVI and you came back saying that of course it would because of the deal with Dandenong council! Your comment is predicated on the state centre existing prior to the AVF taking control, which is a different fact pattern altogether.

      Does that make sense?

  5. Neil Cocks said

    The ball deal with the AVF was better than the Molten one, unfortunately I cannot go into details as this is private between the two parties.
    But one thing I can tell you is that all states (except Victoria) were better off with it as they did not have to replace balls during the various State League seasons, whereas Victoria did.

    • Steve said

      The decision made by VVI would suggest otherwise Neil.

    • Steve said

      Happy to take you at your word though, and would be disappointed of VVI made a decision that wasn’t in the best interests of it’s members. I just find it very hard to believe that they would do that.

      • Neil Cocks said

        Seeing that I was doing the deal, you would think that I would know whats what wouldn’t you ??
        Name five people (besides the board) who are not happy to see Terry Jones go.

        • Neil Cocks said

          Do you want a listing of those country associations that think that VVI is not worth the money that it costs to affiliate with it (apart from the player Insurance).

  6. Joe Jeffries said

    I’m not a big volleyball fan (playing indoors, sheltered from the English rain, is not quite the same as leaping around on the golden beaches of Australia!) but it’s an interesting development. What would the changes mean for the sport? Please excuse my ignorance!


  7. edbinnie said

    I will start by saying that I am a huge proponent of Integrated National Gonvernance.
    Why run 10 separate accounts, when 1 finance person can manage them all. Why have multiple people doing the same thing that can essentially be decentralised. Why not work together as one group?

    That said, I think there is a significant level of fear over the AVF management and focus – every commercial deal, every invested dollar (and every financial loss) has been focused on the national team(s). Women’s AVL was butchered to “help” the Women’s programme, but as far as I can tell, this plan is still lacking key areas of implementation that are sought for in the initial project from 2007 – to the detriment of both the AVL and the women’s team (and the volleyballing public).

    AVL teams were charged a huge premium to fly with QANTAS for cheap flights for the national team, but I’m sure that net net, it would have been cheaper for the teams to have just given money directly to VTAM or VTAW (and people would feel better about it)

    Huge money was spent (and lost) on the World Tour Event, even as the National Beach Tour was falling apart.

    I guess the concern is, to what extent will the AVF continue to pillage regional and grassroots volleyball for the sake of the Senior team? This is why I feel it is so important for the AVF to come up with a completely detailed implementation plan, budget etc, not just an org structure. I do not believe this is the AVF’s intention, but unfortunately all recent history has shown otherwise.

    And to be honest, I still fail to see how the current plan is going to make a lick of difference. The overall structure of states etc will remain in place, as will all their responsibilities. As it stands, the AVF right now can come up with 101 strategic plans, but the implementation and execution still lies at the hands of the state/regional centre, even with a slightly modified reporting structure. So where the regional centre is not implementing or is facing difficulties, will the AVF divert funding/resources to aid that area? Or will it fall into the too hard basket, and we stay as we are right now?

    I also think that saying that all states outside of NSW and VIC were supportive of this plan sounds a little naive – if you ask WA, SA and QLD if they are prepared to forfeit registration revenue to NSW to help establish more programmes there, what would the state response be?

    As a NSW Volleyball board member a few years ago, many other state and AVF board members were saying that we weren’t doing enough, and that it was NSW and VIC that were holding back the success (in terms of national exposure and sponsorship) of the sport in Australia. When I put that question of diverting funding to them, only the ACT said that they were happy to help out.

    Under a FULL national governance, funding should be dispersed to where the greatest return, growth and long term success would be.

    Smart corporate governance also tells you to cut programmes, resources and funding where there is poor performance or past success.

    For this to move forward, there needs to be a full business plan, and budget worked out, not just a “trust us” statement and an org chart.

    • Steve said

      Agree in full Ed. As I mentioned in the original discussion on this the AVF should be acting as a shared service centre for the states. Let the states focus on service delivery and instead of having someone without appropriate qualifications in each state trying to do finance, tax, marketing etc have one properly qualified person be employed by the AVF do this for everyone.

  8. Christian Stapff said

    Speaking from afar,

    The Canadian System is precisely what we are trying to dismantle in Australia.
    It would be useful to look at the benefits of staying with the current system in Australia.

    1-the states are charged with developing the player base at the junior volleyball level in their province–Alberta has around 14,000+ registered members.
    2-National age group championships are hosted by the provinces capable of doing so–in collaboration with Volleyball Canada
    3-Volleyball Canada’s focus is National Team’s(beach, indoor, sitting)
    4-the Major Associations( Alberta, BC, Sask., Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec)run a plethora of weekend tournaments generating income to pay referees, the provincial association’s programs…
    4-there is a club season, a school season, and a provincial team season, with bodies respecting each season

    The benefits–from what I can gather–are as follows:
    *Provincial associations have an ability to generate income–a must if more provincial government support is going to happen.
    *There is a clear understanding of what each party–national and provincial body–has a mandate to do
    *this arrangement of dividing up what each is responsible for, addresses areas of volleyball development needed for the sport to succeed

    In the end it is a trust issue about whether state associations are willing to cede control to AVF by winding themselves up.

    A word of caution:

    State Associations and AVF–at least in theory–ought to have mandates that complement in building the sport. If they do not, It begs the question: How can this be resolved?

    (NOTE: I am not interested in the question: Why has this not been resolved until now?–this question solves nothing and sets the scene for ongoing recrimination, blame…)

    The next step–I my view–would be for boards, National and State Associations to create a workable solution/set of directions for staff to put in place, with some measures to help states and AVF achieve their objectives

    Regular review, analysis, and fine-tuning are then needed to build success.

    One more word of caution:

    If the integrated model, which would be controlled by the National Body, runs volleyball in the states, and is seen as a failure by state sports funding agencies in achieving objectives for volleyball at a state level,
    we may well see an implosion in funding at the state level for volleyball.

    A failure by State Volleyball Associations, if they are not meeting their objectives may result just in reduced funding. State Funding has always been about State Associations meeting the objectives for their state.
    Further, since each State is geographically different with respect to Volleyball, one would assume, strategies would be different in each state–again, presumably,something a State board would be able to address more effectively than a National Body.

    This may well undermine the work done at the High Performance Level, and other areas, by AVF.

    In closing, I urge the AVF board and State Association boards to get together to craft a plan (the cost of this is far below that of not doing it!),which would begin a new era of co-operation in Australian Volleyball, and hopefully, put volleyball on the path to growth it dserves

    • eldo737 said

      Some good points Chris.
      However the big difference is that Canadian volleyball works. The fact that one state Alberta has 14,000 members and our best state has 2,700 shows your concens are a little misplaced. Ask a Canadian if they would swop Canadian volleyball for Australian volleyball (lets talk grass roots here and not the national programs.)

      • Christian Stapff said

        I would agree that Canadian Volleyball at the grassroots level is stronger–Canadians would prefer what they have currently to what is in Australia–but there is always room for reviewing to see what can be improved.

        The one point I want to emphasize, and well said by many in this Blog already,is that changing may not bring the desired and necessary changes–something ELDO has been advocating for for a long time–to grow the sport.

        At the end of the day a sport has to grow to demonstrate more participants love the game, want to watch the game, coach the game, in short: support the game.

        By its mandate, National Organizations spend the largest part on high performance programs–compare funding in budgets!
        Our high performance program demonstrates that a broad base is not needed;it is desirable to have lots of people playing, however!

        So the question to all those in the sport should ask: ” Is the mandate a National Body has, going to grow the sport at state level.
        Or will the INS lead to an extension of the High Performance focus
        only, neglecting grass roots and other programs delivered.

        USA volleyball does not have the State v State question, the growth happens at the club level–maybe we need to grow more clubs and help clubs grow!?
        The US has avoided a confrontation of, and with, groups, partly because such conflict is counterproductive. What I observe is clear lines of who is responsible for what.
        Clearly there are clubs in the US that play volleyball, and not as well as some of the most successful clubs; but they play, and attract more players to the sport.

    • Steve said

      Eldo, doesn’t this show though that it is not the model but rather the execution? If execution is the problem then will a new model really produce different results?

      • Eldo said

        That is a fair point Steve.

        I think that if you could get top people the model they work within is possibly irrelevant.

        However we need to protect ourselves against the reality that we have a vast turnover of staff right across Australia. We need the best structure that can deliver programs and results within this reality of constant change.

        Mc Donalds have a structure and a training program that can deal with constant staff change.

        I like to look at the new model like this ā€“ perhaps the AVF is not taking over the States, maybe it could be some of the states taking over the AVF.
        Look the relationship nearly every state has with the AVF at the moment and the relationship the AVF has with states. It is hardly conducive to the trust and growth we are seeking for our sport.

        Some of the AVF directions are correct. I think some are clearly not. I think that some or the decisions the AVF board have made on the ASC are completely at odds against what school coaches think are reasonable. I hope a new system potentially could be better.

        10 years ago we were talking about the same issues.
        15 years ago we were talking about the same issues.
        20 years ago we were talking about the same issues.

        I was under the impression that the sports commission made the last financial bailout of the AVF conditional on the delivery of a proposed new structure.

      • Eldo said


        The old model is certainly producing the same results.

  9. Eldo said

    What a surprising result on the poll.
    Seems that there are many people beside me who are desparing that as a sport we cannot deliver on national programs.

    Tell you how bad it is. As a national body we cannot even get all states represented at the natoinal awards dinner. How bad is that? Some states do not attend.

    After 30 years of being involved in volleyball and not progressing (apart from the 2 areas of ASC and the AIS) I am prepared to say “All In”.

    We have to get national development programs going.
    For goodness sake even though we have the National Schools Cup do you know that some states do not even have a State Schools Cup.

    I have gone on and on already.
    What have we got to lose?
    We will have the Australian Sports Commission backing.

    I suggested to Devo we have this poll as I was keen to see what the rank and file thought.
    I am absolutely encouraged by the poll result.
    It is time for the AVF to pick up the ball again and bloody run with it.
    The rank and file volleyballers are behind you.

  10. Steve said

    I have probably said enough on this topic so will let it rest now. All I can say is that I hope this doesn’t go ahead but if it does I hope the AVF board is stacked with Victorians. Oh, and if someone is about to suggest that the board should consist of a representative from each state… well if that actually occurred then we would really be in trouble. Happy trails.

    • Neil Cocks said

      What we DON’T need is is any sort of stacking, thank you very much ! It should always be the best people for the job anything else is really unacceptable.
      What is the use of having a new system and then man it with a bunch of incompotent people, that will just make the skeptics (like you) say “I told you it wouldn’t work”.
      This new system needs needs to clean out the cobwebs and put people in who will be of value to volleyball.

    • markleb said

      What I hope, ever more forlornly when I read comments like this, is that whatever model is chosen everyone actually gets behind it and works in the interests of volleyball as a whole, even if that might not be their own preferred way to go.
      Volleyball in Australia is simply not big enough to have people opt out for personal reasons, however valid they might think they are. Nothing is (or should be) more important than the sport.

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