Football: Former NZF CEO questions Hudson's media blitz

New Zealand Football All Whites coach Anthony Hudson. 11 January 2016 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Brett Phibbs.
New Zealand Football All Whites coach Anthony Hudson. 11 January 2016 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Brett Phibbs.

Former New Zealand Football chief executive Graham Seatter believes All Whites coach Anthony Hudson is contributing to the national body's problems without offering a solution.

Seatter resigned as NZF chief executive in 2008 after three years in the job, and said he was surprised Hudson was so outspoken about a process he was directly involved with.

Hudson launched a scathing attack on NZF last weekend, claiming youth players in New Zealand were "delusional", and attacking the "soft" culture of the national game and the lack of All Whites internationals played in 2015.

"The thing that surprises me is that I would have thought with a small team in the organisation, and it is a small team, everybody should be working together," Seatter said.

"And I would have thought that the All Whites coach would have understood this problem and be wanting to be part of the solution rather than the bagging machine."

Seatter copped flak for financial losses close to $500,000 across his reign, but he did take the All Whites from playing one match in 2005 to being an active outfit again, which played a part in achieving World Cup qualification in 2010 for the first time since 1982.

"In terms of getting games, it's not that difficult," he said. "Sure, they can be expensive but they don't need to be expensive if you do things smart. They don't need to cost a lot.
"We had situations where we went away and played games in the European tour pre-World Cup in 2006, including against Brazil where we actually made money for the organisation.

"There's a lot of effort and risk-taking that goes in to spend money to stay ahead of the curve to make the World Cup. We did that, we got the return, we've had the money from that, which is a significant sum of money, and I thought a good chunk of that would have been invested in trying to get that same return again, but it doesn't seem to be."

Seatter said he was disappointed NZF hadn't capitalised on the ground swell of national support and financial windfall that came into the country after the 2010 World Cup. NZF received $10 million for qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, with 40 per cent of that going to the players.

"You'd hope that when you come out of something, you come out of it and you stay out of it. But there's also a theory that things revert to their natural position and, sadly, maybe this is the natural position for New Zealand Football. A huge amount of work to get out of a situation, but then we just default back into the situation.

"I'm really surprised we haven't got any games in March. National games are an investment and there are risks involved. We invested in games and got a return of over $10 million for being at the World Cup in South Africa, so at the moment the All Whites are preparing for a Confederations Cup qualifying tournament, knowing that if they make that, there will be a payment. So the return is in achieving the outcome and we need games for that.

"I think Hudson is contributing to the problem and not the solution. Maybe behind the scenes he is but it's certainly a strange way to go forward. I think what you want as a CEO, above all, is everybody on the same page, singing from the same sheet and it's not a good look when that doesn't happen, that's for sure."

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