Members to vote on WACA shake-up

JOHN TOWNSEND

The WACA's 8000 members will be asked tonight to approve constitutional changes that would give chief executive Graeme Wood and coach Tom Moody greater powers to run most WA cricket matters.

Only 1 per cent of the membership is expected to attend the WACA's annual meeting but they could vote to introduce a similar management model to that used by most English county clubs.

The changes may also further distance the WACA's 16 district clubs, who founded the association 124 years ago and have regularly supplied quality administrators to the WACA.

But chairman David Williams said an amendment would be presented to protect the link between cricket and the clubs.

Members also will be asked to approve life membership for former Test players Ross Edwards, Bruce Laird and Tony Mann and long-time WACA secretary Geoff Havercroft.

Members have been told that revamping the committee structure was essential for the Warriors to again become an Australian cricket power.

A recent review of the WACA's operations found that the committee system, which had delivered WA's 15 Sheffield Shield victories and 11 one-day titles, was a factor in "precluding optimum outcomes of . . . management of high-performance cricket in the modern era".

Under the proposed model, the WACA chief executive, coach and high-performance manager - a position currently held by Doug Harris - would take major roles in a new body charged with being responsible for all matters to do with the WA team.

"This is about having a 21st- century model in place, rather than a committee system based on an era when the WACA had only one full-time employee," Williams said.

But the new body would also reflect the current reality.

The WACA's once-powerful high-performance committee is now virtually irrelevant, and Wood and Moody already control most decisions to do with recruiting, contracts and selection matters.

The WACA reported a strong financial year with a pre-depreciation surplus of $6.2 million - before a final surplus of $977,265 - which included $4.4 million being converted from a State Government loan to a grant.

The WACA also repaid a $9 million advance to ground redevelopment partner Ascot Capital.

A new deal with Ascot was signed in July after the East Perth Redevelopment Authority approved an increase from 32 to more than 500 dwellings on the site as part of the proposed multi-million dollar redevelopment.

But the WACA faces significant challenges. The EPRA is planning a north-south link road along the eastern boundary of the ground and through the current practice facilities.