The Collingwood Football Club last night released a strong statement in response to the bid by Jeff Browne to become club president.
The board of the Collingwood Football Club has released a statement to members.
— Collingwood FC (@CollingwoodFC) June 2, 2021
Browne officially launched a bid this week and told the Herald Sun that he would approach recently installed president, Mark Korda, for a handover of duties.
Browne is calling for four of the seven seats on the board. The club said in a statement signed off on by all seven current board members that not one on the board members were prepared to step aside.
"The board of the Collingwood Football Club stands for unity, not division, and will therefore stand against coups driven by personal ambition," the statement reads.
"Not one, let alone four, of the current board is prepared to step aside to allow a boardroom coup as proposed by Jeff Browne to proceed.
"A coup is not warranted, it has not been justified and cannot be justified. Nor is it in step with good governance or the will of members to agree to the demands of an individual member wanting only to be president.
"In any case, there is no vision, no ticket, no compelling strategy for you to consider or for us to step aside for. How could any board entertain a request to step aside without first knowing these things?"
The statement went on to say that the club would be willing to meet with Browne and discuss whether his bid was best for the club at this time.
"Notwithstanding this position we are available to meet Jeff to establish whether, in the best interests of the club, a divisive and distracting campaign can be avoided," the club said.
There have been plenty of calls for change on the Collingwood board with some members now petitioning for an Extraordinary General Meeting.
The Magpies said in the statement that change had begun, citing the resignation of Eddie McGuire, and retirement of long-time director, Alex Waislitz, in recent months.
"We have heard the call for change and yet it was only months ago that Eddie McGuire resigned and even more recently that Alex Waislitz retired from the board. Two new directors have been appointed to fill those vacancies and six of the seven current directors have been seated at the board table for less than five years," read the club statement.
The press release went on to say that while they acknowledge on-field there are some issues that need addressing, the process to get better begun last season with some "tough football decisions."
"The AFL program is working through a difficult time but steps have already been taken to address this. The tough football decisions taken in the last 12 months would not have been taken if we were not prepared to ask questions, learn and act. The work on our on-field return has already begun," the board members declared.
The statement also mentioned the work being done at the club off the back of the "Do Better" report which saw the club had a history of systemic racism.
"Collingwood is financially independent. It is at the forefront of female sport in Australia and playing a significant role as a community partner. The work being put into the Do Better report is necessary and enriching."