The Collingwood Magpies board has released a statement vowing to stand against Jeff Browne’s proposed boardroom coup.
It comes less than 24 hours after former Channel 9 executive Jeff Browne called for a peaceful transfer of power, calling for four of the seven seats on the board.
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The Magpies have been facing the messy boardroom battle for some time after former president Eddie McGuire stood down after 23 years in the club’s top job amid the aftermath of the “Do Better” report into systemic racism at the club.
McGuire had intended to stand down at the end of the season.
It was believed that McGuire’s “best mate” former AFL legal adviser and Channel 9 executive director Browne would move into the role but instead Mark Korda was installed as the club’s 13th president.
But less than two months into the role, Korda has been under constant pressure with rumour spilling out over the past fortnight about Browne’s takeover bid.
Mark Korda has been under fire in his short stint as Magpies president.Source:Supplied
Amid the leadership challenge questions late last month, Korda told 3AW’s Mornings with Neil Mitchell that “Eddie is on the record that coups aren’t good for football clubs”.
“Why would Eddie want to tear down his own legacy?” Korda said when asked if he believed McGuire was behind the reports of board instability.
But on Tuesday night, The Herald Sun’s Michael Warner revealed that Browne was calling for Korda and three other board members to stand aside to allow a peaceful transition to the his ticket.
“Collingwood is a great club and strong and united leadership is critical if we are to move beyond our current malaise,” Browne said.
“There is a growing wave of support from members for change and this change must begin with a refresh at board level.”
But the Collingwood board hit back on Wednesday, releasing a letter signed by the seven members of the board vowing to “stand against coups driven by personal ambition”.
Former Nine boss Jeff Browne with Eddie McGuire.Source:News Limited
READ: The full statement
“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,” the letter read.
“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?
“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 letter continued to say that both McGuire and billionaire Alex Waislitz had retired from the board in recent months with three more directorships up for re-election at the next general meeting.
But Browne appeared to point to the fact that his ticket would wait for an Extraordinary General Meeting to be called by the members.
Well, the gloves well & truly off at Collingwood. Posting this statement signed by the board for interest of Pie fans. Makes some pretty decent points, too, I think. I'll be particularly interested to see which side media lines up behind; have a feeling I know which more likely. pic.twitter.com/lHRnpMtwLt
Collingwood Board hits back at Jeff Browne’s plans going forward. The club will “stand against coups driven by personal ambition”
The board “stands united & strong.” United maybe. But, if it was strong it wouldn’t be facing such opposition, nor require such a release 👇 pic.twitter.com/SzfMjRmxxc
Plenty of issues at the Magpies at the moment.Source:Getty Images
The move could be delaying the inevitable however with Mark Robinson saying it would bring all the club’s issues to a head.
“He’s an interesting figure, Mark Korda. Jeff Browne says in Mick’s story that he went to Mark and said ‘you know, I want to come on the board’, and Mark Korda said no. Then they put someone who’s ineligible to vote on the board,” Robinson said.
“Then Mark Korda writes an interesting open letter to members in the Herald Sun, which I don’t think hit the mark. I actually thought it completely missed the mark.
“It’s only my opinion – but Korda’s days are numbered. I think if he doesn’t agree to what Jeff Browne wants, the club will be blown up, they’ll go an EGM and I think they’ll all (the current board) be swept out.”
It’s been a dire season on and off the field for the Magpies, languishing in 16th on the ladder with a 2-9 record, but it’s been off field that the turmoil has been in full swing.
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