Former South Australian batsman Tom Moffat has joined the Federation of International Cricketers Associations (FICA), the peak body for cricket player associations. Now based in South Africa, we caught up with Tom to find out about the new role and life living in Cape Town...
Tom, you did quite a bit of legal work for the ACA over the past couple of years but have since moved on to FICA. Tell us a bit about the new role.
As head of Players and Member Operations at FICA, internally I will be largely responsible for delivery of services to our member players associations and players.
Externally, it will involve representation of players and engagement with the ICC and other key stakeholders within the game. I'll effectively be responsible for the day-to-day operations of FICA.
When did you join FICA and how did the role come about?
I started in July this year. I met with (FICA Executive Chairman) Tony Irish earlier in the year and one thing led to another.
What attracted you to the role?
I'm a cricket person and am passionate about the collective representation of players and athletes' rights. I think FICA has a big role to play in the international cricket landscape moving forward.
The opportunity to work operationally within an organisation that has so much potential was also a big part of the decision. It's important the players have a strong and cogent voice internationally and I want to be part of that.
Working with Tony Irish was also a key consideration. Tony is a wonderful operator and highly respected. I've learnt a significant amount already in my short time here.
What type of work have you been doing since leaving the game?
I worked as a lawyer for two years at a commercial law firm in Melbourne. I also did a brief stint working as an intern at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.
I then moved in-house as Legal Counsel at Professional Footballers Australia, which represents Australia's professional footballers - including the A-League players, Socceroos and Matildas - before the opportunity at FICA arose.
What excited you most about the FICA role?
FICA is an international body, and I think players associations and bodies such as FICA are crucial in ensuring the best interests of the players and the game are upheld.
I get to use my skill set in an environment I understand and for a cause I believe in. I'm lucky to have the opportunity to do that.
What are some of the challenges of the role?
FICA faces many challenges, but I fully support the direction we are taking to move the organisation forward.
Internally we need to continue to work at bringing value to players and our member players associations. Obviously a lot of that stems from us engaging effectively at the top level of the game.
With member associations and players all over the world, coordination and logistics are a challenge, as is the fact that we don't represent the Indian players.
In terms of the game, players have more options now than ever before, which is fantastic, however, the changing international cricket landscape, and the well-documented direction, governance and politics of the game are also a challenge for FICA.
Health and safety is a high priority. A lot of international players don't receive the benefits the ACA has been so instrumental in delivering to its members in Australia, and we are pushing to have a lot of these issues regulated centrally or at very least addressed.
It's not always easy being on this side of the fence and sometimes you have to stand up and not always be the most popular guy in the room. That's our job and it's important we do it.
Where is FICA at as an organisations at the moment?
FICA's structure has changed and its guiding principles were published earlier in the year. In many ways it has been a transition period for the organisation. FICA is a small engine, and for many years was effectively a one-man organisation under Tim May. There have been impressive people involved with the organisation throughout its history and it's about building on their legacy but also assisting in taking FICA forward in the direction it needs to go.
What are you looking to achieve at FICA?
I want to help take the organisation to the next level. I believe FICA has enormous potential and part of my role is helping us reach that potential so we are a a highly respected and valued body internationally. We want to be valued by the players, our member associations and a respected and influential voice within the game and all of its stakeholders.
Ultimately we want every FICA member players association to be strong and effective. Not all players associations have had the success the ACA has had, and I think we have a big role to play in coordinating best practice sharing between our members and assisting the smaller players associations as well.
FICA's voice needs to accurately reflect player views and be extremely well researched and based on fact. There is no reason why FICA shouldn't be the most knowledgable body in world cricket.
How are you finding South Africa?
Cape Town is a beautiful city and melting pot of cultures. Obviously the recent history here is a challenge for the country and it's a different way of living. It's been a great eye opener for me and I'm enjoying living here. Its hard to take your eyes off table mountain, but I always love coming back home.
You played your last game for South Australia back in 2011. What decisions did you make about your career after losing your contract?
I had a real crack at playing first-class cricket again the year after I lost my contract, however, by that time I had finished my degrees and was in the process of becoming a qualified lawyer.
I then moved to Melbourne for a fresh start and career opportunity and continued playing club cricket at St Kilda. Work was the priority from that point on. I also got an opportunity to work at the United Nations tribunal in The Hague around that time, which ruled me out for half the club season. I decided I was better off heading towards what I wanted to do long term from that point on.
How difficult was that period?
Although I wasn't in the professional system for long, when you think you are heading in the right direction and then it's taken away from you, it's a challenging time. That's the nature of cricket and professional sport.
I was fortunate to be able to go straight into the workforce into my chosen field and I received great assistance from the ACA along the way through the Education Grants and Beyond the Boundary program to enable that. A large part of my desire to work in this field stems from that time and the support I received from the ACA.
I wouldn't change anything about my transition or the move to Melbourne. I loved playing for St Kilda and made some great mates there. Cricket has opened up a lot of doors for me and I'm excited to be in a position to give back and work for a better game.
Could you give us a run down of the study you have completed?
- Bachelor of Laws (Uni of Adelaide)
- Bachelor of International Studies (Uni of Adelaide)
- Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (ANU)
Are you looking to get back on the field in your adopted home of South Africa?
I need some mates here so I might have to dust off the kit!
Well, thanks for your time Tom - we look forward to seeing you at ACA Headquarters on you next visit!