Greek Australian Nikou was elected as FFA Chairman on November 20 last year after a push from various stakeholders to bring a fresh approach to football governance after 15 years of the Lowy era.
After ending his football career in the Victorian State League he held positions at Football Federation of Victoria, Melbourne Victory and was part of the organising committee for the 2015 Asian Cup.
While he has been on the FFA Board for the previous four years, Nikou never expected he would be running Australian football.
“I never thought of it in those terms,” he told Neos Kosmos. “Football is the sport I grew up with. It’s the sport I love. It’s the sport my childhood and my friends that I have kept for decades. I have been in football administration for many years. I was encouraged by a number of other parties to continue to contribute and work with others to continue to move the sport forward. That’s what people want.”
One of the biggest tasks Nikou believes the new board must commit to is rebuilding the relationships between the FFA, A-League clubs, Member Federations and fans which was strained during the last few years.
“It’s been a fairly intense start,” Nikou said about the first few months in the role. “It’s been a chance to recalibrate and rebuild the relationships at different levels. We are really trying to re-connect with the various parts of our sport from the NPL clubs to the fans and the communities.”
Soon after Nikou came to power he and the board presided over the expansion of the A-League but unfortunately for South Melbourne fans they were not part of the two teams that were announced.
Nikou himself is a former South Melbourne junior and he revealed the former NSL powerhouse club should not give up its ambition to join the A-League.
“Like all the bids they had some nice features about them,” he said. “Overall unfortunately for South they weren’t the best bid in that pack at this point in time. That’s not to say they won’t be at some future point in time. South is a club I actually grew up with and know. The people behind them are very passionate and that is the sort of thing we need in the football community. Ultimately you have to make a call as a director for what is in the best interest of the sport. But as I said on the announcement, it’s not the end of the process.”
When former Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou was in Australia recently he said that football was waiting for the ‘golden ticket’ and looking for the new FFA Board to save the game. When instead the game should believe in in itself and be bold in its assertions and decisions. And Nikou was in full agreement.
“We need to deliver some outcomes,” he says. “We have done that with the A-League expansion, we want to do that with the upcoming community forums. That’s an important part, we want to hear what the fans have to say. We want to work with the A-League clubs and by default the W-League offering. A second division is also important, the Women’s World Cup bid is also a major initiative. Then there is Asian football Confederation (AFC) equation, we are part of the AFC and we want to be better citizens in that space.”