In the wake of scrapping its National Club Identity Policy (NCIP), and allowing clubs to celebrate and express their heritage, the FFA has taken another step towards reconciling the game’s past with its present, announcing last Friday the establishment of an official Football Heritage Committee.
Former Socceroo and Sydney Olympic star, Peter Katholos is one of the new appointees along with other members passionate about preserving the game’s long history. They include publisher Bonita Mersiades, former Matilda Heather Garriock, football commentators Simon Hill and Andy Harper, as well as author Trevor Thompson and Jamie Warren, chairman of the Johnny Warren Football Foundation. Leading the committee will be FFA Director Remo Nogarotto.
“In the past, we have relied on passionate individuals to document our history, to collect memorabilia, to showcase our history and it’s now time to bring all of this together in a coordinated way for the entire community to enjoy,” Nogarotto said.
“We would also like to recognise those who have played a significant part in our game by introducing annual awards and ultimately, it is our long-term ambition to establish an Australian Football Museum,” he added.
The sentiment was shared by FFA Chairman Chris Nikou.
“It is time to preserve and honour Australian football’s heritage and those associated with it. I am pleased that we will be able to dedicate the resources towards promoting football’s valuable cultural, social, economic and historical significance,” Nikou said.
A panel of experts with an extensive knowledge of the history of the game in Australia will form a subcommittee to support and advise the main committee, helping to ensure Australian football’s milestones and key figures are properly celebrated. The sub-committee includes Dr Roy Hay and Dr Ian Syson of Melbourne, Andrew Howe of Adelaide, Peter Kunz of Canberra, Thompson (Sydney) and Garry McKenzie (Gold Coast).
For Mersiades, her appointment to the Committee represents a return to a role at the FFA for the first time since 2010, when her contract was terminated. At the time she was head of Corporate and Public Affairs. Since then, she has been a FIFA whistle blower, writing and speaking out about corruption and the lack of accountability and transparency in football’s governing bodies.