The glittering World Football Gala was held at the Hurlingham Club in London that attracted a galaxy of football stars and luminaries to the annual awards ceremony.
The event was hosted by former FIFA General Secretary Mr Michel Zen-Ruffinen, and assisted by Lydia Dushkoff. As part of the annual football awards which are conducted by the International Football Federation of History and Statistics (IFFHS) in association with Matchworld Football SA, the Club of the Century from each confederation was honoured.
South Melbourne FC was awarded the highly prestigious award of Club of the Century for the Oceania Confederation.
The other winners included: Europe – Real Madrid CF (Spain); South America – CA Penarol Montevideo (Uruguay); Africa- Asante Kotoko FC Kumasi (Ghana); Asia – Al-Hilal FC Riyadh (Saudi Arabia); Central and North America – CD Saprissa San Juan de Tibas San Jose (Costa Rica). South Melbourne FC President, Leo Athanasakis, Major Sponsor George Parthimos (from miRoamer), Board Member Tony Margaritis, along with playing legends Paul Trimboli and Jimmy Armstrong travelled to London to accept the award on behalf of the Club. Athanasakis said “it was a truly amazing and humbling experience.
It was one of the proudest moments of our great club to honoured with such a prestigious award. To be in the company of such famous football stars and luminaries was something that I will cherish and never forget”. South Melbourne FC joins an elite group of six clubs such as Real Madrid to be known as Club of the Century.
During the 20th century, South Melbourne’s honours included; Winners of the 1999 Oceania Confederation Club Championship, finalists at the 2000 World Club Championships in Rio de Janeiro, four times national champions of Australia, Eight times state championships of Victoria, winners of the NSL Cup on two occasions and winners of numerous other tournaments and trophies.