FFA makes major structural changes around World Cup bid

Football Federation Australia (FFA) today made a number of significant announcements concerning its Bid Team as it seeks to win the right to host the FIFA World Cup in either 2018 or 2022.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) today made a number of significant announcements concerning its Bid Team as it seeks to win the right to host the FIFA World CupÔ in either 2018 or 2022.

"There is no doubt that the FIFA World Cup is the biggest sporting event on the planet," said FFA CEO, Ben Buckley.

“While we have had a small but dedicated team working on our bid for the past 18 months compiling infrastructure audits, economic impact analysis and working with Federal and State governments on preliminary planning, we now have a timetable to meet for the Bid and a need to establish a fully operational Bid Team.

"Our aim has always been to assemble a separate business unit within FFA with the best possible team of individuals with relevant experience and expertise supported by some of Australia-s, and the world-s, best consulting agencies.”

Under the Bid Process conducted by FIFA, a bidding member association has the option of establishing a separate Bid Committee with its own legal entity or a business unit within the member association.

The FFA Board has opted to integrate the Bid Team and the Bid process into the everyday business of FFA to ensure that all stakeholders in the football community are fully united behind it, with the FIFA World Cup Bid Team to be chaired by FFA Chairman, Frank Lowy and led by FFA CEO Ben Buckley.

“This will ensure that the ongoing and important work of FFA, which has an impact on the Bid, is coordinated and strategically aligned with the Bid itself,” Buckley said.

He also announced that two key FFA executives will immediately move full time into the Bid Team to manage the project.

Stuart Taggart, Head of Major Events, will project manage FFA Bid operations and will have responsibility for technical aspects of the Bid including infrastructure planning, stadia and host city logistics, finance and project management.

Bonita Mersiades, Head of Corporate and Public Affairs, will be responsible for domestic and international communications, marketing, government relations, corporate social responsibility and stakeholder and community relations.

The FFA Bid Team will grow over the next two months to between 12-15 full time staff to include additional resources covering the areas of legal services, finance, infrastructure and operations, marketing and communications and community relations. Some staff will be internal FFA appointees who have the relevant experience and expertise in bid activities and event management and others will be recruited externally along with the backfilling of existing internal positions.

As a consequence of the timetable for bidding for the 2015 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup Buckley also named another senior staffing appointment with current Head of A-League Operations, Rob Abernethy, to head up the team for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup Bid.

“Rob has done an outstanding job as part of the FFA team that has grown the Hyundai A-League to the position it has reached today. He has been instrumental in its success during the foundation years.

“Rob has a proven track record in event management having worked previously on the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games and 2003 Rugby World Cup and his work recently on the Hyundai A-League and the AFC Champions League means he is uniquely placed to lead our efforts in securing and managing the 2015 AFC Asia Cup.”

Buckley also said that, given his own leadership position required on the FFA World Cup Bid Team, that there was a need to appoint a senior leader of the Hyundai A-League.

The position will continue to report to Buckley.

“Growth and expansion of the Hyundai A-League is critical to the growth of football in Australia and is an absolute priority for FFA,” Buckley said.

“With that in mind, I am delighted to announce that we have appointed Archie Fraser to become the new Head of the Hyundai A-League.”

Fraser is a former professional football player in Scotland and Queensland Premier League player in Australia.

“Archie has not only played the game to a high level, he-s also a professional sports administrator and he has a first class commercial and strategic background. Although he has worked in AFL for the past several years, he is the first to acknowledge that his number one sporting passion is, and always has been, football.”

Fraser joins FFA from St Kilda Football Club where he has been CEO for the past four years. During that time, Fraser has overseen significant achievements both on and off the field including achieving record growth in membership, revenues and profits, average attendances and working with State and local governments to create a $15m training and administrative headquarters.

Prior to working for St Kilda Football Club Fraser held both CEO and Managing Director positions with international companies including HWI & Cendant Mobility, Adecco and various senior executive positions with Fuji Xerox and Inchcape.

“We very much welcome Archie-s appointment,” said Buckley.

“I am confident he will be a fantastic addition to our management team and I look forward to his contribution to growing the Hyundai A-League as well as our other domestic competitions.”