Football Coaches Australia congratulates Ernie Merrick on his appointment as Football Australia’s Chief Football Officer

Ernie Merrick

Football Coaches Australia (FCA) has strongly endorsed Football Australia’s appointment of Ernie Merrick OAM as (the inaugural) Chief Football Officer.

FCA – Australia’s national Association for supporting qualified coaches at professional, semi-professional and community levels – welcomed the news, having witnessed first-hand the outstanding work the former premiership and championship-winning A-League Men’s coach has contributed as an FCA Ambassador over the past 12 months.

FCA acknowledged the privilege and an honour of having Ernie as an FCA Ambassador and wished him all the success in his new role – a critical one for taking the game in Australia to new heights, coming in at a time of unprecedented opportunity for our code.

The representative body for football coaches in Australia noted Ernie’s leadership and ability to bring people together and simplify the complex as standout traits during his time with FCA, further adding that these attributes were no doubt major contributing factors to his successful tenure as Chief Football Officer at FA.

Ernie was also a part of the FCA Technical Committee and delivered online and face-to-face professional development workshops to aspiring coaches.

FCA looks forward to working with him at Football Australia to advance Advocacy, Professional development, Equity and Well-being on behalf of coaches.

Phil Moss, Football Coaches Australia President, stated:

“This is a brilliant appointment on so many levels for Australian football and we applaud FA CEO James Johnston, his executive leadership team and the board for returning a football person of Ernie’s experience, expertise and standing in the game – and Australian sport more broadly – to a position of real influence.

“Ernie’s coaching, mentoring and leadership CV speaks for itself and the work he has done as an FCA ambassador has been outstanding. His willingness to engage with coaches and stakeholders to share his knowledge has benefitted so many with a passion for Australian football that is second to none.

“We couldn’t be happier for Ernie on his appointment to this new and exciting role. 

“We genuinely and collectively thank Ernie for his significant contribution to our organization and look forward to working closely with him to ensure coaches continue to be enabled to play a key part in taking the game forward.”

Since FCA’s inception, the organisation have always sought to elevate a ‘coaches voice’ to FIFA and Football Australia’s decision-making levels. FCA founder(s) and former board members and Ambassadors have transitioned into roles at FIFA (James Kitching and Belinda Wilson) and Football Australia (Heather Garriock, Ron Smith and now Ernie Merrick).

Football Australia appoint financial expert Caroline Veitch

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Football Australia confirm Caroline Veitch will become the new Chief Financial Officer.

Caroline, with over 20 years of experience in consumer-facing organizations, will join CEO James Johnson’s Executive Leadership Team.

Veitch has held senior executive roles at Lion, KPMG, and Endeavour Group, leading high-performing finance teams. Her extensive career in finance is complemented by her expertise in strategy, consulting, change management, and HR.

Her distinctive blend of commercial and corporate experiences, coupled with her capacity to achieve results, enact change, and advance strategy through collaborative efforts across functions, positions her as a natural and compelling leader.

James Johnson, CEO of Football Australia, expressed his enthusiasm for Veitch’s appointment.

“We are thrilled to welcome Caroline Veitch to Football Australia. Her wealth of experience and proven track record in leading finance functions, business transformation, embedding commercial and financial rigour and balancing short- and long-term priorities will be invaluable as we continue to grow and strengthen our organisation,” he said in a statement.

“Caroline’s strategic mindset and leadership skills will be a tremendous asset to our executive team and the broader football community.”

Caroline Veitch shared her excitement about joining Football Australia.

“I am absolutely delighted to take on the role of Chief Financial Officer of Football Australia. Football’s ability to bring people together is unparalleled, and I am excited to work alongside the many different facets of the football community in Australia. Football has a very bright future in Australia and I’m looking forward to being part of shaping that, ensuring that the sport continues to thrive,” she said in a statement.”

Veitch’s appointment marks a significant step forward for Football Australia as the organisation continues to build on its commitment to excellence and innovation in Australian football.

As a female leader it’s important for Veitich to utilise the popularity of the women’s game and the new projected $200m TV deal to build a good financial foundation that invests at all levels.

The Play Our Way grant amongst the local government grants helping grassroots football are only the first step in creating a sustainable base for the sport.

Veitch will be commencing her role on the 26th of August 2024.

Football Australia holds its 21st Annual General Meeting

The twenty-first AGM of Football Australia Limited was held on Thursday, 30 May 2024, at Football South Australia’s offices at ServiceFM Stadium via videoconference and in Adelaide.

The AGM coincided with the release of the Football Australia 2023 Abridged Annual Review.

At the AGM, members reviewed Football Australia’s Financial Report, which uniquely covered the six months ending 31 December 2023.

This transition period followed Football Australia’s shift to a calendar-based financial year, aligning financial reporting with the operational season. Members also reviewed the FY24 Annual Budget and discussed the organisation’s activities during this period.

The Operating Surplus (Before Grants and Distributions) was at an all-time low for the FA between June 2023 and December 2023, with the value at $6.1m loss.

Interestingly, the report showed that $27.7m in total was invested amongst the national teams, with the Matildas getting the bulk of it at $13.45m. Socceroos were given $6.3mil and the rest was shared amongst National Teams support, Women’s and Men’s junior national teams.

An election for a Director position on the Football Australia Board was conducted as per the Constitution. Mr. Joseph Carrozzi AM, nominated by Football South Australia and seconded by Northern New South Wales Football, was re-elected for a term ending at the 2027 AGM.

Additionally, the meeting ratified Dr. Deidre Anderson AM as a member and Chair of the Women’s Football Council, an appointment that received unanimous support.

Following the AGM, the Board convened and unanimously re-elected Mr. Anter Isaac as Chairman and Ms Jaclyn Lee-Joe as Deputy Chair. Chairman Isaac shared his vision for the strategic direction and future ambitions of Football Australia.

“I am delighted to congratulate Joseph Carrozzi on his re-election to the Board, and I warmly welcome Deidre Anderson as a Member and new Chair of the Women’s Football Council,” said Mr. Isaac in his statement.

“Their collective expertise and dedicated leadership are pivotal as we continue to drive our strategic vision and foster growth across all levels of Australian football.

“In my inaugural Chairman’s Report, I am heartened by the transformative journey we’ve embarked on since November 2023. The past six months have been crucial in setting our strategic direction toward sustainability and growth at all levels.

“Our Board has pivoted from short-term, transactional thinking to embrace a strategic, long-term vision, fostering a culture where trust, capability, and capacity thrive.

“This shift is supported by substantial investments in our systems and processes, aligning our operations more closely with the football season to enhance efficiencies. Moreover, strategic appointments like that of Gary Moretti as Head of National Teams underscore our commitment to improving performance and leadership.

“Looking ahead, we are committed to fostering collaboration and unity, essential for the long-term success and growth of Australian football.

“We aim to maintain a formidable, stable, and dependable presence, both locally and internationally.”

The Financial report and statements by the board members suggest the FA are looking to strategically fund the national teams and build off the success of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup that saw the Matildas and Women’s football get majority of the investment.

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