Football Victoria’s Community in Business event on Friday May 21 was headlined by two star-studded panels, featuring former footballers, personalities, and A-league CEOs.
The event, held at the San Remo Ballroom in Carlton, was hosted by ABC journalist Catherine Murphy and featured a keynote speech by FV CEO Kimon Taliadoros.
Taliadoros commented on the recent funding of community projects through the World Game Facilities Fund and the new home of the Matildas in Bundoora. He said equality of opportunities between men and women is an important goal for Football Victoria.
“This is a significant turning point for our sport in Victoria. You’ve all been around to understand what a battle it has been for us to secure funding on any level, let alone in a meaningful way,” he said.
“We aren’t going to be invisible anymore, this sport has a home and hope. We have an incredible platform to build the awareness and focus for women and girls, and football, in this state. That is a tremendous achievement.”
Michael Zappone hosted a panel made up of former Socceroos legend Mark Bresciano, comedian Santo Cilauro and his father – former Victorian Soccer Federation Chairman and Football Australia of fame inductee, Vito Cilauro.
Bresciano, who is on the Football Australia board, said that a second division would bring a level of excitement to revitalise the game.
“it is very important. It will bring that extra excitement, and hopefully, down the track, we can get to a promotion and relegation situation,” he said.
“I only just realised how much work went into football in Australia now that I am on the board. You don’t realise the hard work that goes into the game, whether it’s a national top-level or grassroots.”
Another panel featuring the CEO’s and chairman of the three Victorian A-league teams was hosted by Murphy, with the theme ‘leadership through adversity’.
Melbourne Victory chairman Anthony Di Pietro, Western United FC CEO Chris Pehlivanis, and Melbourne City CEO Brad Rowse discussed the challenges of running a football club during a pandemic and the future of the Australian professional league.
When asked what the biggest challenge his club has faced Di Pietro made light of Melbourne Victory’s struggles this season.
“Someone has flipped the table upside down,” he said.
Pehlivanis appealed to the football community to show a united front, and all three agreed that the clubs were in survival mode during the pandemic.
The event created networking opportunities for those who support the footballing community within Victoria, while celebrating the hard work of those who ensure the continuing expansion of the sport.