Filopoulos’ defence of football proves he is the right man to unite and lead the domestic game

PEter Filopoulos Football Victoria

In an administrative career spanning near a quarter of a century, CEO of Football Victoria Peter Filopoulos has forged a reputation as not only an effective but also one of the most respected figures on Australia’s sporting landscape.

Recently, and with the A-League’s newly granted independence, his name has been prominent in discussions around the people required to use the new financial freedoms gained to advance and transform the competition into what we have always hoped it would become.

Whilst other candidates will also have fair and valid claims on such a role, Filopoulos’ achievements in business and commercial and marketing strategy within the game of football make him a highly desirable candidate.

The short term future looms as a vital period of potential growth of the national league; a league so oft maligned yet one fundamental to the overall image of the beautiful game in Australia. Having the right people in place is the first and most important step in ensuring that prudent and visionary moves are made and not the reactionary and conservative decisions of the past made by Football Federation Australia.

Filopoulos has experience across a range of sports and thus, a keen understanding of the unique and saturated Australian sporting market. Experience in aquatics and stadium management add a depth to his arsenal of talents, yet it his 8 years of experience in AFL administration that came clearly into focus this week.

Long before the significant role he played in rescuing Perth Glory; as he guided the club through its horrid salary cap problems stemming from 2014/15, Filopoulos had spent eight years in AFL club land. Both Hawthorn and North Melbourne enjoyed the fruits of his labour.

Last Saturday, the Richmond Tigers defeated the Greater Western Sydney Giants to claim the 2019 Premiership and Tigers fans celebrated their second title in three years with some passionate demonstrations of both pride and ecstasy in the streets of Melbourne.

The images were compelling, widely spread on social media and brought no qualm or concern. Until, that is, Peter Filopoulos stated publicly and categorically what a number of football fans were thinking.

He tweeted;

“Clearly a different perspective by media on AFL fans celebrating with flares and fireworks in public streets to soccer fans doing similar in the past. One’s a ’party getting started’ & the other is ’soccer fans rioting’. The headlines are starkly different. #FairGoForFootball”.

The message was succinct and quite simple. Had Melbourne Victory or Western Sydney Wanderers fans been captured celebrating in the same manner and the captions featured underneath the images been substituted with the usually obtuse and ill-informed nonsense spun by main stream media, a hullabaloo would have no doubt broken out.

Using the images captured on Saturday night and adding a headline or caption such as the one the Nine Network expressed through their Sydney based anchor Peter Overton in 2018, would have changed the contextual impression of the scene and fuelled an inaccurate stereotype.

After a few Wanderers fans had become somewhat over-zealous at a Sydney Derby, Overton labelled the events as a “a night of soccer violence’. It is not surprising in the slightest that such a label was not given to the events of Saturday, despite numerous reports of fans assaulting Victorian police and what appeared to be rampant disorder after the game.

Filopoulos said what needed to be said. Taking things one step further and writing formally to media organisations, the Victorian Government, AFL House and the FFA, should be his next move.

Many have lauded his comments and rightly so. Possessing a clear, long term vision for football in Australia, Filopoulos realises that the public relations slap in the face the media continues to serve up to football, holds back that vision and the game.


Staff Writer
Soccerscene is committed to promoting, enhancing and growing the soccer industry in Australia. We believe soccer news has captured the attention of grassroots soccer clubs, apparel and equipment suppliers – which extends to governing bodies, club administrators and industry decision makers. Many of the auxiliary products and services support the growth of the soccer industry in Australia and Asia, a passion we also share and want to express through our work.

A-Leagues Independent Chairman Stephen Conroy on how the APL will evolve post-World Cup

Stephen Conroy - A-Leagues Chairman

For Stephen Conroy and the Australian Professional Leagues (APL), it has been a time of significant change.

In his new role as Independent Chair, Conroy has recently seen the departure of former Chief Executive Officer Danny Townsend, leaving A-Leagues Commissioner Nick Garcia and KEEPUP Managing Director James Rushton to lead the APL.

Ahead of launching the 2023/24 A-Leagues season, it has proved to be a very busy period for the APL in amongst the CEO change – with the reversal of the Grand Final decision, announcing the brand-new U-Nite Round to take place in Sydney, confirming the sale of Perth Glory and identifying the preferred bidder for the Auckland licence.

After bidding farewell to the APL’s inaugural CEO, the focus has shifted to restoring faith in the A-Leagues fanbase – as the men’s and women’s World Cups need to be the kick-starter for football in Australia.

Speaking at Melbourne Victory’s Chairman function at AAMI Park before the Round 2 match against Newcastle Jets, Conroy reflected on a whirlwind period for the APL and football as a whole.

“It’s an exciting time coming off the back of the exceptional performance of the Matildas,” Conroy said.

“The standalone women’s round for the Liberty A-League was hugely positive with the record crowd and atmosphere we saw at the Sydney Derby.

“You’re seeing the enthusiasm with 1.6 million Australians and two million New Zealanders watching the two respective nations play.

“In funny because people almost forget the Socceroos and how well they did at Qatar – we talk about 2006 and the Golden Generation, but genuinely the performance in this tournament was absolutely stunning.”

The record attendances and memberships have been a huge plus for Conroy and the APL, particularly for women’s teams with numbers reaching unprecedented levels.

“As an example we’ve already seen Melbourne Victory go past 20,000 for memberships, so that’s a huge tick,” he said.

“With record turnouts and memberships, we are getting the sense that it is really happening now for people around the country in football.

“There’s so much in front of us at the moment.”

An integral part of the APL has been KEEPUP, which has recently undergone a revamp to split A-Leagues content into its own site.

Conroy outlined the digital strategies behind KEEPUP which has been a major inclusion since the APL’s inception.

“KEEPUP was launched when we unbundled from Football Australia – recently people might have been wondering why the app has morphed back into A-Leagues,” he said.

“In the rush to unbundle, we didn’t own the rights to call it the A-League app, but now we’ve got that sorted.

“What we will now start to see is a more rich product and this turns eyeballs into bums on seats or viewing on TV.

“KEEPUP’s mission is to drive people to watch the game at the ground, through free to air or streaming.”

Conroy also linked back to the numbers we saw from the Women’s World Cup, and how that will be a motivator for future growth of the A-Leagues.

“For all of us that went to any of the World Cup matches, part of it was needing to download the FIFA app,” he said.

“As we saw earlier, there’s 1.6 million Australians who want to watch a game of football – so we’ll be sitting down with Football Australia to work out how to succeed together.

“What we want to see is which team people want to support, get them to more games in-person and turn more casual fans into fully-fledged members.”

KordaMentha Partner Scott Langdon on why the Newcastle Jets need long-term investment

McDonald Jones Stadium - Newcastle Jets

The sale of Newcastle Jets has been announced by the club’s Executive Chairman Shane Mattiske, where they have appointed professional services firm KordaMentha to oversee the formal process.

A consortium of parties formed in 2021 that was linked to other A-League clubs was initially started as a provisional measure to maintain the Club, to put out a team that could compete and strong growth during a challenging period for the Jets in the middle of the Covid crisis back in January 2021.

KordaMentha is an independent and reliable firm providing their knowledge on cybersecurity, forensic, financial crime, performance improvement, real estate and restructuring services across the Asia-Pacific region.

Fast forward to now, the owners of today have been responsible for the successes of the increasing membership signups, captivating more sponsors and developing a strong core of talent through the Youth Academy.`

KordaMentha Partner Scott Langdon spoke to Soccerscene – providing an insight of his involvement in the sale process, what he hopes to achieve for the club and the A-Leagues as well.

“The shareholders reached out to us a few weeks ago in relation into commencing a sale of the club – they considered at the time to put Newcastle Jets on the market and find a long-term owner, for someone that won’t be there for a short period of time,” he said.

“The current shareholders didn’t have the intention of being there long-term, so we need to be there for Newcastle to get them through a challenging period.

“Shane has done a great job in getting the club as a business back on its feet – it’s now in a position where it’s stabilised and it’s time for a long-term owner in a natural progression stage for the club.”

Langdon explained what he sees in Newcastle and why should someone should get behind them, tapping into the unique area they represent.

“In the last couple of weeks that l have been involved, it has been overwhelming, for the local community and the region that Newcastle has and the support for them,” he said.

“l think that whilst we are looking globally to find an owner and we are having conversations with people throughout the world, there is a great ability to connect within the Newcastle region which is a very passionate soccer region.”

“The strong local links to the community is another key reason why we’re involved, and it’s an exciting opportunity to be part of the process.”

As recently seen with Perth Glory and their new Australian consortium owners Primeland Group signing the contract, Langdon shared whether KordaMentha is looking for someone within Australia or abroad.

“We are definitely looking on a global stage for a long-term owner – we have attracted interest within our first 48 hours from around the globe,” he said.

“We are all focused on completing it by Christmas which we think is entirely achievable.”

Newcastle Jets now has highly competitive men’s and women’s A-League teams, underpinned by a strong academy containing 13 boys’ and girls’ teams delivering exciting talent into these squads.

It is now a key time for the club to follow suit with what has gone ahead at Perth Glory, to lock in a sustainable future.

Most Popular Topics

Editor Picks

Send this to a friend