Retraction and apology issued to FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci and President Ben Richardson by Bonita Mersiades in settlement of their defamation action

Apology and retraction to Mr Robert Cavallucci and Mr Ben Richardson 

On 24 January 2020, I published an article entitled “Costs of playing increases in Queensland” (“Article”).

It has been brought to my attention that some people may have interpreted the Article to mean that Mr Robert Cavallucci and Mr Ben Richardson were corrupt, dishonest, acted disreputably and were in dereliction of their duties owed to Football Queensland in their respective positions as chairman and director. Separately, as against Mr Richardson, the Article may have been interpreted to mean that he favoured his personal interests by securing an appointment as a consultant to search for a replacement chief executive officer and was dishonest in rendering an invoice to Football Queensland for consulting work he did not undertake.

I did not intend any such suggestions to arise. Those suggestions would be untrue and unfounded. I wish to apologise to Mr Cavallucci and Mr Richardson for any hurt, distress and embarrassment the Article and subsequent publications may have caused to them and their families.

I also wish to apologise that public assertions of truth of the above suggestions were made in court proceedings, which were subsequently broadcast on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s ‘7:30’ program on 25 November 2020.

The position is:

  1. Mr Cavallucci was appointed to the role of CEO of Football Queensland after an extensive recruitment process that ultimately led to his appointment to the role; and
  2. The fee increase to player registration fees was approved by the Board before Mr Cavallucci was offered the role of CEO of Football Queensland; and
  3. Following the resignation of the former CEO of Football Queensland, Mr Richardson provided executive services to the organisation, which was without a chief executive officer whilst also undertaking the recruitment process over a two-month period, which process resulted in Mr Cavallucci being unanimously appointed by the board of Football Queensland.

Dated: 22 February 2021

Bonita Mersiades on her own behalf and as director of Fair Play Publishing Pty Ltd

View the full retraction and apology here.

RETRACTION AND APOLOGY ISSUED TO FQ CEO ROBERT CAVALLUCCI AND PRESIDENT BEN RICHARDSON BY BONITA MERSIADES IN SETTLEMENT OF THEIR DEFAMATION ACTION

On Monday, 22 February 2021 the defamation action before the courts initiated by Football Queensland Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Robert Cavallucci and President Ben Richardson was settled with the defendant Bonita Mersiades and Fair Play Publishing, issuing a retraction and apology (above).

Forming part of the settlement, an undisclosed sum was paid to the plaintiffs Cavallucci and Richardson by Bonita Mersiades, which will be donated in its entirety to football related charities.

Cavallucci and Richardson commenced defamation action against Mersiades following the release of an article on FootballToday.news in January 2020, which led to several follow-up stories including a program that was amplified across mainstream media via ABC’s 7:30 Report.

Despite this, FQ remained loyal to its vision and refused to be distracted as we embarked on the extensive reform journey to shape a brighter future for football in our state.

Football Queensland welcomes the settlement of this matter and looks forward to continuing its focus as the governing body of the sport in Queensland, on growing the game and supporting the members and participants of our football community across the state.

Source: Football Queensland

Staff Writer
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City Football Group add İstanbul Başakşehir to club portfolio

City Football Group (CFG) announced a “football collaboration agreement” with Turkish Süper Lig side İstanbul Başakşehir to expand on their current portfolio of worldwide football clubs.

CFG is the owner of Premier League giants Manchester City and the group also own majority shareholder status in a further seven clubs around the world including A-League side Melbourne City.

Under this agreement, CFG will provide Başakşehir with guidance on transfers, academy development and data-driven insights. The group will also offer support with player screening and football strategy.

This strategy used by CFG has been rather successful for all the clubs under the consortium and Melbourne City in particular have used this connection to make some big transfers in and outgoings. David Villa was the first significant loan move from CFG club New York City FC which started a practice of players and coaches rotating between the group’s clubs.

It has seen players like Daniel Arzani and Aaron Mooy move to Manchester City temporarily to be loaned out to other European clubs. Recently, Patrick Kisnorbo earned a move to fellow CFG club ESTAC Troyes to become the first ever Australian manager in a top five European league.

Göksel Gümüşdağ, Majority Owner and Club President of Başakşehir, explained that this move is immense for the club.

“İstanbul Başakşehir FK has achieved many firsts in Turkish football despite its young age and today, with this collaboration with the leading football group in the world, it marks another milestone for İstanbul Başakşehir and Turkish football,” he said in a club statement.

“From the very beginning, we have reiterated at every opportunity that our vision and goals are different and today underlines this expression again. We are very happy, proud and excited. I would like to thank all the people in City Football Group for their approach and support in the process. I hope it will be beneficial for Başakşehir FK and Turkish football.”

City Football Group released their own statement regarding the new addition to their family and the future plans for the club.

“This collaboration will help CFG grow knowledge and develop relationships in Turkey, an ambitious football nation and developer of talent. This will also provide CFG with an opportunity to collaborate across emerging football areas with a club that has a shared vision.” a CFG statement read.

City Football Group, INEOS and Red Bull in particular have figured out a way to potentially ‘game the system’ to their advantage before FIFA or UEFA had ever thought of cracking down on this potentially threatening move for football.

İstanbul Başakşehir is just another club adding to the growing list of clubs involved in a multi-club structure which is said to be over 180 clubs across the world in total. Modern football is transforming like never before.

DFL and EA Sports continue to delight Bundesliga fans

The German Football League (DFL) renewed its partnership with sports game manufacturer EA Sports, in a deal labelled by officials to be of ‘high strategic importance’.

It guarantees that clubs from Germany’s top two tiers will feature in EA Sports’ football video-game, EA Sports FC, until 2027.

In addition, EA Sports will continue to sponsor the ‘Player of the Month’ and ‘Player of the Season’ awards for the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2.

A relationship that stems back to 1998, the DFL and EA Sports share an important history built on innovation within the gaming world.

In 2012, the DFL pioneered the world’s first eFootball competition, Virtual Bundesliga (VBL), helped greatly by its relationship with EA Sports. The VBL remains a strong part of the DFL’s vision, resulting in the professionalisation of the competition.

An arm of video-game publishing organisation Electronic Arts, EA Sports is in the midst of a new era in football gaming, after failing to agree a deal with its long-time naming rights partner, FIFA.

However, the game’s universal popularity since its inception in 1993 gives it one of the highest return customer rates in video gaming history.

EA Sports’ first iteration of the game since removing the FIFA branding – EA Sports FC 24 – is the highest-selling video game in the UK and Europe, and ranks 10th in the United States (from Statista).

This global demand is exactly what the DFL is eager to capitalise on, according to Bundesliga International Chief Marketing Officer Peter Naubert.

“The contract renewal confirms the positive development of our global licensing and sponsorship partnerships and underscores the global appeal of the Bundesliga brand as well as the significant growth that the DFL generates for clubs,” Naubert stated via press release.

The gaming industry remains a lucrative space for football organisations to increase its marketability and generate greater revenue. Late last year, the Argentina Football Association partnered with a gaming software company to increase its marketing presence in Europe.

DFL joint-CEO Marc Lenz explained that the extension of its deal with EA Sports is crucial to its marketing strategy.

“Our core aim is to reach young fans and find new ways to spark their interest in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2,” Lenz told the DFL website.

EA SPORTS FC is a successful part of this strategy, because the licensing partnership and the Virtual Bundesliga increase the visibility of our leagues and clubs.”

Lenz’s partner Steffen Merkel spoke about the relationship between the DFL and EA Sports.

EA SPORTS FC deepens the connection between millions of fans and their favourite players and clubs from the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2, which are an important part of the video game series,” Merkel added via media release.

“The partnership has existed since 1998 and underscores the shared conviction behind the cooperation, which is characterised by constant and successful evolution.”

Meanwhile, the inclusion of Germany’s top two professional leagues in EA Sports FC will assist EA Sports’ future plans for football gaming.

“Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 are key to building an innovative and evolving football platform for fans, and we’re thrilled that the DFL shares our vision for the future of football,” EA Sports President, Cam Weber, added via the DFL website.

By continuing its relationship with EA Sports, the DFL demonstrates its commitment to a sustainable and profitable future for its competitions.

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