South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

South Backs Lowy’s New Soccer Taskforce

South Backs Lowy’s New Soccer Taskforce

Thursday, 16 October 2003 12:00 AM

The establishment of the Frank Lowy National Competition Taskforce has the full support of the Nation’s most successful club, South Melbourne.

Club President, Mr. Peter Mitrakas and Chief Executive Mr. Mark Patterson have thrown their full support behind the taskforce and the process being implemented to create a new National soccer competition. “The new competition must generate the credibility that is currently missing in soccer in Australia and if the taskforce under the Lowy administration forces us to raise the bar then that’s a very positive outcome” said Mitrakas today.

“We have already implemented major structural and administrative changes at South in the last few months, including the appointment of a new professional management team which is fundamental to the business improvement process we have embarked upon as a club”. “We have sourced many new sponsors and have recorded a higher membership than last year.” Mitrakas added.

“Our fans understand that credibility in terms of crowds, membership and stability both on and off the field are of paramount importance as the club embarks on its greatest ever challenge; to create the soccer club for all Melbournians. Our record crowd last weekend against Brisbane was indicative of our progress and is an important indicator for the competition and the club.” Patterson said.

The South Melbourne brand is very strong and the motivation of the team both on the field and off is intense. The focus is about involving the club prominently in the taskforce process.

The club has moved proactively to establish a taskforce of its own to investigate the key issues associated with membership of the new league. South Melbourne has drawn expertise from a wide variety of fields including finance, legal, strategic business and marketing. In addition, the club will soon commission a branding and image consultant to assist in the process.

“We have always thrived on the challenges that soccer has thrown up to us over the years. We have never failed to succeed in the bigger-picture issues and we have continued to learn along the way.” said Mitrakas.

South Melbourne is very supportive of the taskforce and congratulates the Frank Lowy administration on the cross-section of representation that has been appointed to the panel. “The group represents the key stakeholders and we look forward to contribution and supporting the process over the months ahead.” Patterson said. “It is also pleasing that the resources of the Professional Footballers Association and in particular its major research information and former CEO Brendan Schwab are available and will be assisting the task force.” Patterson added.

South can provide a valuable resource for the task force and from our history and desire to lead change for soccer in this country we support a team approach to resolving the issues.

South Melbourne has already shown by our recent actions that we want to be part of the new era of soccer. The recent achievements made by the club in the past few months include:

· Appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer with strong managerial, sports management experience and business management qualifications at the highest level.
· Implemented a broad based approach to commercial relationships including the signing of Crazy John and many other new companies to the club.
· Attracted professional staff from the AFL and other notable organizations to work for the club.
· Increased membership this season above last year’s season end total.
· Attracted a record crowd for the clubs first home game of the season against Brisbane Strikers.
· Entered in agreements for the fulfilment of major community programs within the city of Melbourne.
· Appointed a highly qualified taskforce with the objective of presenting the NSL taskforce with a highly professional and thought provoking submission.
· Currently considering the appointment of a brand and image consultant.
· Establishment of a school for soccer in Doncaster.

Patterson said “South Melbourne will continue to focus on improving its position with the objective of improving the game in Australia not only for its players, supporters, members and stakeholders but also for the many Australians who crave a credible and sustainable successful National competition”.

“South Melbourne shares Frank Lowy’s dream for the game in this country and will leave no stone unturned to be part of the new frontier of soccer in Australia, we are encouraging ongoing dialogue and healthy debate of the issues that will ensure the best soccer outcome is achieved” added club President Peter Mitrakas.

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