Rarely has Australian football experienced such a collective ‘stacks on’ as it did late last week.
Mark Viduka is among four Socceroos captains appointed to a high-powered think tank charged with discussing the sport’s future in Australia.
Viduka and former captains Josip Skopo, Paul Okon and Frank Farina will serve on the 11-member panel also featuring Mark Bosnich and current Matildas player Claire Polkinghorne.
Others on the panel are renowned technical analyst Ron Smith and Matildas identities Heather Garriock, Vicki Linton, Joey Peters and Connie Selby.
Dubbed ‘the Starting XI’, the advisory panel will offer ideas to Football Federation Australia’s development committee, FFA chief James Johnson said on Monday.
The panel has been appointed for voluntary two-year terms.
“Since joining FFA I have made it clear that we will be a football-first organisation that seeks to harness the collective knowledge and experience that our most successful contributors, be they current or former players, coaches, or officials, have to offer,” Johnson said in a statement.
“We have had to act quickly to stabilise the organisation during this difficult period.
“In the background, however, we have been moving several pieces to ensure that we continue to do the work which will be vital to launching the future of football in Australia.
“The Starting XI will provide a great platform for 11 of our best football brains to share their insights and ideas with FFA on key matters from grassroots to international football, national teams, player pathways, and the overall wellbeing of the game.”
Johnson said Socceroos coach Graham Arnold and Matildas coach Ante Milicic would liaise with the panel.
“Having people of the calibre of the Starting XI directly communicating with FFA on a regular basis will be invaluable for the organisation,” Johnson said.
“The diverse range of people with world-class football acumen on the panel will enable us to access a wide range of local and global views to help us drive football forward.”