Football 3 years ago

Frank Lowy farewelled as FFA chairman

  • Frank Lowy farewelled as FFA chairman

The music has stopped for Frank Lowy, but not before the outgoing Football Federation Australia chairman was praised as a remarkable man whose passion steered the round-ball sport to its full potential in Australia.

After 12 years at the helm, Lowy will step down from his post on Tuesday to make way for his son Steven to take over.

At a gala event at ANZ Stadium on Monday night, former prime minister John Howard hailed his close friend of more than 40 years for finally giving football a place in the hearts and minds of Australian people.

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Howard recruited Lowy as chairman of then Soccer Australia in 2003, hoping the man who helped establish the National Soccer League before walking away disillusioned could reform the troubled sport and grow it from grassroots level to international recognition.

On the Westfield Group co-founder's watch, three consecutive World Cups followed along with the creation of the A-League, the move from Oceania to Asia and subsequent Asian Cup triumph, and unprecedented success in the women's game.

"There's a place for every sport in Australia, but it's important the potential of each can be realised and unlocked to the full," Howard said.

"And Frank, that's what you have done for football in Australia. You have led from the very beginning.

"It wouldn't have happened without a remarkable man, a man who I've been very fond of for decades and who has just given so much."

Lowy was both humble and proud of his achievements.

"Tomorrow the music stops for me," the 85-year-old said.

"How do I feel? Do I feel sad? Yes. Do I feel happy? Maybe. Will I miss this job? Yes. Do I feel proud? Absolutely.

"No journey is perfect; we've had our shares of ups and downs. But who can deny the progress we have made in football?

"Now is the right time for me to go. We are entering a new phase of growth for the game and now is the time for new leadership."

FFA chief executive David Gallop hailed Lowy for laying much of the groundwork for the Socceroos' memorable 2006 World Cup qualification exactly 10 years ago, while absent Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull sent his own message.

"You have instilled in Australians your love and passion for the game," Turnbull's message read.

"From five-year-olds at the local park, professionals in the stadiums and many of us watching on TV are in your debt."

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