APL announces new chair

Dear fellow supporters,

My name is Stephen Conroy and, like you, I’m a football fan. I have been for more than 50 years.  Fundamentally that’s what lies behind my introducing myself to you today as the first independent chair of the A-Leagues.

As a father standing on the side lines in Melbourne’s suburbs; an amateur player and former junior state representative, and a Chelsea fan since my childhood, I know only too well the incredible range of emotions that our game provides. There is no better feeling than when you are winning.  And that is the sustained feeling that I want for our professional game.  

I have never seen greater opportunity for the immense potential of Australian and New Zealand professional football to be realised than I do today.  The CommBank Matildas and the Subway Socceroos showed the world the heights they could reach in the past year, and the Isuzu UTE A-League Men and the Liberty A-League Women – the competitions where almost all of those stars were made – were proven to be the foundry of world class footballers. 

As they continue to rapidly develop, our Leagues will produce an ever more exciting conveyor belt of Australasian talent that will sit at the heart of our game’s future international successes and deliver ever more competitive and hard-fought domestic fixtures.

Over the next few days and weeks I will meet with representatives of the entire Australian and New Zealand football family, as I get to work on helping to realise the ambition we all have for our game.  I will meet with our clubs, our staff, our broadcast and commercial partners, representatives of the FA and its Congress, and representatives of Federal and State government.  Each engagement will produce invaluable insights and opportunities.  But none more so than those that I intend to continuously seek from football fans of all backgrounds across Australia and New Zealand.

My appointment means that for the first time our professional game has an independent chair.  I will oversee a highly qualified and diverse Board that will welcome another independent director in the coming months. With a talented, hard-working and passionate executive team in place, APL is an organisation intent on delivering on its responsibilities to the whole game.

Having spent 35 years in the passionately tribal world that is Australian politics, including 20 years as a Senator and five and a half years as a Minister, I’m well aware that taking on a leadership role like this will mean once again navigating robust and diverse opinions.  But that is simply a product of the incredible passion of football fans who are an integral part of the unrivalled levels of participation of our sport.  The opportunity is to unite that passion and drive this game forward to unprecedented levels of success.

We have a lot of work to do, but the opportunity has never been greater. I know that you want the best for your club, and my intent is to make sure that everyone who loves our game feels included in the truly exciting journey that lies ahead.

Thank you for making time to read this letter, and more importantly thank you for your passion for our game.

Sincerely, Stephen Conroy