National team greats assist FFA with Tony Gustavsson announcement

Football Federation Australia (FFA) today acknowledged the support of various stakeholders in helping to execute the announcement of new Westfield Matildas Head Coach, Tony Gustavsson.

Gustavsson was unveiled as the Head Coach of Australia’s senior women’s national football team at the Australian High Commission in London on Tuesday evening (AEST), after being personally greeted by the High Commissioner for Australia, His Excellency the Honourable George Brandis QC. 

FFA Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson, said the announcement couldn’t have occurred without the effort and support of a range of FFA employees, associates, former players, contractors, and partners.  

“Due to COVID-19 situation globally we really had to think creatively regarding this announcement,” Johnson said.  

“With the efforts and support of many of our staff, the Australian High Commission in London, football presenter Tara Rushton, former Socceroos captain Lucas Neill, former Westfield Matilda Alicia Ferguson, current Matilda Caitlin Foord, Getty Images, Perform Group, Telstra, Fox Sports, ABC TV, Nike, and Bar TV, we were able to produce a high-quality announcement befitting of the position Tony has been appointed to.”

Australia House 1

“In the XI Principles we set out a bold 15-year vision for the game in Australia, and express our desire to elevate the Westfield Matildas both as a team and brand to a world class standard. The collaboration and execution across three time zones and geographic locations, utilising a raft of technology and aligning many moving parts, highlights what’s possible for our game if we are innovative, united and able to tap into our global network available to us. 

“The fact that Tony was assisted by two former players also demonstrates how we are committed to bringing football to the centre of the organisation,” he said. 

Meanwhile, FFA was pleased to engage two former national team representatives – Neill and Ferguson – to assist with the announcement of Gustavsson in London. 

Australia House 2

Neill and Ferguson are both based in the United Kingdom, and assisted FFA with on-ground logistics and operations.   

Neill said: “Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, FFA asked me to represent them on the ground in London and on ‘home away from home soil’ at the Australian High Commission. I was honoured to do so.”

“This is a very important era for the Westfield Matildas and Australian football. Having spent the day with Tony, it is evident how passionate and determined he is to be successful and develop talent. His emotion combined with his attention to detail has me believing that there are exciting times ahead.” 

“I wish Tony, the staff, and all the Westfield Matildas all the very best as they embark on an amazing four-year journey.” 

Ferguson said: “As a former Matilda, it was an honour to be involved in the announcement of our new Head Coach, Tony Gustavsson, at Australia House.”

“Despite the unique environment of a virtual announcement, I’m grateful to James Johnson & the FFA for asking me to attend and conduct the first interview with Tony. 

“Tony not only has excellent credentials but is passionate and focussed on taking the Matildas to the next level and I’m excited for the journey ahead.”

FFA is committed to continuing engagement with former players. In line with Principle II of the XI Principles, FFA intends to ‘improve engagement with former greats to involve them in the telling of the Australian football narrative’. 

Lucas Neill Alicia Ferguson