Update From Acting CEO


Early last week we announced that we could not reach agreement on terms with Graham Arnold. Were we disappointed with this outcome? Yes. Was it a major setback? Absolutely not!

Early last week we announced that we could not reach agreement on terms with Graham Arnold. Were we disappointed with this outcome? Yes. Was it a major setback? Absolutely not!

During the negotiation process, as a safeguard, we had still been progressing discussions with alternative options in the event that agreement could not be reached with Arnie. As a result, we immediately stepped up those other discussions, with the result that earlier today we were able to announce that Ian Crook had been appointed as Head Coach. Ian was the next preferred candidate and we believe he will do an outstanding job over the next two seasons. The players, coaching and ancillary staff, as well as the administrative staff have warmly welcomed the appointment of this highly respected and talented coach.

During the whole process, I have to say the club was disappointed with some of the speculation and claims coming from some quarters. There were suggestions we did not have an alternative plan in place. That was untrue. Also, we did not, as one media outlet suggested, offer a three year deal to Gary van Egmond, nor did the chairman meet with another prominent candidate. During any negotiation processes we elect not to publicise our dealings, although we recognise that this will generally lead to speculation, which is often incorrect. We will not, though, compromise such negotiations, but when we feel it is appropriate to inform our members and supporters we will always do so.

One negotiation that concluded last week resulted in the reappointment of Goalkeeper Coach, Zeljko Kalac. ‘Spider-, who played at AC Milan, as well as representing the Socceroos at World Cup level, was a tremendous acquisition to the club last season and we are really pleased that he will continue his great work next season.

In terms of player recruitment, the fact that we did not have a Head Coach until today has not prevented us from holding discussions in recent weeks with potential signings. Football Director, Gary Cole, has continued to source players based on his and the coaching staff-s understanding of the areas where the squad needed strengthening, as well as the types and quality of players to be signed. Now that Ian Crook has been appointed as Head Coach those discussions can be accelerated.

The playing and coaching staff recently had a 10 day break after the Sky Blue Ball, before returning to post-season training at Macquarie. Training will continue until June 10, after which the players will take a 5 week break, before resuming the first phase of pre-season training in mid-July. The first three weeks of that phase will be heavily supplemented with community work, with the main pre-season schedule occurring from early August, in readiness for the competition kick off in early October.

Assistant Coach, Steve Corica, returned last week from Europe where he visited Barcelona and Ajax as part of a scholarship funded by FFA. Terry Antonis also returned from Europe, after spending almost two weeks training with the first team at Borussia Monchengladbach, a wonderful experience for our talented youngster.

Away from the football field, activity is still fast paced. The staff are busily preparing the club-s membership and corporate programs, our commercial staff are out in the sponsorship marketplace, the marketing, media and communications staff have already drafted their plans, the events staff are planning next season-s schedule of functions (as well finalising arrangements for this Thursday-s Golf Day at Bonnie Doon), the merchandise staff are working closely with adidas and other suppliers, and the Finance Director, in conjunction with Department Heads, is currently drafting budgets, with the Football Administration staff awaiting details of next season-s fixture list so they can, as early as possible, finalise pre-season friendlies and make travel and other arrangements.

The community program is also continuing, with players visiting junior clubs and public and private schools. In recent weeks we have made presentations at full school assemblies at St Aloysius- College and at St Joseph-s College, following the recent inaugural Sydney FC Schools Cup, which was won by Joeys. The presentation at Joeys was ground breaking in that it was the first time ever that special guests from football had been recognised at a full school assembly. We are proud that we can assist these private schools in further developing and enhancing their respective football programs so that the code receives the improved recognition it deserves.

As you would be aware, there have been some changes with regard to the structure of the club. David Traktovenko will increase his shareholding in the club, with the two other major shareholders retaining their existing shares but not participating in future capital raisings.

As a result of this there have been changes to the composition of the board. Paul Ramsay, Chris Rex and Elliott Rusanow, who have each been dedicated and outstanding board members, have stepped down. Former Federal Sports Minister, Mark Arbib, a passionate Sydney FC supporter, and Foundation board member and shareholder, Michael Crismale, have been appointed to the board, and their respective skill sets, knowledge, experience and expertise will be invaluable. More appointments will be announced in the coming weeks.

The board is progressing with its search for a new CEO, and is addressing a short list of candidates. As a result, I expect that an announcement may well be made in the next fortnight or so.

I trust this update has provided you with an insight into what is currently happening within Sydney FC. Even though the A-League is in recess, there is no such thing as an off-season for the club-s administration. In fact, arguably, this is our busiest period, as we plan and prepare for the ensuing season and also provide whatever support we can to the Football Department to facilitate our on-field performances next season.

Have a great week and thank you sincerely for your ongoing support.

Stefan Kamasz
Acting CEO & GM Community and Game Development

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