Meet the Committee

George Donikian

George has been a journalist, broadcaster and media consultant for more than 40 years, working with the likes of SBS-TV - as the original face of multiculturalism - as well as Network TEN and the Nine Network. 

As the founding anchor, George fronted the much-acclaimed World News in Melbourne and Sydney, and then across the nation, as SBS-TV spread its influence and reputation. He has also hosted talkback radio shows in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, covered the 1990 World Cup for both TV and radio, and was the voice of football at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. 

He is now host of The Daily Brief on Linked-In and Chairman of Football Nation Radio.

​He was an inaugural member of the Australian Immigration Review Panel, and has presented documentary programs related to Australian multiculturalism and travel in Armenia. 

George also holds ambassadorial positions with BullyZero Australia, Carlton FC, Melbourne City FC and the Australian Intercultural Society. 

Jorge Knijnik

Dr Jorge Knijnik is an Associate Professor in the School of Education and a researcher in the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University.

 

Jorge’s overarching research interests focus on topics of Education (including Health and Physical Education), social justice, sport for development, gender, multiculturalism, football fandom, curriculum and social inclusion.

 

His community and pedagogical work has been acknowledged by two major prizes: the 2009 Building Gender Equality awarded by the Brazilian Research Council, UNESCO and UN-WOMEN, and a 2014 Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, presented by the Australian Department of Education.

Originally from Brazil, Jorge is a lifelong football fan, and has authored or co-authored eight books, both academic and non-academic in genre.

 

His most recent publication (2018) is entitled The World Cup Chronicles: 31 Days that Rocked Brazil.

Elia Santoro

Elia is a lifelong fan of the game and has significant experience in managing and developing community football, including as coach and manager of a junior team.

 

She also played one season as a striker for Five Dock in Sydney.

She has developed commercial 

partnerships for football at grassroots, A-League & W-League levels, including the securing of improved football facilities. She is an experienced events manager and project coordinator with experience in media production. 

 

Her previous executive appointments include as a Director and Chairman of the Fundraising Committee of Co.As.It; as Board member and CEO of Sydney Olympic FC; and as a member of Football NSW's General Purpose Tribunal.

She is a former candidate for the Board of Football NSW and is also a Board member of the Heartbeat of Football. 

Carole Fabian

Carole has been involved in grass roots football in the inner north of Melbourne for 16 years. 

 

While the normal trajectory is to be a player first, and then as the body ages, move into administration, Carole started as a club committee member, served as Club Secretary, and then decided to take up playing at the youthful age of 51. Her playing career was brief and marked by few (if any) decent passes, but at least she can say she’s been on both sides of the fence. She is passionately committed to the development of women’s football at all levels.

Professionally, Carole holds a journalism degree, and has worked for 35 years in both federal and state politics as an electorate officer and ministerial advisor.  

 

She has also worked as a freelance writer, a community radio broadcaster, and is currently a volunteer biographer for an organisation called ‘Beyond Words’ which helps aged care residents record their life stories. She is also Chair of Banksia Gardens Community Services in Broadmeadows, Melbourne, a winner of a National Justice Award, and most recently of the inaugural Fiona Richardson Award for Gender Equity.

Bonita Mersiades

Bonita has been a football volunteer in Canberra, Brisbane, Sydney and Townsville for more than years.

 

She has worked professionally in football with a national soccer league club, a state federation, as team manager of the Socceroos, and with FFA as Head of corporate and public affairs. She is also the author of two football books: Frank Farina's My World is Round  and Whatever It Takes - the Inside Story of the FIFA Way. She is a writer, editor and publisher, founder of the Football Writers' Festival and is an advocate for reform in football internationally as co-founder of campaign group New FIFA Now.

 

Prior to working in football, Bonita also worked as a senior executive with the federal government in the areas of health, education and budgetary policy, and as a Ministerial advisor. She has represented Australia at the World Health Organisation on HIV/AIDS and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation fora including leading APEC delegations.

She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Charles Perkins Soccer Academy and a Board member of the Western Sydney Philharmonic.

Alen Stajcic

Alen is the head coach of Central Coast Mariners in the A-League and was coach of the women's national team, the Matildas, for five years until 2019. During his time at the helm of the Matildas, the team was always in the top 10 rankings worldwide.

Also a qualified secondary school teacher, prior to working with the Matildas, Alen was responsible for the NSW Sapphires in the former women's national soccer league, the NSW Institute of Sport's women's program, the head coach of the Under-20 women's national team, The Hills Sports High School football program, and Sydney FC W-League squad.

 

He has won three premierships with NSW Sapphires and Sydney FC. He is a member of the Sydney FC Hall of Fame and was named coach of the year by the Australian Institute of Sport in 2017.

As well as his role with Central Coast Mariners, Alen is a volunteer coach with a grassroots girls' team.

Heather Garriock

Heather Garriock played 130 A-internationals for Australia, including three World Cups, three Asian Cups and and two Olympic Games.

 

She was part of the Asian Cup winning squad of 2010, has scored in multiple World Cups, and also scored in Australia’s first win at a senior women’s tournament (Athens 2004).

 

Her representative career came to an end due to a lack of maternity and childcare policy within Football Federation Australia (FFA), with Heather eventually forcing FFA to change.

 

Heather's domestic club career began in the former WNSL in 1996, one week before she turned 14 years old. She went on to play at club level in Australia (WNSL and W-League), the USA, Denmark and Sweden, and was awarded the Julie Dolan Medal in 2003.

 

Heather was a player-coach with Sydney University, assistant coach to Alen Stajcic for the Matildas, and coach of Canberra United for three seasons.

 

She is also a football analyst with Optus Sport.

Vicki Morton

Victoria Morton is President of South Hobart Football Club, a position she has held for more than nine years and has been involved in football in Tasmania for 17 years. 

 

She is deputy Chairman of the Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC) and President of the Central Region Football Association in Tasmania, which manages football for 4,500 players between the ages of 5-12 in greater Hobart.

She is also a Director of Morton's Soccer School which runs classes for girls and boys between the ages of 4-18 years. Victoria also manages The Kit Room, which is a football specific store in Hobart. 

In 2018, Victoria re-introduced the Hobart Cup to the local football landscape, with more than 120 teams participating to be Southern Tasmania's most popular junior tournament.

 

A former restaurant owner and pastry chef, Victoria was also named Football Administrator of the Year in 2018.

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