Current Melbourne City Director of Football John Didulica has been appointed as the new PFA Chief Executive.
PFA President and Caltex Socceroo Alex Wilkinson announced the appointment of the PFA Life Member to the role following an extensive recruitment process that involved current and former members and industry experts.
“John was the unanimous choice of the PFA Executive Committee,” said Wilkinson.
“The players were determined to appoint a ‘world class’ Chief Executive and we are certain that we have done this.
“John’s qualifications for the role are outstanding. In addition to his career as a professional footballer, he has spent over 14 years working in Australian football in senior roles within the PFA, Football Federation Australia and the A-League, and is set to graduate from Melbourne University with a Master of Laws in 2016.”
Having fulfilled the roles of Chief Executive and General Counsel at the PFA throughout 2002 to 2007, Didulica played a key role in:
- the development of PFA’s Australia Premier League Model, which became the blueprint for the A-League;
- the establishment of the PFA’s ‘world class’ advocacy program; and
- managing the transition of players from the financial collapse of the NSL to the A-League.
PFA Chairman Craig Foster hailed the appointment of Didulica.
“The players particularly sought a Chief Executive with a vision to drive progress for the game,” said Foster.
“John’s appointment ensures the PFA will be well placed to pursue the interests of both the players and the broader game; two fundamental elements that are inextricably linked.
“We also stand strongly for the development and promotion of former players of all levels and the special passion, knowledge and feeling they bring to leadership roles in football, John comes from a family with deep football pedigree and from having undertaken a variety of roles within the game over a long period, giving him a broad mix of skills and experience.
"In time, it will be important for football people to inherit the game to reach its destiny and this appointment is a sign of the importance we place on this principle.
“The process was lengthy and thorough, consisting of an independent panel with former and current members, PFA Champions and recruitment experts refining the applicant pool after which the Executive Committee scrutinised the remaining candidates where John was an absolute standout.
“John’s return to the PFA is the first step in strengthening the intellectual capital of the organisation and I expect to announce further additions shortly with the game entering a period where, in our view, further reform is needed at all levels for us to reach our potential, including at the professional level.
"The PFA played a central role in the reengineering of football and the advent of the A-League. This breadth of football knowledge and expertise will be critical to seeing the A-League and W-League prosper in an ever more competitive market; for our members, and our fellow football lovers."
Didulica said he was proud to have been entrusted by the players with the role.
“It is an honour to represent our members and to be appointed as Chief Executive,” he said.
“It’s a hugely exciting and important time for the sport. The current generation of players have an opportunity, through their collective talent and shared experiences, to drive the success of Australian football.
“Having been part of the PFA in my early working life, the mission to build the game and support players becomes part of your DNA and the opportunity to make a broader contribution again is immensely exciting.
“The professional, cultural and social richness of our game presents an enormous opportunity for Australian footballers to build rewarding and unique careers.”
Didulica will assume the role in July.