Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) Executive member and Melbourne Heart striker John Aloisi presented Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard with a Socceroos shirt bearing her name in Melbourne last week. On behalf of the PFA, Aloisi wished Australia’s first female Prime Minister the best of luck for Saturday’s federal election.
Quite appropriately, the shirt bears the number 10, the year of Ms Gillard’s ascension to the nation’s top job.

The PM was in Melbourne as the guest of honour for the campaign of Antony Thow, an ALP candidate for the Senate.  Thow, the former Secretary of the Victorian branch of the National Union of Workers, has been a long serving contributor to the PFA, having acted as an arbitrator of player/club grievances in the 1990’s and as a member of the PFA Advisory Board in the early part of this decade.

Most recently, Thow forged the current strategic alliance between the NUW and the PFA with Chief Executive Brendan Schwab.  The alliance sees the PFA implement its ‘Heroes’ program for disadvantaged children in Australian schools, with PFA members playing a vital role in mentoring students.  The program now enjoys substantial corporate support, including from LUCRF Super, the NUW’s superannuation fund.  LUCRF Super also supports the PFA Awards and Player Services programs.

“It will be great for the PFA and football to have a friend as committed as Antony in the Australian Parliament,” Schwab said.  “Antony’s contribution to the PFA and the players over a long period of time has been profound and is greatly appreciated.  He will similarly be a great servant of the Australian people.”

Schwab also said that the ALP Government’s support for football over the last year has been at levels unprecedented for the game in Australia.