May 4, 2012
AUCKLAND - Newly inducted New Zealand Football Life Member Ivan Vuksich has responded in typically humble manner to the honour, which the long-serving football administrator received at the sport’s annual congress on Tuesday.
The honour recognises Vuksich’s outstanding contribution to the game that spans three decades and club football at both domestic and international level.
Vuksich, 64, serves as chairman of Central United and Auckland City while balancing a role as a senior manager for Fletcher Construction Engineering. He has been a key figure at the two Kiwitea based clubs serving on Central’s senior committee since 1992 and was the driving force behind the establishment of Auckland City in 2004.
Prior to that he was heavily involved at Blockhouse Bay and the Auckland Junior Football Association during the 1980s, while more recently he served on FIFA’s World Club Taskforce in 2006 and 2007, and currently is part of FIFA’s Working Group for the International Match Calendar setting FIFA’s international match calendar for 2015-22.
With Vuksich as chairman, Central have won two national league titles and four Chatham Cups while Auckland City have won the ASB Premiership four times, the OFC Champions League three times and achieved Oceania’s best ever performance at a FIFA Club World Cup – a fifth placed finish in 2009.
Vuksich’s nomination for the title of NZF Life Member came endorsed by both Oceania Football Confederation and FIFA but the man himself tried to deflect attention on to others.
“I’m obviously delighted,” said Vuksich, “but more for the two clubs. I don’t do it for any sort of personal recognition.”
“There are great people around you supplying plenty of passion. I’m just the top of a big pyramid really. With a great team you can achieve anything.”
New Zealand Football Chairman Frank van Hattum said Vuksich’s unflagging but unassuming contribution to football was inspirational.
“It’s year in and year out with Ivan. There’s seemingly no end to his commitment and he deserves the success that has come his way. Most clubs that are successful have an Ivan working tirelessly behind the scenes,” van Hattum said.
“There’s also no pretence with Ivan. After every home game, no matter how big, he’s there helping to take down the nets. He gets his hands dirty after the match and then he’s off doing his bit for world football alongside the presidents of clubs and leagues around the world.”
All Whites veteran Ivan Vicelich, who plays for both Central United and Auckland City, also paid tribute.
“It’s great to see Ivan get the recognition he deserves. He’s has dedicated a lot of time into the game and turned Central United and Auckland City into two of the leading clubs in New Zealand. It’s a fitting reward,” said Vicelich.
New Zealand Football Life Members: J T Bartle QSM, R Bovelander, A Egan, A F Fraser MBE, T J Killalea, E M Langridge QSM, A Richards MBE, S C Goodman, I R Steer, B L Swarbrick, J F Walker, R Wilson, A C Winkworth, I Vuksich.
New Zealand Football Honorary Members: J Arnold, I E Billcliff MNZM, G Billing, A Boniface, , L Coffman QSM, B Davis, J Denley, K Dobbie, H Dods, A Edwards, C J Lawrie, T W McLean, I Paton, R Pelosi, E Phillips, B J Smith.
New Zealand Football Referees Life Members: I E Billcliff MNZM, A Boniface, L Coffman QSM, N Cotton, W de Bock, R de Raat, T Delahunty, J Denley, K Dobbie, G Fleet, D Gleave, F Hall, R Harries, J B Hulton, N Jemmett, R McDonald, J McMillan, W Moffat, S Moore, A Palmer, R Paterson, J Reid, B Whitlock, I Williamson, N Wiseman.