Bonita Mersiades' life has always had football (or soccer) in it. She was given her love of it courtesy of her refugee father from eastern Europe, and grew-up surrounded by the game amongst the many and diverse ethnic communities in Australia who helped nurture and build it. As a grassroots football club volunteer in four cities - Canberra, Brisbane, Sydney and Townsville - she has done what all volunteers do: put up nets, helped dress grounds, managed teams, been a 'soccer mum', worked in the canteen and merchandise shop, done social media and websites, created an under-5 competition, and run competitions and carnivals. She was previously on the executive committee of the Football Media Association in Australia. She remains an active volunteer in football, and is a member of an A-League club. Her early career was principally in government where she worked at senior executive level on measures including Australia's first National HIV/AIDS Strategy, coordination of the Working Nation initiatives, the introduction of the Higher Education Contribution Scheme, a national access and equity strategy for vocational education, and advancing Australian food exports. Mersiades happened to find herself working professionally in the game for a national league club, a state federation, as team operations manager for the men's national team the Socceroos, and as head of corporate and public affairs for Football Federation Australia. In the latter role, she was involved in Australia's bid to host the 2022 World Cup until January 2010. She is the ghost-writer of the playing biography of Frank Farina, My World is Round (1998). Along with British MP Damian Collins, and Swiss-based Australian businessman Jaimie Fuller, Mersiades is a co-founder of #NewFIFANow, the campaign group established in the wake of the Garcia inquiry that advocates for independent governance reform of world football administration. In addition to her volunteer duties, Mersiades is editor and founder of a football news and opinion website, footballtoday.news. She has also established a niche publishing company, Fair Play Publishing, which is focused on the publication of 'really good football books'. Bonita Mersiades was one of the first people in the world to speak out about the environment and culture within which world football and FIFA operated.
'A real football official who worked on her national bid, Bonita Mersiades travelled the world for two years and she tells the story from the inside. It's not a good story and she is the only one with the courage to tell the truth. And she knows more about football than most. It's great news for football. Less so for others. I hope you enjoy - I did, hugely.' ANDREW JENNINGS