The life of Bonita Mersiades has always had football in it. She was given her love of the game courtesy of her refugee father from eastern Europe, and grew-up surrounded by the it amongst the many and diverse ethnic communities in Australia who helped nurture and build her passion for it.
As a grassroots football club volunteer in four cities – Canberra, Brisbane, Sydney and Townsville – Bonita has done what all volunteers do: put up nets, dressed grounds, managed teams, became a ‘soccer mum’, worked in the canteen and merchandise shop, engaged in 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, remains an active volunteer in football, and is a member of more than one A-League club.
Bonita's early career was principally in government where she worked at a 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.
Bonita worked 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, which included Australia’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup until January 2010.
Bonita was one of the first people in the world to speak out about the environment and culture within which world football and FIFA operated – described by US authorities as similar to the mafia - in the context of the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding contest. She is known as a 'FIFA whistleblower'.
Along with British MP Damian Collins, and businessman Jaimie Fuller, Mersiades was a co-founder of #NewFIFANow, the campaign group established in 2014 in the wake of the Garcia inquiry that advocated for independent governance reform of world football administration long before the famous 2015 'FIFA arrests' in Zurich.
TITLES BY BONITA MERSIADES
Release: October 2021
Portraits in Football
A collection of photographs from the former Fairfax Media Archive curated by Bonita to depict the social and cultural context of football in Australia in the 20th century.
Release: January 2018
Whatever it Takes: The Inside
Story of the FIFA Way
This book lifts the lid on how a bid for the greatest show on earth, the FIFA World Cup, works from the inside – an inside that involves what is now known as the murky, corrupt goings-on of world football administration.
Release: September 1998
My World Is Round—Frank Farina
Farina, one of Australia's most colourful, players of the game. Here, he tells of his personal playing history, including his experience playing for Australia and the ups-and-downs of being a successful European professional.