Armando Gardiman AM named George Churchward Medal Winner

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Football NSW’s State Dinner was held at the ParkRoyal Parramatta in what was a fantastic celebration of community football with Football Canterbury’s well-respected football figure Armando Gardiman AM awarded the prestigious George Churchward Medal.

Football NSW Directors and Life Members all came together to recognise and acknowledge the elite few who have provided consistent and invaluable service at community level.

There was also representation from State and Local Government with David Harris (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Treaty, Minister for Gaming and Racing, Minister for Veterans, Minister for Medical Research, and Minister for the Central Coast), Charishma Kaliyanda (Member for Liverpool) and Donna Davis (Member for Parramatta) all of which threw their support behind the event.

Hosted by Stephanie Brantz, the evening kicked off with the presentation of the State Award winners.

State Award winners are nominated by their Association in recognition of their tireless efforts and service to football in their local community.

State Awards formally recognise individuals who have provided consistent and valuable service at any level – Club, Association, Branch or State.

These contributions may include services such as: committee member, coach, manager, match official, canteen manager or grounds person.

The 2023 State Award Winners are:

  • Daniel Metcalfe – Bankstown District Amateur Football Association  
  • Dimitri Hursalas – Bankstown District Amateur Football Association 
  • Vicki Belton-Crowe – Canterbury & District Soccer Football Association Inc 
  • Ian Robinson – Eastern Suburbs Football Association           
  • Andre Gmur – Eurobodalla Football Association Inc. 
  • Eddy De Gabrielle – Football South Coast       
  • Irene Hatzipetros – Football St George
  • Matt Spalding – Macarthur Football Association         
  • Suzy Broughton – Manly Warringah Football Association      
  • Greg Dick – Manly Warringah Football Association    
  • Ben Chesterman – Nepean Football Association Inc  
  • Roy Ashpole – Northern Suburbs Football Association          
  • Terry Haberley – Shoalhaven District Football Association Inc.         
  • Jonathon Clark – Southern Districts Soccer Football Association      
  • Jason Broadbent – Southern Tablelands Football Association Inc.    
  • Jim Hankins – Sutherland Shire FA     

Fair Play Award

This year’s award recognised the fair play shown by Nepean Football Association’s Under 6 Bears teams from Wilberforce United FC.

Football NSW were touched by the compassion and great sportsmanship shown by this team towards their opposition led by their Coach in the MiniRoos space.

Wilberforce Under 6 Bears showed extreme compassion for their Under 6 Emu’s team, who are made up of mostly Under 5’s and have had a very arduous season being beaten quite regularly.

The Richmond coach came back ecstatic at how the Wilberforce team at one stage all fell over “like ten pins” to allow the Richmond team a chance to run through and score a goal.

The coach mentioned that all the players and parents from Wilberforce were so positive and encouraging to their players to keep going that it was a pleasure to play the game in such great spirit from everyone concerned.

It’s little moments like this that brings a smile to everyone’s faces and for that reason the club took out this award.

Future Leaders Award

The Future Leader Award recipient is someone who has shown enthusiasm, determination, innovation, and direction in giving back to football and who is passionate about harnessing the power of football in their local community.

These traits were heavily personified by Southern Tablelands FA’s Jason Broadbent who picked up his second award of the evening following his State Award which he had won earlier on the night.

Jason joined the Goulburn Stags FC in 2013 and won the All-Age Highland Championship in 2014.

In addition to playing, Jason has been involved in coaching junior teams from 2014 onwards.

The 28-year-old has held various positions on the Stags Board of Management over the past 9 years and is currently Club President.

He is also a manager of the Stags Senior Football Teams and STFA men’s representative side.

In the STFA, Jason has been the Competition Manager for the past 5 years and is second in charge of the Southern Tablelands Referees.  He handles both the draw and the appointment of referees.

He is one young person that has come through the ranks locally and is actively involved in making sure the game of football flourishes in his town and region.

This year, Jason was awarded the citizen of the year at the Goulburn Australia Day Awards for his contribution and services to the Southern Tablelands Football Association and Soccer in the Goulburn Mulwaree region.

Football NSW wishes to congratulate Jason on a well-deserved honour.

George Churchward Medal

The night’s final and most honoured award, the George Churchward Medal, presented annually to an individual who has exemplified an outstanding commitment to the sport was awarded to Armando Gardiman AM.

Armando has been a player, team official, and Administrator for over 40 years.

As a player, he played at school as a junior before moving to Sydney to attend University. Most of his playing days were with the FC Five Dock, a longstanding club in the Association. Armando ceased playing in 2013 at the age of 58. He had been a playing member with FC Five Dock for over 20-years. When Armando ceased playing, it was with the FC Five Dock team participating in the Association O/35 Competition. The FC Five Dock team was known as the Five Dock Fossils. Armando also coached his son’s and daughter’s teams over some years at FC Five Dock and Concord JSC.

However, Armando had the most significant impact on the game off the field. A trained lawyer, he was called upon to assist with chairing the Association’s Disciplinary Tribunal in 2005. It was a difficult time, and to this day, he continues to Chair the Disciplinary Committee, handling the most challenging of hearings.

Armando has also been called upon to Chair, on many occasions, the Appeals Committee in matters where he has not had any prior involvement.

Armando has chaired over 250 Disciplinary Tribunals and written judgements for each Disciplinary case on which he has sat.

Armando has also been a panel member on 3 Commissions of Inquiry, two of which were for Football NSW. One of those Inquiries resulted in considerable reform to the Football NSW Board.

Armando served the Association as Vice President in 2005 and 2006 and again in 2011, 2012, 2013.

Armando has served the Association as an Executive Committee Member and then as a Director of Football Canterbury under its revised structure adopted in 2013.

Armando retired from the Board after the 2022 AGM due to term limits for Directors, introduced in 2013. Armando served as Deputy Chair of the Board from 2014 until 2018 and then as Chairman from 2019 until 2022.

During his time as both an executive committee member and as a director, Armando championed the cause of female participation in football. It was his initiative to employ a Female Football Development Officer.

Armando advocated for the Association to invest money and resources in female-specific programs, including officiating, coaching, and playing. Additionally, Armando campaigned for females to hold Board portfolios, which in 2023 saw more female directors than male directors comprise the Board of Directors at Football Canterbury.

Armando has been and continues to be an advocate for marginalised groups and communities. An example of this is each year, any honorarium offered to him has been directed towards funding the registration costs of young boys and girls from emerging communities.

Armando has also served as the Football NSW General Purposes Tribunal Chair. Football NSW benefitted from his intellectual vigour.

Additionally, Armando has provided legal advice and strategy services to several Associations, volunteers, and paid officers within the game on a pro bono basis. It includes representation before tribunals and hearings within Associations and Football NSW.

Armando has also acted as a lobbyist in advocating for community football at local, state, and federal government levels. It has been about providing safe playing environments and facilities that are future-proof and female-friendly.

Even in 2023, Armando has continued to provide his expertise to community football clubs, National Premier League Clubs, and an A-league club.

Armando has been recognised for his services to the game in the following manner.

  • Vince & Val Laws Medal (2022)
  • Cec Barlow Award (2018)
  • Life Member of Football Canterbury (2018)
  • Member of the Order of Australia (AM) Australia Day (2016)
  • Football NSW State Award (2007)

Outside of Football, Armando has been recognised for significant service to the law and the community through the provision of legal advice to asbestos disease institutions and fundraising for the Asbestos Diseases Foundation.

It was a fitting end of the evening as Armando received a standing ovation by the many in attendance.

It was a fantastic evening as Football NSW’s grassroots community embraced in what was a memorable season for all involved with all eyes on a bigger season in 2024.