Farina named as PFA Alex Tobin Medal winner

Official release from Professional Footballers Australia

Official release from Professional Footballers Australia

Frank Farina has been named as the latest recipient of the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) Alex Tobin Medal to be presented at the annual PFA Awards in Brisbane on 13 June.

“Frank Farina rose to the top of Australian football at a time and in an environment where it was difficult to do so – let alone for a self-described skinny kid from regional Queensland via New Guinea,” said PFA Chief Executive, Brendan Schwab.

“He was in the second intake of players to the football program at the AIS 30 years ago and he has been an important contributor to the football narrative in Australia ever since.”

Born in Darwin in 1964, Farina spent his childhood in New Guinea before moving to Cairns as a 10 year old. After earning a scholarship to the AIS in 1982, he played with the Canberra Arrows, Sydney City and Marconi in the former national soccer league (NSL) for six years before a seven year career in Belgium, Italy and France. On his transfer from Club Brugge in Belgium to Bari in Italy in 1991, he attracted a then record transfer fee for an Australian player of $3.2 million.

He also played for Australia in the 1983 World Youth Cup, the 1986, 1990 and 1994 World Cup campaigns, the 1988 Bicentennial Gold Cup and Seoul Olympics. In total, he played 86 times in an Australian shirt, including 37 ‘A’ internationals for 10 goals.

“He was also the first of Australia’s successful ‘exports’ to come home,” said Schwab.

“And if being one of our earliest and highest profile overseas Socceroos wasn’t enough, it was Frank’s return to the NSL in 1995, when he was still at the top of his game, that was a major boost to the development of the game.

“His return showed us what football was capable of in Australia because here was an exciting marquee player, in a geographically based team, who brought greater professionalism to his club, improved the quality of play and attracted big crowds for the big games.”

 
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