Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) today announced that Mark Viduka will receive the prestigious PFA Alex Tobin OAM Medal at a gala dinner to be held at Melbourne's Crown Palladium on Monday 14 February 2011.
The Tobin Medal - the PFA's highest honour - recognises the true legends of Australian football who demonstrated 4 key attributes throughout their careers: (1) leadership; (2) achievement as a player; (3) commitment to one's fellow professionals; and (4) service and dedication to the game.
PFA Executive Member Kevin Muscat was delighted that Viduka, a former Socceroo team mate, has joined the elite group of Tobin Medalists.
"For Mark to follow the late Johnny Warren, Joe Marston and Craig Johnston shows the esteem in which he is held by his fellow professionals" Muscat said.
PFA Chief Executive Brendan Schwab recalled Viduka's progress through Australia's football system.
"Mark's development as a player is an example for every aspiring professional," Schwab said. "He progressed through the Australian career pathway: the AIS, the old National Soccer League with the Melbourne Knights and Europe, excelling in Croatia, Scotland and England.
"Mark also captained both the Young Socceroos and Socceroos, including leading Australia to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany."
The PFA Alex Tobin gala evening will also feature the announcement of:
- the 2010/11 PFA A-League Team of the Season; - the PFA Kimon Taliadoros Scholarship recipients, for those players who have excelled in their education and development outside of football; and - the inaugural PFA Craig Foster Media Scholarship to support players seeking a career in the football media.
The night will culminate with a special tribute to the contribution Victorian football has made to the Australian game with the support of A-League Clubs Melbourne Heart, Melbourne Victory and Football Federation Victoria.
PFA President Simon Colosimo spoke of the influence the local champions of the game.
"I remember growing up watching and playing with legends like Oscar Crino, Gary Cole, Alex Tobin, Steve Horvat, Andrew Marth, Paul Trimboli and Mehmet Durakovic. The passion that existed inside the stadiums was infectious and it drove you to dream that you too could replicate their feats on the field.
"I urge all former players and football fans to join this celebration," Colosimo added.