Merrick to 'disrupt' Australian football

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Former NSL and A-League coach Ernie Merrick has been given the freedom to shape Australia's footballing future after being appointed as Football Australia's first chief football officer.

The former Melbourne Victory and Newcastle coach will be able to "disrupt Australian football's technical vision", according to FA.

The newly-created role encompasses improving Australia's development of players and coaches.

The 69-year-old will also have an input into the direction of national team programmes from junior age groups through to the Socceroos and Matildas at senior level.

"My challenge as chief football officer is to assist in raising participation numbers and improve elite youth development and high-performance programs for both boys and girls," Merrick, who begins work next Monday, said.

"To increase the production of world class Australian players we need to review our football curriculum and development programs to benchmark ourselves against top-ranking nations.

"Training alone is not enough to develop elite performers and prepare them for Australia's national teams."

FA cited the advancement of fellow Asian nations and a desire to return to being a global leader in developing world-class players as reasons for a reset under Merrick.

"Ernie will work closely with our already very experienced technical and coaching teams, and we are excited about the contributions he will make to Football Australia and the game more broadly," FA chief executive James Johnson said.

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