Chris Pehlivanis appointed CEO of Football Victoria


The Board of Football Victoria (FV) has announced the appointment of Chris Pehlivanis as the organisation’s new CEO, effective 22 January 2024.

Pehlivanis is highly respected in the football community and will join following a successful four-year term as Western United FC CEO.

Under his guidance, the club established itself in Australia’s elite sporting landscape, attained an A-League Women’s license, won an A-League Men’s Championship and launched the WUFC Academy.

Pehlivanis expressed his excitement at the opportunity.

“I am honoured to be appointed CEO of Football Victoria. My vision to empower clubs, grow pathways, invest in infrastructure, establish a more connected football pyramid, and take the next steps in achieving 50:50 equity strongly aligns with the goals of the FV Board of Directors,” he said.

“Participation and interest in football has never been higher. It’s crucial for our organisation to evolve and find innovative ways to sustain the momentum in 2024 and beyond.”

Prior to his role with Western United FC, Pehlivanis built a reputation as a strategic and commercial leader in the sports industry – first with Football Australia then AFL club Essendon, where he worked as Chief Financial Officer.

Antonella Care
Antonella Care. Photo: Football Victoria

Football Victoria President Antonella Caré welcomed Pehlivanis to the organisation.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chris to Football Victoria. His leadership, strategic vision and deep understanding of our game make him the ideal CEO to take our organisation forward,” she said.

“Chris has built an outstanding reputation for his professionalism and people-centric approach. He is a visionary who shares our core values and is passionate about building an inclusive, equitable and strong football ecosystem in Victoria.”

Complementing his professional experience is a lifelong passion for the world game. Starting as a junior player with East Bentleigh FC, Pehlivanis went on to referee for more than a decade before moving into sports administration.

Nicholas Vamvakas
Nicholas Vamvakas. Photo: Football Victoria.

Football Victoria Director Nick Vamvakas, who spearheaded the recruitment campaign, said Pehlivanis was appointed following a rigorous and intensive recruitment process. A total of 111 submissions were received with FV targeting candidates from a broad range of professional backgrounds.

“The Football Victoria Board of Directors appointed SRI Executive, an independent talent consulting firm to lead the recruitment process,” Vamvakas said.

“We spoke with more than 70 candidates directly and conducted multiple rounds of interviews. Ultimately, Chris was appointed based on his incredible track record as a sports administrator, his thorough understanding of the football landscape and his genuine desire to champion Football Victoria’s core values.”

Applicants were put through a series of interviews with alternate directors ensuring integrity was maintained throughout each recruitment phase.

The announcement was formally made at FV’s Annual General Meeting on Monday, 11 December. 

The Board of Football Victoria also thanked Karen Pearce OAM, who led the organisation admirably as Interim CEO during this transitional period. Following Pehlivanis’ appointment, Pearce will continue her role as Executive Manager Equity, Growth and Inclusion. 




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