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Dec 14, 2012

Gallop surprised by FFA welcome

He might now be involved in the world game but new Football Federation Australia (FFA) CEO David Gallop looked like a man with the weight of the world off his shoulders in Brisbane on Thursday.

In fact, former NRL boss Gallop is enjoying his "crash course" on football so much that he cheekily admitted he should have done it years ago.

The same week the NRL reeled from another off-field controversy and renewed player boycott threats, Gallop must have felt a world away on Thursday as he congratulated FFA Hall of Fame inductees in Brisbane.

There was no need to address the media over Canberra centre Blake Ferguson being ejected from a music festival for allegedly spitting on patrons.

Or sweat on salary cap talks that might prompt the game's biggest names to stay away from the NRL's showpiece season opener, the All Stars game.

Instead, he was soaking up the warm welcome from Australian football's 'who's who' as he congratulated new Hall of Famers - ex-Socceroo Scott Chipperfield, Matildas' legend Alison Forman and veteran administrator Alan Vessey.

He was the first to admit he was no football expert but knew enough to brainstorm with Vessey "because he used to have my job".

Gallop will soon know more Hall of Fame members as he rides a steep learning curve in his new sport.

And he hoped the FFA Hall of Fame - which has welcomed more than 200 inductees since 1999 - encouraged many more to do the same.

"In my old role in rugby league, we used to say for those who drink now must remember who dug up the well," he said.

"I was very proud to be a part of the resurgence of rugby league as the CEO for 10 years and one of the real highlights was the centenary celebrations in 2008.

"(And) we need to share the history of Australian football - I am on a crash course on that myself."

Gallop endured an abrupt rugby league departure just six months ago but it seems his football arrival could not have been more different.

"I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has welcomed me into football in the few weeks I have been in the job," Gallop said.

"I have been very humbled by the number of people who have approached me and wished me success.

"I am having a brilliant time - should have done it years ago."

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