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Dec 1, 2010

Soccer godfather Lowy is sticking around

Fear not Australian soccer fans, Frank Lowy is going nowhere.

Australia's godfather of the round ball game refuses to put an end date on his time in charge of Football Federation Australia.

Asked during World Cup lobbying in Zurich this week whether people can be confident he will be sticking around, the chairman said: "Yes, you can be confident."

Not even the slightest pause for contemplation.

"Don't forget, I have to be elected in a year's time," he said.

"If I don't get elected, then I will be out.

"I won't do it voluntarily."

Even for a sport that has a history of cutting its own throat in Australia, surely the 80-year-old is untouchable.

He has a relentless energy that is the envy of younger men.

Socceroos star Tim Cahill is one of many in awe of his contribution to the sport in Australia.

"What he does for our country and the way that he has led us has been amazing," Cahill said.

As anyone who has had business dealings with Lowy would attest, he is one tough cookie with a ruthless streak.

Having famously arrived as an immigrant in Australia in 1952 with one suitcase and no English, he has developed the $25 billion Westfield global shopping empire.

Little wonder that thinking big isn't a problem for him.

Since taking the reins of Australian soccer in 2003 following the Crawford Report, Lowy has revolutionised the game in the nation.

Sure the A-League is suffering some growing pains but the situation still appears pretty compared to the dark, divided days of the NSL.

And Australia's two trips to the World Cup have turned the national side from a hard luck story to a side expected to be nestled in the world's top 20.

His boldness has few limits.

After Australia finally reached the World Cup finals for the first time in 34 years in Germany in 2006, he started dreaming about the nation hosting a World Cup.

The mere thought of Australia bothering to mount a bid a decade ago would have seemed laughable.

But he has made a habit of making the implausible seem possible.

The good news is he is sticking around.

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