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O'Neill may join Lowy's soccer brigade

06/02/2004 05:41:51 AM Comments (0)

Outgoing Australian Rugby Union chief executive John O'Neill is reportedly set to take a leading role with Frank Lowy's Australian Soccer Association (ASA).

O'Neill has accepted a multi-million dollar three-year deal from ASA chairman and business magnate Lowy to head up Australian soccer, according to The Daily Telegraph.

"It's going to happen. It's on," an unnamed source told the newspaper.

"It's imminent. "We'll hear in days, maybe next week," said another unidentified source.

O'Neill announced in December last year his term as ARU chief executive would end on February 27.

That was 10 months earlier than first planned and came just days after the completion of the Rugby World Cup, which yielded a $45 million profit for the ARU.

"I said during the tournament that I would take a family holiday and think about my future over the Christmas, New Year period," O'Neill said when he announced he was stepping down from the ARU.

"Since then, I have had the chance to reflect on the (World Cup) and its acclaimed success and my eight fruitful years at the helm and have decided that now is the best time for Australian rugby and me to move on with rugby at such a high point."

The ARU is still to announce a new chief executive, with Matt Carroll to become acting chief executive when O'Neill vacates the post on February 27.

Carroll, general manager of the highly successful 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia, is a leading candidate to take over the role on a full-time basis.

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