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Warren family disappointed after APL scrap awards night

3 minute read

Johnny Warren's family say they are upset by the A-Leagues' decision to axe the awards ceremony that honours his legacy and recognises the player of the year.

The family of Johnny Warren have been left disappointed by the A-Leagues' decision to kill off the awards ceremony held in honour of one of Australian football's greatest pioneers.

The Australia Professional Leagues confirmed to AAP on Thursday that football's Dolan-Warren awards night, usually held in the lead-up to the A-League Men grand final, would be scrapped this year.

The decision comes after a financial restructure overseen by the APL's new administration this year.

Instead the player of the season in the ALM and the A-League Women will be announced during the halftime break on their respective grand final days.

Other awards will be announced digitally.

Johnny Warren's nephew, Jamie, said he only learned of the event's demise through reading an AAP story and said the change was not communicated to the family directly from the APL.

"As a player, coach and commentator Johnny Warren was the greatest advocate for football in Australia, and as a family we'd want to see his legacy to be recognised in such a way," Jamie Warren said.

"It's disappointing to see the change to the Johnny Warren Medal award night.

"We don't know the circumstances of it, but we hope the Johnny Warren Medal night, along with the Julie Dolan Medal, can come back bigger and better in the years to come.

"The idea when David Gallop was in charge of the game was to have the A-League awards night as the pinnacle of the year, the night of nights.

"It gives our professional players the recognition they deserve and a celebration of what the entire game has achieved for the football family.

"So it's really disappointing to see it reduced due to funding.

"It's a night for the elite players in our game to be recognised. Other sports do it the right way and this is sad to see."

The list of winners of the Johnny Warren Medal boasts some of the most influential local and foreign talent to shape the landscape of Australia football, with Mark Viduka, Scott Chipperfield, Milos Ninkovic and Thomas Broich all picking up the award twice.

It's similar for the Julie Dolan Medal, which has been claimed by the likes of Sam Kerr, Clare Polkinghorne and Michelle Heyman.

Jamie Warren said he feared announcing the awards at halftime would render the game's most prestigious prizes an afterthought.

"Nobody's really going to notice it, we need to get it back to being a premier event," he said.

"What if the player who wins it is in the grand final?

"Does he say he can't listen to his coach's halftime speech? I guess it depends what your first half was like.

"I don't know what a budget for a night like that is, but it should be one of the fixed costs of the A-League, not a 'we'll do it if we can afford it' kind of thing."

The APL was contacted for comment.

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