SYDNEY: Les Murray, a veteran broadcaster whose voice became synonymous with football in Australia, has died aged 71 after a long period of illness, his employer said Monday.
Widely known as Mr Football, Murray was the face of soccer coverage at multicultural broadcaster SBS and played a prominent role in growing the sport’s popularity in a country where cricket and rugby are king.
A member of FIFA’s ethics committee since 2006, Murray was born Laszlo Urge in Hungary in 1945, arriving in Australia as a refugee a decade later and changing his name.
He began working for SBS in 1980, covering numerous World Cups and hosting various football-based programs.
“The growth, popularity and success of football in Australia today is absolutely a reflection of his passion and advocacy for the game that he loved,” SBS said in a statement announcing his death.
Tributes flowed from across Australian football, with former English Premier League star and Socceroo Robbie Slater tweeting: “A massive loss for our game”, while ex-national goalkeeper Mark Bosnich called it “a sad day for so many.”