Les Murray, one of the first presenters on SBS, has made his final sign-off from the network as its coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup has wound up.
A newspaper journalist in the early 1970s, Murray had been a commentator of the Philips Soccer League when the former 0-10 Network had broadcast rights in the late 1970s. It was a league that was generally only afforded off-peak broadcast coverage before the network dumped it after only two years.
He was then a part-time Hungarian subtitler when SBS, then Channel 0/28, was preparing for its first official broadcast in 1980. Just days before the channel launched on air in Sydney and Melbourne, he was seconded to commentate (with the late Johnny Warren) the new channel’s first sports telecast — the Philips Soccer League Grand Final from Canberra.
Ever since then Murray has been a name synonymous with football in Australia and on SBS. At a time when football, or soccer, barely had a profile in Australia, Murray and SBS led its growth in popularity. For over 20 years he hosted the weekly program World Soccer and has fronted SBS’ coverage of the last eight World Cups, starting in 1986 when broadcast rights were shared with ABC.
Murray has also hosted other sports programs for SBS including On The Ball, Toyota World Sports and The World Game.
He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2006 for services to soccer in Australia.
He says he will continue to be involved in the sport and may return to SBS in the future for guest appearances.