There he was, presenting the trophy to Melbourne Victory at the end of an historic 10th season of the A-League when the stage just seemed to disappear from beneath his feet.
There would have been a moment when Frank Lowy, 84, wondered what was happening. Why is the stadium spinning around? What is this strange weightlessness? There’s something not-quite-right about all of this.
But gravity does not care how many times over you are a billionaire, or how many continents you have conquered in your day job, or how few votes your $40 million bid for the World Cup garnered. When you fall over it deposits you in the same place as everybody else – on the ground, tits up.
And so Lowy’s graceless dive came to a crashing end at the foot of the presentation stage in front of 30,000 football fans at AAMI Park and hundreds of thousands more watching at home on TV.
Fans stood in shocked silence as medics rushed to his aid. Those in the stands were supposed to be cheering for the winners or commiserating with the losers, but instead they were wondering if the billionaire was ok, poor chap.
Like a fallen player, he was surrounded by doctors who assessed him and when satisfied there was no lasting damage they helped him back to his feet. Testament to his resilience, the Westfield founder strode back onto the stage and completed the formalities before leaving the field unassisted. The crowd cheered as much out of relief as anything else.
While he is the driving force behind Australian football at both the local and international levels, Lowy is also understood to be nursing a sore shoulder after the fall, which came as he presented Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat with the championship trophy.
“Lowy received treatment from paramedics on the scene and was cleared of any serious injury,” a FFA spokesperson said.
“He has soreness in the shoulder from the fall, but is otherwise ok.”
Once viewers saw that Lowy was ok they took to Twitter to make light of the tumble.
Clear dive by Lowy. Should’ve been a yellow
— Adam Howard (@adamOsaussies) May 17, 2015
I love that nobody is talking about the fact that Victory just won. Thank you Mr Lowy!
— Patrick Barnes (@patrick478) May 17, 2015
It’s not the first time the influential businessman has been in the spotlight for uncomfortable reasons.
He’s long been questioned over the ethical integrity of Australia’s World Cup bid.
He’s also been accused of handing over the reigns of FFA to his son without a proper election process.
Lowy, who has spearheaded Australian soccer’s regeneration over the past 10 years including three World Cup berths, will depart the FFA board in November. Let’s hope he exits that stage a little more conventionally and a little more safely.