2020 Annual Report released by Football Queensland

FQ Annual Report

Following a momentous year of challenges and growth across the state, Football Queensland (FQ) has published their Annual Report for 2020.

In spite of the tumultuous impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, FQ were proud to have delivered a full season of National Premier Leagues football and to have been the only Member Federation to record an increase in participation across last year.

Improvement across four key areas – governance, administration, competitions and affordability – was at the forefront of FQ’s attention, and plenty was achieved despite the unprecedented obstacles the year presented.

Through their determination to inspire Queenslanders through football, FQ were successful in the following areas and initiatives:

  • The publishing of the Future of Football 2020+ document and Opportunities Paper which were produced in consultation with FQ’s stakeholders
  • The release of the 2020-2024 Strategic Infrastructure Plan in September which set out the organisation’s commitment to meeting the growing demands of the 127,627 participants across the state.
  • The establishment of a Regional High-Performance Centre in Townsville through a partnership with the North Queensland Cowboys
  • FQ launched NPL.TV, an industry-first over-the-top streaming service which broadcast all NPL Men’s, NPL Women’s and FQPL games live
  • FQ rolled out a suite of initiatives to support referees and foster ongoing growth in referee registrations including: the introduction of the pink armband for match officials aged under 18, new ‘sin bin’ rules, an e-learning platform, the inaugural FQ Referee Academy and the launch of the Futsal Referee Information Pack
  • FQ outlined its bold vision for futsal in the state with the release of the 2020-2022 Futsal Strategy, which has identified a clear focus over the next two years on growing participation, strengthening futsal clubs, improving access to infrastructure and building capability and capacity of administrators.

FQ President Ben Richardson acknowledged the immense work done by the game’s stakeholders through the challenges of 2020.

“Thank you to all our valued partners for supporting us to administer and grow the beautiful game here in Queensland.

“Thank you in particular to the Queensland Government for their ongoing support in providing funding to help us deliver the game across the state.

“Thank you to all the staff at FQ for their ongoing commitment to delivering the best outcomes for football in Queensland.

“Finally, thank you to all members of the football community across the state for your support throughout a year which was extremely challenging for us all.

“Despite its challenges, 2020 truly demonstrated football’s incredible ability to unite.”

Football Victoria choose INTIX as exclusive ticketing provider

Football Victoria have confirmed a new and exciting partnership with ticketing and membership company INTIX, which will commence in 2024 in time for next season.

INTIX will become the exclusive ticketing provider for all FV-managed events and will be the preferred provider for events at The Home of the Matildas.

This collaboration will also make FV’s event management more efficient and improve communication with fans and sponsors through their CRM systems.

INTIX is an Australian owned and operated company that specialise in event operations, ticketing and marketing specifically for sporting events.

The company was established in 2017 by Alex Grant with an ambitious goal to provide the best ticketing platform available to event organisers, clubs and venues.

INTIX partnered with Melbourne Victory to provide digital ticketing for all its corporate hospitality functions, and they have worked many high-scale football events.

The company also has experience in the NBL with the Tasmanian JackJumpers and in 2021 worked with AFL Victoria to supply ticketing services to metropolitan leagues and clubs.

This partnership for FV scratches the surface for what is the possibility in the future for NPL and A-League matches that have completely different systems. The expensive processing fees of Ticketek and Ticketmaster have left many fans frustrated at the process of purchasing their ticket and success with this collaboration could see INTIX expand inside the sport of football.

FV Executive Manager of Commercial, Chris Speldewinde, spoke about the improvements to matchday operations that will be made through this collaboration.

“We are thrilled to join forces with INTIX. Their state-of-the-art ticketing and CRM solutions will not only optimise our operations but also elevate our engagement with fans and sponsors. This collaboration signifies an exciting new chapter for Football Victoria,” he said in a statement.

INTIX’s advanced ticketing system will simplify the purchasing of tickets to these events and be readily available to fans online, reducing wait times to provide seamless access into events.

As the Home of the Matildas begins to stage bigger events, this partnership importantly professionalises the experience of getting to the seat and helps FV manage big crowds a lot easier.

It’s a collaboration that allows FV to focus more on strategic growth initiatives and delivering a better experience for fans and stakeholders.

Uncertainty looms around National Second Tier’s future

The highly anticipated National Second Tier (NST) in its proposed format is set to be postponed by Football Australia, with the body looking to find alternative ways to include these NPL clubs into a similar structure that would be more financially viable.

Vince Rugari of the Sydney Morning Herald broke the news on Tuesday claiming the highly ambitious second tier was likely going to be put on hold after the original plan was to have 10 to 14 foundation clubs forming a separate league, without promotion or relegation to start.

There was a very high financial threshold that the eight foundation clubs needed to reach in order to be granted a licence and unfortunately with rumours of some in the eight sceptical of its viability, other NPL clubs with a proposal in the original plan have backed away from the idea for the time being.

For what is meant to be a ‘national competition’, having clubs from NSW and Victoria only is quite restricted but the search for a financially strong club outside of the two states, willing to take that massive financial risk, is a task that is too difficult in the country’s current state of football affairs.

There has been a lack of a clear message from Football Australia across the past 12 months. The eight foundation clubs were left on standby about important information like the correct format, whether it was going to expand to 10 or 12 teams that Football Australia promised multiple times, or when the league would actually kick off in winter of 2025 or beyond that considering the shaky A-League finances being the main subject of discussion surrounding the initial success of the NSD.

After the A-Leagues controversial call to reduce initial funding of top tier clubs to $530k a year from its usual $2m a year, a properly run second division seems like a task too far down its priority list despite the positive feedback it has received from fans and clubs about implementing a ‘transformative’ system mirroring European football.

An idea being floated around as a possible solution to the unviability of a separate league is to add existing A-League teams to the ‘Champions League-style’ second division, which would essentially be a more exclusive version of the existing Australia Cup.

Football Australia CEO James Johnson told The Asian Game exclusively that “we will have a (national) second tier it will exist,” but the home and away format played during the winter is a long shot and the foundation clubs are left in limbo wondering what their immediate futures are considering the heavy financial investment they will have to make if it goes ahead.

This whole saga has been a case of Football Australia pushing away the problems that quickly arose from this ambitious idea and being too reactive when it comes to finding a solution that would be fair for the foundation clubs financially.

The NSD must wait and not force itself into a fragile Australian football landscape that has many more issues it must worry about in the top flight before building a second division that could financially damage some of the most historic clubs in Victoria and NSW.

In a world where Australian football needs authority and structure, the collapse of the original idea of the NSD proves there is a long way to go and communication towards the clubs and fans involved has to improve.

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