A-League Set to Return on July 16

After months of inactivity, the A-League will officially be returning to action next month.

July 16 is the current date that has been planned out by the FFA. Melbourne Victory and Western United look set to kick things off again on that day.

Former Victory star striker Besart Berisha will face his old side once again after getting the better of them earlier in the season.

FFA’s Head of Leagues, Greg O’Rourke had this to say regarding the season restart.

“We have developed multiple draw options for the completion of the regular season”.

“All options commence with Victory taking on Western United at AAMI Park followed by a game between the table topping Sydney FC against third-placed Wellington Phoenix at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium the following day.

“The reason for having multiple draw options — which our clubs are across — is due to the fact that over the next few weeks there may be additional relaxations in border restrictions and travel movements in Australia, which may enable our clubs from Victoria, Queensland and South Australia to remain and play in their home cities, rather than relocating to New South Wales to complete the season.

“We are confident that we will be able to release the revised draw for the completion of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season soon.”

So although the season will definitely be getting back underway, there are still lots of variables at play.

As we already know, due to overseas travel restrictions, the Wellington Phoenix have been forced to play all games on Australian soil. Now, with New Zealand’s COVID-19 count basically at zero (which is great), it’s even more unlikely that the New Zealand government will allow any changes to that.

Furthermore, the Australian government would be silly to even propose the question.

Although the Phoenix have no choice but to stay in their ‘hub’, the FFA appears to be very strong-minded on avoiding the use of hubs across the country.

In the AFL, several clubs from Western Australia and South Australia are now being forced to temporarily relocate to Queensland. This is to avoid any potential exposure to COVID-19.

In the NRL, one player was found to have potentially been in contact with a primary school kid who had the virus, leading to suggestions that his side’s fixtures would need to be postponed again.

The impact that even one A-League player with the virus would have could be catastrophic for the FFA and their plans to restart the season.

Players are now allowed to start training as per usual, starting today Wednesday the 17th of June.

With other competitions around the country starting up again, now is an ideal time for the FFA to get the ball rolling. It will also be a good test of how well the A-League performs compared to its winter counterparts.

The A-League, as we all know is played during our summer and hopefully, with renewed interest, it can showcase itself well against the likes of the AFL or the NRL.

Nevertheless, we think it’s safe to say that we’re just glad to have live sports back as we start to creep back into normality.

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Caelum Ferrarese is a Senior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on micro policy within Australasia and industry disruptions at grassroots level.

The 2023-24 Local Sports Infrastructure Fund to cater for participation boom

2023-24 Local Sports Infrastructure Fund

The Victorian Government’s 2023-24 Local Sports Infrastructure Fund is a state-wide investment, open until December 13, 2023.

This fund was created to adapt to the increasing need for infrastructure that is required for regular active sport and recreation.

Utilising three streams, sports clubs, facility managers and community organisations will all benefit from the following grants:

  • Community Facilities – up to $300,000
  • Community Sports Lighting – up to $250,000
  • Planning – up to $40,000

Led by Minister for Community Sport, Ros Spence, the creation of infrastructure will be made possible by planners, architects, engineers, project managers,
builders, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, facility managers and operational staff as part on the construction process. In turn, this has a direct link back to the local economy and offers hundreds of jobs.

For sporting & recreation clubs, sporting associations & leagues, educational institutions, not-for-profit community organisations, businesses and individuals looking to apply for the Local Sports Infrastructure Fund, an important note is that they cannot do so directly. Instead, they will coordinate this with Local Government Authorities and the Alpine Resorts Victoria who will apply on their behalf.

Applications close at 5pm on Wednesday December 13 2023 – with successful candidates of the 2023-24 Local Sports Infrastructure Fund announced from April 2024.

For full information and resources, you can view those here.

Football Queensland remain with Kappa for five more seasons until 2028

Football Queensland & Kappa partnership extension

Football Queensland have announced a five-year partnership extension with iconic international sports brand Kappa as its official apparel partner from 2024.

This relationship between the two parties has been very strong since they first partnered all the way back in 2017 and reinforces the support for football in Queensland that the brand has had.

Kappa has provided quality garments for some of Europe’s biggest clubs including Manchester City, Juventus, AC Milan and the Italian National team.

It’s a brand that was established in 1916 in Turin and eventually in 1978 they rebranded themselves to branch out as a sportwear brand where they focused purely on football-related products and designs.

For Football Queensland, they currently produce and provide quality on and off-field apparel for all Queensland State Representative teams including the state’s futsal representative squads. Kappa also provide on-field apparel for the game’s referees on the FQ website.

They also helped sponsor and start up the Kappa Women’s Super Cup and Kappa Pro Series tournaments that debuted in late 2021 and 2022 respectively for clubs to participate in across the state.

FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci was extremely pleased to announce this partnership extension following Kappa’s amazing support.

“Football Queensland is incredibly excited to announce Kappa as our official apparel partner for the next five years following a competitive tender process which saw us receive 20 expressions of interest and 15 submissions of an extremely high quality,” Cavallucci said via Football Queensland press release.

“In their seven years as a Football Queensland partner, Kappa has provided fantastic support to Football Queensland, our clubs and the wider football community thanks to their quality of apparel, ability to deliver on their promises and the team’s unwavering commitment to customer service.

“We’ve built a wonderful working relationship with the team at Kappa thanks to their willingness to go above and beyond to deliver outcomes for our organisation and our game, and we’re delighted to continue working in partnership with them from next year.”

Kappa Australia Director Ze’ev Bogaty shared the same sentiment for the great relationship the two parties have created.

“Kappa is a strong supporter of football in Queensland and has been proud to invest in the game since the partnership with Football Queensland began in 2017,” Bogaty mentioned in the FQ press release.

“Some highlights of the partnership have included the development of the teal shirt for first year referees, witnessing Queensland state sides dominate on the national stage in Kappa kit, and the launch of the Kappa Women’s Super Cup and Kappa Pro Series tournaments.

“As we embark on another five years as the state’s official apparel partner and continue our close working relationship with Football Queensland, we look forward to contributing even more to the growth and success of football across the state.”

There is a shared goal of improving the grassroots game in Queensland from both parties and the track record of Kappa’s immense investment over the past seven years has shown that this extension will do wonders for Queensland football.

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