AAFC Chairman Nick Galatas gratified with National Second Tier interest

Adelaide City FC

Clubs are eagerly awaiting the outcome of their Expression of Interest (EOI) response, following the strong contingent represented throughout Australia.

After hitting the March 3 deadline, we are now in the closing stages of the EOI component, with shortlisted respondents, development of RFP Bid Documents and intended start of RFP Phase all slated by an April finish at the latest.

From the iconic NSL teams to those who have even undergone a merger, the National Second Tier is set to build a platform for these sides to flourish.

The Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC) has been at the heart of organising the Second Tier, with Chairman Nick Galatas an advocate for what it will do for the game going forward.

“It’s very pleasing, it exceeded expectations as we saw around 38 clubs be part of the 32 EOIs which exceeded my early expectations,” Galatas told Soccerscene.

“With the number of applicants, including joint bids, it’s a fantastic response.

“We’ve seen clubs stepping up with that common goal and purpose.”

The AAFC has seen the ambition of clubs come to fruition, which is a key component of the success behind the Second Tier.

From an early vision that is now edging towards a reality, Galatas is thrilled to see efforts start to be rewarded.

“The whole thing has been gratifying as it’s essentially six years to the day that we started the process of advocating for a second tier, preparing and encouraging clubs and voicing our thoughts for the game,” he said.

“We need a proper functioning football system and we think we have that now with the second tier process. It’s pleasing to also work with Football Australia on this.”

One of the key takeaways from the club submissions was the merger that saw the creation of Brisbane United.

In a joint bid, a trio of clubs in Brisbane Strikers, Wynnum Wolves FC and Virginia United FC all joining together in a sign of solidarity.

“When you establish a platform such as the second tier, aspirational clubs will do what it takes to be part of it,” Galatas said.

“It’s been good to see the Brisbane United submission, it shows that clubs are working together to strive for the same goals through their alliance. That they see synergies and common purpose within their communities.

“Moves such as these will only bring together resources and fanbases, and that will only benefit the future growth of the game.”

The Expressions of Interest are the first of four different phases before the National Second Tier process is fully completed this year.

It’s a rigorous pathway for clubs, but a necessary one to introduce a brand-new competition.

Liam Watson is the Co-Founder & Publisher of Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

An amenities refresher for NSW grassroots custodian

The NSW Football Legacy Program has worked in conjunction with the Bayside Council in providing $150,000 to the Bexley North Football Club (BNFC) who join the vast growing number of successful applicants of the Infrastructure Stream, which is the second round screening process.

The Football Legacy program is a $10 million investment founded by the NSW Government. The program’s intention is to continue the established growth of female football through freshly refurbished community facilities.

Furthermore, development programs, participation initiatives and potential ventures involving tourism and international engagement are all at the forefront of the overall objective the NSW government has regarding the growth of football within the state.

The $150,000 grant in which BNFC are receiving is going to be spent sparingly. Kingsgrove Avenue Reserve is in dire need of a rejuvenation, given the club’s recent rise to popular interest within the Football St George Association, BNFC experienced an astounding spike in membership.

Since the 2021 season, the club witnessed a spike in members, a 35% increase surge in overall involvement, highlighted by a 40% increase in female involvement.

The traffic that the club began to experience was a confronting yet exciting time for the community operated club. Their previous facilities could not cater for the extravagant influx of participants, hence the club opting to collaborate with the Bayside Council.

The grant successfully attained will be used to upgrade the amenities at Kingsgrove Avenue Reserve from top to bottom. The newly furbished facility has hosts a conference room, referee room, medical room, canteen, and storage area.

Further funding requested by BNFC is expected to be utilized in rejuvenating the current change rooms and bathrooms, as well as a through fixup of the established home and away locker rooms. The end goal insight, is to accommodate highly regarded women’s footballing outlets in the future.

BNFC President Eddie Yazbeck, mentioned the importance of what this grant will provide.

“We have worked closely with Bayside Council to develop a site plan for Kingsgrove Avenue Reserve and together we applied for the NSW Football Legacy Fund to help make our vision a reality,” he said via press release. 

“This grant will deliver a much-needed infrastructure upgrade, addressing concerns such as accessibility and safety, improved canteen facilities, storage for our kits, change rooms for players and referees.”

The Facilities and Grants Officer at Football NSW, James Spanoudakis, also added via media release. 

“Amenity buildings are the heart and soul of all football clubs across NSW,” he said.

The new amenities is expected to be completed towards the conclusion of 2024, ready to go for the 2025 winter season.   

Melbourne City proudly unveil their state-of-the-art-facilities

Melbourne City have proudly showcased their clubs latest project through the unveiling of their new state-of-the-art-facility, located at Casey Fields in Cranbourne.

The City Football Academy Melbourne continues to push the already established high-standards in which football across Australia are beginning to reach. The facility will host the men’s and women’s teams, as well as the club’s grassroot program, and an administration office is also involved in the newly developed location.

The Melbourne based club were inspired by their British parent and European juggernauts Manchester City have some of, if not the best facilities in world football. Melbourne City’s latest facility was developed in accordance to the structure and framework relating to Manchester City.

Within the newly furnished building, it’s features are acknowledged to stand out amongst other rival A-League entity’s. A 60-seat theatre and community classroom was installed to host club officials and guests, 16 changerooms combined with Hydrotherapy pools and two gyms, all designed to propel their playing personnel in achieving their peak athletic condition. Administration spaces where also created for Sports Science, Sports Medicine and club officials to all reside in.

The official opening took place on April 10 by City of Casey Chair of Administrators Noelene Duff PSM, and Melbourne City FC Vice Chairman Simon Pearce.

Located at the Casey Fields Sporting precinct in which is building quite the resume within the tenants it has acquired in various codes of sport across the state. The 5,900m2 facility that City now possess in their arsenal sits on eleven hectares of land, upon it they have five different football pitches, with varying surfaces.

The opportunities in which this facility presents to football fans and participants alike, are in abundance, 3,500 aspiring young football participants will be able to use the facilities on offer, with many more able to spectate City matches in which may be played at their Academy.

Melbourne City FC CEO Brad Rowse stated via press release:

“This amazing facility will be the new home to our Men’s, Women’s, Academy, and Administration teams, and will allow us to come together under the one roof to train, share ideas and challenge each other every single day.

“We’re setting new standards for football in Australia and laying the foundations for sustainable growth, on and off the pitch.”

With the latest edition of the McDonald’s City Cup being played at the newly launched facility, the tournament was a token showcasing that the clubs elite are not the only ones who will benefit from the facility but also local footballing communities in addition.

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