Advance 11 to assist AFC Member Associations

The new initiative Advance 11 gives MAs a platform to measure and benchmark their capabilities against a set of guidelines.

By implementing and following these structured set of guidelines, MAs can identify and evaluate their individual strengths and weaknesses.

Advance 11 is the AFC’s way of helping MAs to improve in all aspects of the game. The criteria is displayed as typical starting positions in a clear visual manner.

MAs will have Advance 11 delivered in three stages shown below, to ensure that optimum results are achieved:

Advance 11 offers MAs the chance to address a wide variety of areas both on and off the pitch.

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

SBS secure exclusive broadcast rights to the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup

FIFA World Cup Qatar

SBS have announced that they will exclusively broadcast the 2026 FIFA World Cup to Australian audiences, making the broadcaster the home of football for 40 years.

The deal means that SBS will broadcast all of the 104 games of the 2026 World Cup live across its SBS and SBS Viceland channels, and its SBS On Demand streaming platform.

SBS broadcast its first FIFA World Cup in 1986, when Mexico hosted the tournament and has become a major driver of revenue for the multicultural broadcaster, which is partly funded by advertising.

SBS Managing Director James Taylor explained how SBS were the perfect broadcaster for the world’s game.

“Football is in the DNA of SBS. We could not be more thrilled to announce that we will broadcast the 2026 tournament from North America, which will have more teams, more matches and draw more eyeballs than ever before,” he said via media release.

“We are bringing every match, live, free and exclusively in searing high definition.”

As for what’s further ahead on the horizon, it was also recently confirmed that Football Australia would not be putting in a formal bid for the 2034 FIFA Men’s World Cup, with Saudi Arabia becoming the only eligible bidder by the time the Wednesday morning deadline arrived.

It’s for sure a bitter blow for a country that showed the world that they are capable of holding a successful international football tournament, with the 2023 Women’s World Cup breaking attendance records and ticket sales exceeding the 1.8 million mark, another record that was smashed – football is well and truly growing in Australia.

However, this move by SBS to secure full broadcasting rights ensures football fans in Australia can continue to watch every World Cup game in an era where streaming services like Paramount+ and Optus Sport have handled many of the big domestic and international league and cup matches behind a subscription.

The broadcaster’s formula of providing full matches along with “mini match” and short highlights via SBS On Demand and the SBS sport YouTube channel helped drive millions of views and gave the fans a good amount of digital content to consume.

This broadcast deal is fantastic news for all Australian football fans who will benefit from not being restricted on watching the biggest sporting tournament on the planet in 2026.

Australian Professional Leagues confirm new-look leadership with Danny Townsend departure

Danny Townsend

The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) have revealed that Chief Executive Officer Danny Townsend will take up a new role based in the Middle East.  

During a two-and-a-half year spell, Townsend has not always pleased the passionate fanbase, but he departs the APL with significant changes and additions that the game will now benefit from.

Townsend’s tenure includes the foundations of the APL where he began in December 2021, at the time where they separated from Football Australia.

Townsend was also the catalyst behind the five-year broadcast deal with Paramount ANZ we see today, backed by orchestrating new naming rights partners in rebranded A-Leagues competitions for men and women.

The creation of a record-length CBA embedded gender equity and extended further to welcoming three new teams to the Liberty A-League.

Going forward, A-Leagues Commissioner Nick Garcia and KEEPUP Managing Director James Rushton will lead the APL – reporting to the Board and newly appointed Independent Chair the Hon Stephen Conroy.

Garcia and Rushton will combine to oversee the A-Leagues strategic and tactical business operations in its administration, and the development of digital strategy to sustain and increase fan engagement.

Chair of the Board, the Hon Stephen Conroy, stated via media release:

“The APL has undergone extraordinary growth in just a two-and-a-half-year period under Danny’s leadership, and we thank him for his service to football in Australia and New Zealand, both as CEO of the APL and before that as CEO of Sydney FC. Danny leaves the game stronger than ever, and with a talented and committed executive team in place.  We wish him every success in his new role.”

“As the organisation moves into its next phase of development, we welcome the joint leadership of two highly experienced global sports executives and passionate football fans, in Nick Garcia and James Rushton.  Each of their appointments was the product of extensive search processes that resulted in what is an incredibly strong APL executive leadership team.

“The focus of the whole organisation remains on delivering a successful Isuzu UTE A-League Men and Liberty A-League Women 2023-24 season.”

In a closing statement, Townsend reflected on his time that saw considerable growth.

“We’ve made incredible progress over the last three years and I am extremely proud of what we have achieved as independent leagues.  I will always feel privileged to have had this opportunity to serve the game I love.  I very much look forward to seeing it continue to grow at pace,” he added via media release.

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