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AFC Member Associations celebrate the return of Grassroots Football Day

Grassroots football

The Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) dedication to build on the strong foundations of football in the Continent and to ensure that the sport remains the number one sport in Asia was strengthened further, as 41 Member Associations pledged to join the AFC Grassroots Football Day 2021 celebrations.

Following strict health and safety protocols, more than 230,000 participants of all ages, backgrounds and abilities from across Asia are expected to join the annual football festival organised by the Member Associations.

AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa acknowledged the significance of the AFC Grassroots Football Day to the continent’s sporting aspirations.

“The grassroots movement has made incredible progress across the Continent in recent years, and I am pleased to welcome the return of the AFC Grassroots Football Day, which once again reinforces our optimism towards the safe and successful resumption of Asian football in 2021,” he said.

“Our aspiration is to see everyone, regardless of their age, ability, gender and background, across all corners of Asia, presented with opportunities not just to develop a passion for the beautiful game, but to cultivate strong values, build resilience, character and transferable skills, through a lifelong journey in football.

“It has been a challenging, and at times uncertain journey, and I would like to warmly thank all the AFC MAs as well as our valued and loyal stakeholders for their continued support and for believing in our Vision to expand the reach of football.”

Tournaments such as the Chinese Football Association’s “Enjoy The Game” National Grassroots Championship are expected to attract more than 200,000 passionate participants across the tournament’s runtime from May to December.

Meanwhile, the Kyrgyz Football Union and the Philippine Football Federation are inviting national team players to share their inspiring experience to young players, whilst the Mongolian Football Federation will initiate a promotional campaign titled “Football is everywhere” to celebrate the grassroots event in 21 provinces across the country.

As part of the AFC, Football Australia will be introducing a “MiniRoos AFC Grassroots Gala Day” in an effort to celebrate the driving force of community engagement and the encourage more children to play football.

The Football Association of Indonesia and the Syrian Football Association will make a return to the Continental grassroots festival this year, while six Member Associations – Bhutan, India, Malaysia, Japan, Vietnam and Singapore will mark their eight successive year of participation with a series of workshops, tournaments and game stations.

Football Australia announce new home for Socceroos, Matildas and FFA Cup matches

Football Australia landmark deal

Football Australia have announced a landmark agreement with 10 ViacomCBS which will see Network 10 and its accompanying streaming platform Paramount+ become the new home of National Teams football and the FFA Cup.

In what is the largest Socceroos and Matildas broadcast agreement and the first ever direct commercial free-to-air broadcast deal for Football Australia’s National Teams, the deal will see all Westfield Matildas and Socceroos matches outside of the FIFA World Cup Finals – plus the next four seasons of the FFA Cup from the Round of 32 onwards – broadcast via Network 10 and Paramount+.

The agreement encompasses the media rights for all national teams (Socceroos, Westfield Matildas, Young Socceroos, Westfield Young Matildas, Joeys, and Westfield Junior Matildas) owned or controlled by Football Australia, as well as AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar, AFC Asian Cups, and other AFC tournaments until 31 December 2024. In an effort to enable the creation of this compelling package of rights, Football Australia acquired the rights to the AFC competitions from the AFC.

The deal, signed and completed today and commencing from August 1, will cement 10 ViacomCBS, who are also the current rights holders of the A-League and Westfield W-League, as the new home of football.

For the fans, this means that extensive coverage of Australia’s National Teams and the FFA Cup (in addition to the A- League and Westfield W-League) will be available on 10, 10 Bold and 10 Play, as well as Paramount+, which will be available in Australia from 11 August, for $8.99 per month.

Football Australia CEO James Johnson was delighted to have reached an agreement with ViacomCBS in what comes as a significant moment for the domestic game.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Network 10 and Paramount+ to the Australian football family. This is an enormous vote of confidence in the future direction of football in Australia including the bold 15-year vision and strategic agenda we have set for the game,” he said.

“It is also an endorsement of both the strength in the Westfield Matildas and the Socceroos brands and recognition of the exciting international schedule they face over the next 3.5 years.

“This is a wonderful result for our game and after a challenging 2020, provides our sport with greater financial certainty in the years ahead and will ensure that our fans will be able to continue to watch our Westfield Matildas and Socceroos wherever they are and at the same time, provide a platform to launch a re-invigorated FFA Cup.

“All sections of the community and business have felt the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this partnership announcement today, along with other commercial announcements recently with Priceline, rebel and Commonwealth Bank, are symbolic cornerstone moments for our sport.

“This is the first time Football Australia has been able to secure a direct broadcast deal of this nature with a commercial free-to-air partner, which provides the game with vital exposure on the primary channels of Network 10 and a variety of other platforms, including the soon to be launched Paramount+.

“No sport has the power to unite all Australians quite like football can. The Socceroos and Westfield Matildas have created many magical and iconic moments for our nation over the years and this partnership gives us the ability to connect two of Australia’s biggest sports brands with Australia’s favourite national knock out community tournament, the FFA Cup by showcasing this content to a greater audience and across multiple platforms. This exciting partnership also unifies the sport, by bringing all parts of Australian football together, including the A-League and Westfield W- League, on Network 10 and Paramount+, making it easier for the Australian football fan and beginning a new era for Australian football.

“We thank Network 10 and Paramount+ for backing the game in such a profound way and we look forward to a prosperous partnership where we can connect and engage with the biggest club participation base in Australia, and inspire them with our Westfield Matildas and Socceroos via a unique viewing experience. I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the enormous contribution that Patrick Delany and Fox Sports have made to Australian football over the last 15-years. Fox Sport’s commitment, leadership and significant investment has helped evolve our game to where it is today, and for that we will always be grateful”.

Under this agreement, 10 ViacomCBS will be granted media rights to the following content:

  • Matildas Friendly Internationals (home and away)
  • Socceroos Friendly Internationals (home and away)
  • U23 Men’s Friendly Internationals (home)
  • Socceroos’ 2026 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifier Round 2 matches (home)
  • Other Football Australia controlled Youth National Teams matches (home)
  • FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Asian Qualifiers – Round Three (including prospective Play-Off matches)
  • AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Finals
  • AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 Finals
  • AFC U23 Asian Cup Finals 2022, 2024
  • AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Final Round) for Paris Olympics 2024
  • AFC U20 Asian Cup Finals 2023
  • AFC U17 Asian Cup Finals 2023
  • AFC U20 Women’s Asian Cup Finals 2022 and 2024
  • AFC U17 Women’s Asian Cup Finals 2022 and 2024
  • AFC Futsal Asian Cup Finals 2022, 2024
  • AFC Solidarity Cup 2024
  • A-League Club Play-Off matches to enter FFA Cup Round of 32
  • All FFA Cup matches played from Round of 32 onwards, including the Round of 16, Quarter Finals, Semi-Finals and the FFA Cup Final
  • All non-Australian matches across AFC competitions, including Round 3 FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches and AFC Asian Cup matches

AFF Suzuki Cup gains enhanced coverage alongside digital platform Goal

AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 has joined forces with Footballco, allowing their flagship digital platform Goal to become the Official Football Website Partner. 

AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 has joined forces with the world’s biggest football content and media business Footballco, allowing their flagship digital platform Goal to become the Official Football Website Partner of the tournament.

The exciting partnership will mark the first time that South East Asia’s top football tournament will collaborate with Goal to increase the Championship’s reach.

Goal will be given exclusive access to the tournament, involving behind-the-scenes access and rights to use archive videos, capturing and producing compelling content. The tournament is expected to reach 10 million website and app users throughout Southeast Asia, while a social reach extends to more than 50 million for fans in the region.

Andy Jackson, VP of Media for APAC, Footballco:

“We are delighted to partner with the AFF Suzuki Cup which will undoubtedly allow us to bring the 50 million South East Asian fans Goal reaches each month, much closer to the tournament that they care about the most. We have a number of new and exciting editorial initiatives in the pipeline leading into this year’s tournament that will build excitement and anticipation amongst fans by celebrating the rich history of the tournament, shining a light on the emerging stars as well as presenting Suzuki Cup sponsors with the opportunity to benefit from the unrivalled scale we offer in the region.”

Tilman Wendt, Executive Director, Digital & Brand Marketing – SEA, Sportfive:

“We know that football fans in ASEAN have been anxiously waiting for football to return after the pandemic. With the AFF Suzuki Cup centred around the thrilling regional football rivalries and the great passion of fans, the partnership with Goal is a great opportunity for us to not only amplify the tournament campaign #RivalriesNeverDie but also a chance to create unique stories to engage with Goal’s digital audience across South East Asia. By combining Goal’s and Sportfive’s capabilities, we are confident that we can maximise the content for the benefit of our fans.”

The AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 is scheduled to take place from December 5 2021 to January 1 2022, due to the tournament being postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Members of Australia’s football family honoured for Queen’s Birthday

OAM Recipients

This year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List saw 1190 exemplary Australians recognised for their outstanding contributions, with four significant figures of Australian football receiving Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) merits.

Former Socceroo star Robbie Slater, former Sutherland Sharks President George Hurley, Football Australia board member Joseph Carrozzi and former Marconi Stallions star Eddie Krncevic were each awarded OAM’s.

Slater, originally born in Lancashire, England, came to Australia and made a name for himself after kicking off his footballing career with St George Saints and Sydney Croatia before moving abroad to take on an incredible journey through the top tier leagues in European football.

The 56-year-old played in Belgium, France and England, where his tenure with the infamous Blackburn Rovers saw him become an English Premier League Champion in the 1994/95 season. In addition, Slater represented the Socceroos 44 times and upon his retirement became an analyst and commentator for Fox Sports.

Football NSW also have a medal in Slater’s honour with every National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Grand Final Man of the Match award named after him.

The 84-year-old Hurley, a former complex manager at Seymour Shaw Park, coached local teams Engadine, Heathcote, Miranda and Kirrawee in the Sutherland Shire Football Association.

A veritable ‘football man’ at heart, the former Sutherland Shire Councillor has served on more than 30 committees and devoted his entire time to the world game at both Community and NPL level.

Hurley, a life member at the Sutherland Sharks Football club since 1959, played football himself against Fiji in front of 4000 spectators at Seymour Shaw in 1969. Moreover, Hurley served various positions at the Sharks as President and is currently Vice-President and General Manager of the club in addition to founding an education and training scholarship which saw young footballers in the Shire area head overseas.

A major lover of football and significant contributor to the development of the Western Sydney region, Carrozzi was recognised for his significant service to business and to the community through multicultural and not-for-profit organisations.

Krncevic, a lifetime servant of football, was recognised for his undivided loyalty and dedication to the world game. He was the first Australian to play in Europe and the first Australian-born player to be top goal scorer for a European league at Anderlecht – Belgian First Division A in the 1988/89 season.

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