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AFC sign declaration to protect women and girls

Matildas

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) reinforced its commitment to ensure the safety of women in the sport by signing the Declaration of Principles for the Protection of Women and Girls from Sexual Harassment and Abuse in Football Worldwide.

The Declaration has been drawn up by international social enterprise, Association Football Development Programme (AFDP Global), which is founded by HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein.

The AFC is dedicated and will continue to provide a safe environment for women and girls to participate in football – on and off the pitch – without any exploitation or harassment.

By signing the declaration, the AFC reiterates its pledge to adhere to its key principles which include adopting a clear standard safeguarding code and instituting educational programmes, implementing whistleblowing and reporting mechanisms, enforcement of policies through serious sanctions and supporting affected individuals.

Dato’ Windsor John, the AFC General Secretary, said: “We are fully committed to providing a safe environment for everyone who plays football and at our AFC Executive meeting in Muscat in November last year we agreed to review our rules and regulations as well as Statutes in this area. That important work is on-going, and a report should go to our relevant committees in the next few months.”

AFDP Global is a social enterprise that funds, supports and partners with organisations to unite and transform communities through football.

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Football Victoria announce a new era for futsal in the state

Football Victoria have announced they are stepping up their efforts and investment in resources to govern and unite the futsal community in Victoria.

The state federation will lay the foundations for an aligned framework for the small-sided game in the coming months, with existing futsal competition providers and clubs uniting with FV to deliver a new era of positive experiences for players, coaches and referees in Victoria.

FV President Kimon Taliadoros believes the time is right to unite the futsal fraternity and claims the governing body does have an important role in taking the lead.

“Historically, football’s governing bodies have lacked certainty over what role they should play in Futsal and what leadership they should provide. But after extensive consultation with the game’s stakeholders and a deeper understanding of best practice principles, it is clear that the sport must be aligned,” he said.

“As such, the time has now come for FV, as the state’s governing body for Football, to not only embrace Futsal but to lead it, govern it and unite it.

“We understand that there has been not only great division but also great confusion, going back many years. The only way forward from here is to establish a framework that brings everyone together and provides greater clarity to Futsal centres, facility operators, councils, clubs, referees, coaches and players.

“We are excited about the opportunities that Futsal will bring to the community under this new strategy, including how integral it is to achieving our overall target of 50/50 gender participation balance by 2027.”

As part of these various changes, Anthony Grima will move into a newly-created position of Head of Futsal, alongside his existing role of Head of Commercial at Football Victoria.

Grima is an accomplished futsal referee and player over the past two decades.

“As a governing body, we have to make a genuine commitment to provide Futsal with the kind of leadership that empowers this great sport to officially develop, grow and service even more participants than it does now,” he said.

“There are approximately 40,000 players playing Futsal and ‘Indoor Soccer’ across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. They all need Futsal pitches to play on and competitions to participate in. We want to make sure we can partner with local councils and Futsal competition providers to ensure players, clubs, coaches and referees are provided with the best possible Futsal experiences, on and off the pitch.

“My own experience in Futsal has shown me that it is a sport with enormous appeal and potential. There are many amazing and dedicated individuals at the heart of the Futsal family here in Victoria and we now have a profound opportunity to work together for the good of the game and build something that will service the game for decades to come.”

Peter Parthimos, CEO of ‘Futsal Oz’ and ‘Series Futsal’, welcomed FV’s decision to step forward and lead the sport through a formalised structure.

“This is clearly a development that will benefit the entire Futsal community. For many years, the providers, like us, have been left to promote the game themselves but the opportunity to help create a more formal structure underpinned by a unified vision is undeniably exciting,” he said.

“We look forward to formally affiliating with Football Victoria. I know many other centres and Futsal clubs will follow suit and that’s just such a positive step forward. It’s been many years since we’ve had an opportunity to collaborate like this.

“If we all support each other and put the sport first, I believe we will put Victoria back on the map.”

FV will continue to deliver premier futsal events, including the FV State Futsal Championships, which will be held in April 2021.

In the lead up to the 2022 Football Australia National Futsal Championships, all Victorian squads will be administered and managed directly by the governing body. The federation will also hold both futsal referee and coach education courses to officially recognise and upskill futsal referees and coaches from February 2021.

Football Victoria’s formal Futsal Strategy is listed below:

  1. Formally recognise the sport of Futsal within Football Victoria’s existing Strategic Plan 2019-2022 ‘FootbALLways’ to facilitate its growth, including in schools and to foster the increase and development of players, coaches, referees, Futsal clubs and Futsal centres in the broader futsal pathway.
  2. Provide Futsal competition providers and Futsal clubs with a genuine value proposition to partner with Football Victoria via a revamped affiliation and support program to grow and develop Futsal together as a unified Futsal community.
  3. Integrate Futsal within the implementation of Football Victoria’s current Facilities Strategy and advocate for increased and improved Futsal facilities with local, state and federal government for the benefit of all Futsal competition providers and Futsal clubs across Victoria.

FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 draw released

The official draw for the FIFA Club World Cup 2020 has been released ahead of the tournament’s scheduled start in Qatar next month.

Six teams are participating in the tournament that runs between the February 4 and 11.

Al-Duhail SC (Qatar), Al Ahly SC (Egypt), FC Bayern Munich (Germany), Ulsan Hyundai FC (South Korea), Tigres UANL (Mexico) and the Copa Libertadores (South America) champions will compete in the World Cup – the Copa Libertadores final is scheduled for January 30.

The draw was held at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland and was conducted by FIFA Deputy Director of Competitions Jaime Yarza.

The tournament kicks off with Tigres UANL taking on Ulsan Hyundai FC at 17:00 local time (01:00 February 5 AEDT) on February 4 at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.

Later that day Al Duhail SC and Al Ahly SC will face off at Education City Stadium at 20:30 (04:30 February 5 AEDT).

The winner of the Tigres-Ulsan clash will then play the Copa Libertadores champions – either Palmeiras or Santos in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile the winner of the Al Duhail-Al Ahly match will move on to play FC Bayern Munich.

The final then takes place at Education City Stadium on February 11 at 21:00 (05:00 February 12 AEDT).

Last week it was confirmed that Auckland City FC would be unable to participate in the tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the quarantine requirements that have been put in place by the New Zealand government.

This resulted in local team Al-Duhail SC moving directly to the second round.

“The competition format remains unchanged, with the opening match forfeited,” FIFA said.

“The tournament will now be staged at Education City and Ahmad Bin Ali Stadiums, while Khalifa International Stadium, which was originally due to host two games, will not be used.”

The FIFA Club World Cup was first played in 2000 and features the winners of the UEFA Champions League, AFC Champions League, CAF Champions League, CONCACAF Champions League, Copa Libertadores, OFC Champions League plus the champions of the host nation’s national league.

Northern NSW Football welcomes $50 million funding boost for women’s sport

Northern NSW Football have welcomed a $50 million funding announcement from the State Government, which will see sporting facilities across regional NSW benefit from new and improved women’s change rooms and amenities.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Acting Minister for Sport Geoff Lee yesterday announced the funding will come out of the government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund.

Northern NSW Football CEO David Eland explained the funding would be extremely beneficial for the world game.

“The NSW Government’s announcement that up to $50 million from the Stronger Country Communities Fund has been reserved to specifically improve women’s sporting facilities in regional NSW is a huge boost for the state’s largest club-based sport,” he said.

“Community facilities throughout northern NSW are bursting at the seams and we have been and continue to be focused on building capacity for the game, particularly in the area of women’s facilities.

“Northern NSW Football teamed up with Football NSW to develop a comprehensive State Infrastructure Strategy which identified and supported the acute need to increase the number of facilities for women to use.

“We’ve identified this need for many years with the ever-increasing registrations of females in the game, which is why we addressed the need in our 2021-2023 Strategic Plan.”

Mr Barilaro said a lack of adequate facilities for women in sport was a significant barrier in developing the next generation of female sporting stars.

“Women have been flying the flag for Australian sport with our international teams achieving incredible status on the world platform and many of these athletes come from regional communities,” he said.

“Too many women participating in local soccer, AFL, rugby or cricket matches in rural and regional locations don’t have access to suitable changing facilities so the NSW government has committed this funding to level the playing field.

“Access to designated female change rooms will be of huge benefit to our future Matildas, Opals, Hockeyroos, Jillaroos and Wallaroos, as well as local athletes.”

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