Australian clubs begin second phase of selection process for National Second Tier

24 clubs will participate in the Request for Proposal (RFP) phase of the National Second Tier (NST) selection process, as Football Australia edges closer to an official start date for the competition.

Only two or four clubs will join the eight foundation clubs for the inaugural competition, which is planned to start in March/April 2025.

Within their submission, clubs will need to demonstrate their operational and commercial readiness, alignment with strategic objectives, and a commitment to developing talent and engaging communities.

To assess clubs’ financial readiness, Football Australia has again sought the services of Australian financial services firm, BDO, to deliver analysis that will be crucial to the sustainability of the NST and its member clubs.

Clubs must submit their RFP by mid-April for assessment. The ‘Completion Phase’, where potential clubs will learn their fate, has been set for June 2024.

Speaking via press release, Football Australia CEO James Johnson believes the refined second phase represents a great opportunity for Australian football clubs.

“The RFP phase is a cornerstone in our journey towards a more dynamic and competitive National Second Tier as we look for clubs which will elevate the game, contribute to their communities, and embody the spirit of inclusivity and excellence,” Johnson said.

Football Australia is yet to decide on the format for the inaugural competition, which will be affected by whether it chooses two or four teams from the RFP phase. The two proposed formats are:

  • A 10-team competition with two rounds plus a Finals Series, totalling 18 regular season matches.
  • A 12-team competition with two rounds plus a Finals Series, totalling 22 regular season matches.

Last November, eight clubs from New South Wales and Victoria were successful in the first phase of the NST selection phase. These clubs include:

New South Wales

  • APIA Leichhardt FC
  • Marconi Stallions FC
  • Sydney Olympic FC
  • Sydney United 58 FC
  • Wollongong Wolves FC

Victoria

  • Avondale FC
  • Preston Lions FC
  • South Melbourne FC

Clubs from states outside New South Wales and Victoria will be hopeful of their inclusion to make the second tier truly national, but as CEO Johnson eludes, the selection process will not be sentimental.

“Our goal is clear: to identify clubs that align with our strategic objectives and are ready to rise to the occasion. The clubs that join us in this journey will play a crucial role in enriching the tapestry of Australian football,” Johnson added via media release.

The NST represents an exciting opportunity for Australian football to evolve on an unprecedented scale. Football fans should be reassured by Football Australia’s commitment to delivering a careful and considered selection process that ensures the safety of Australia’s most significant football institutions.

Graduates congratulated after completing FIFA Diploma in Club Management program

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has congratulated the 2024 graduates of the FIFA Diploma in Club Management course at FIFA headquarters, which include former Socceroo Tim Cahill and former Manchester City player Fernandinho.

Since its launch in 2021, the FIFA Diploma in Club Management has become a networking platform for senior club executives to share knowledge about the industry insights essential for successful football club management. The 18-month course is comprised of six-course models, each covering important topics and aspects of club management.

The topics which are covered in this course are leadership and management, sporting strategy and youth academies, marketing and communication, club operations and stadium management, governance and legal matters and finance.

Infantino spoke to the attendees of the graduation ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland:

“The course’s aim was to encourage knowledge and best practice exchange to be able to ensure football’s continued growth and health worldwide,” he said in a statement.

“You understand that club football is crucial for the development and the survival of football in all countries of the world.

“That is what we have to foster and what we have to work on, and to do this, you have to be well-equipped and well-prepared, and this is our aim at FIFA: to give you this preparation, to give you this equipment, to open the doors of FIFA here in Zurich and everywhere in the world.

“Our doors are open for you to come and exchange with us, and also to exchange between yourselves.”

The graduates of the second edition of the FIFA Diploma in Club Management started back in September 2022 in New York where they attended lectures given by the likes of FIFA Chief of Global Football Development Arsène Wenger and FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer Sarai Berman and their final project of the course was a strategy plan which was presented before the graduation.

The third edition of the program began in May 2024 and is headed by FIFA Director of Professional Football Ornella Desirée Bellia. Some of the participants who are involved include former Juventus player Giorgio Chiellini and Como 1907 coach Cesc Fàbregas alongside club owners, CEO’s and sporting directors.

Soccerscene celebrates sixth-year anniversary

Soccerscene is celebrating its sixth anniversary as Australia’s business-to-business publication for the football community.

Since its inception, Soccerscene has committed to the highest standards of reporting on the most pressing topics surrounding the world of sports business. We have been the first port of call for potential buyers and sellers and deliver all the first-hand news – including interviews, discussions, product reviews, case studies and insight into all facets of the growing Australian and international football market.

Here at Soccerscene, we can’t celebrate six years without thanking all our readers, followers and the numerous industry and club communities for helping us along the way.

Special thanks goes to our major partners including Football Coaches Australia, Professional Footballers Australia and Box2Box – your constant support has been crucial to all we have achieved over these last six years.

Thank you to everyone and we are excited for the future years ahead in this constantly developing industry – from all us at Soccerscene.

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