Australian Tyson Scott amongst the five candidates selected for the New AFC Scholarship scheme

The AFC

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and CIES have joined forces to create a new scholarship scheme to generously offer five young professionals the chance to study on the International MA in Management, Law and Humanities of Sport, better known as the FIFA Master which is spread across three prestigious universities in Europe.
This scholarship scheme was successfully implemented for the first time this year and five lucky beneficiaries will start their FIFA Master 20th edition journey on 17th September at De Montfort University in Leicester, England, for a 3-month module on the Humanities of Sport at the university’s renowned International Centre for Sports History and Culture (Kevin Goco, Philippines; Rishab Kapur, India; Mahmoud Qaraqra, Palestine; Tyson Scott, Australia; Han Bits Yi, South Korea).

Australian Tyson Scott amongst the five candidates selected

In January, the class will then move to Italy to study Sports Management at Milan’s SDA Bocconi School of Management. Following the completion of this module, the class will finally transfer to Switzerland where they will be taught Sports Law at the University of Neuchâtel for the final module of the year.

The scholarships are part of the AFC’s commitment to enhance the capability of staff from the AFC’s Member Associations and were announced by the AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa at the 28th AFC Congress in Kuala Lumpur last October.

Shaikh Salman said: “The AFC is determined to raise standards in the game across Asia and that includes those who work so tirelessly off the field as well as those who compete on the pitch. Not only does Asia require outstanding players in the future but we also have a duty to deliver top class administrators.”

CIES is delighted to have joined forces with the AFC and as explained by CIES Director, Professor Denis Oswald, this new scholarship scheme “will ensure that more candidates will be able to participate in our programme which is excellent news as, sometimes, very good candidates cannot take the course because they are not in a position to fund their participation.”

The fruitful co-operation is set to continue as the AFC recently announced that five new scholarships will again be offered to Asian football staff keen to take part in the 21st edition of the Master.

The application process for the 21st edition (2020-2021) will open on October 1st, 2019 and will close in mid-January 2020.

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Football Australia targeting new leadership appointments

Football Australia are strategically commencing a global search to fill four newly established leadership roles within its National Teams’ set-up.

Reporting into Head of National Teams, Gary Moretti, the positions include:

General Manager – Women’s National Teams

General Manager – Men’s National Teams

General Manager – Football Data & Analysis

General Manager – High Performance.

The FA are underscoring its commitment on delivering national team excellence and believe these roles will be pivotal in the ongoing improvement of the game in Australia at the professional level.

Each role is essential for the development, management and the long-term success of all high performance and national team programs and initiatives in both the men’s and women’s teams.

Under Moretti’s leadership, Football Australia’s National Teams will operate concurrently with the oversight of the governing body’s Technical Department, headed by Chief Football Officer Ernie Merrick. Later this month, they will reveal a new 10-year Technical Strategy for Australian Football.

Upon announcing these additions to the National Teams structure, Football Australia CEO, James Johnson explained the additions to the National Team structure and what it means for the future.

“The realignment and increased number of specialised resources for our senior and youth national teams stem from a comprehensive internal review of our current high performance structure when benchmarked against leading football and sporting organisations globally,” he said in a statement.

“We are a football first organisation, and this heightened focus and investment in our national teams is a reflection of our ambition. These new roles are designed to ensure everything possible is being done to deliver our strategic goal of being a leading football nation within the Asian Football Confederation and that all ages groups, men’s and women’s, are qualifying for every FIFA senior and youth World Cup.”

The recruitment process will be thorough and will be conducted by specialist recruitment firms to secure the most qualified candidates for these crucial roles.

It’s a great proactive approach by the FA to ensure the future of the national teams is consistently improving and matching Asia’s best such as Japan and South Korea who have fantastic national team structures in place.

Details of all positions will be available on the Football Australia website from Tuesday, 14 May 2024.

AFC Technical Committee create new awards to improve standards

The AFC Technical Committee had its second meeting last weekend in Doha, Qatar on the eve of the AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024 Final between Japan and Uzbekistan.

The official AFC meeting outlines new initiatives on awarding development and solidifying supportive structures.

In conjunction with the overall rise in Women’s football within the AFC’s associations and the wider FIFA football community, The AFC has decided to unveil the new accolade of the AFC Women’s International Player of the Year Award.

The eligibility criteria include that applicants:

  • Must be Asian
  • Playing in the leagues of other Confederations
  • Have recorded significant achievements for country or club

There has also been an adapted criteria for the existing AFC Women’s Player of the Year. Similarly, they must be Asian and a regular national team player, specifically in the AFC competitions, and any of the AFC’s Member Associations (MAs) leagues.

The goalkeeper position has also been given due recognition with the Goalkeeper of the Tournament Award in the revamped AFC Champions League Elite – Final Stage, which commences from the 2024/25 season.

These initiatives are important for the AFC acknowledging crucial technical roles in the footballing scene. These individual awards give the incentive for further support for women and goalkeeping by officially elevating their status in the AFC.

Also, there was the support of structured initiatives within the AFC, including the ‘Positive Play’ campaign – promoting attractive football for players, coaches and supporters endorsing the expectation of positive future playing styles. This is especially prominent in the upcoming AFC youth competition with the winning team receiving a certificate of achievement.

On the topic of youth and growth, the AFC Elite Youth Scheme and AFC grassroots charter have also received updates and growing drive, including importantly newly updated regulations for the AFC Coaching Convention.

However, these decisions need to be further ratified by the AFC Executive Committee. This is a promising statement that the AFC Technical Committee is strategising large investments in increasing standards throughout all levels of the AFC’s MAs.

This meeting should also intrigue keen investors, shareholders and clubs in the AFC Technical Committees objective to encourage development means they are willing to reward. financially and strategically. This supports their aim to achieve higher standards and results on and off the field.

It’s an encouraging sign of evolution in the Asian football schedule and an ambitious push by the AFC.

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