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Carlos Salvachúa: “Playing without promotion and relegation is a big problem”

Carlos Salvachúa was Victory assistant coach under Kevin Muscat, before taking over as caretaker manager. He has coached professionally in Spain and Belgium, including six years at the Real Madrid academy, overseeing the development of the club’s rising stars.

He spoke to Soccerscene from Spain about his impressions of the A-League, where it could be improved, and how Australian youth need to play more football to reach their potential.

What were your first impressions of the A-League?

Salvachúa: Sometimes the big issue is knowing if it’s a professional league or not – and definitely the A-League was professional. I’m talking about games, organisation, talking about flights or hotels, and training. I was lucky to arrive to Melbourne Victory – one of the biggest clubs there is – and everything in the club was like in Europe and in Spain. Good facilities, good organisation, and a lots of staff in the office. For me the first impression was really professional.

What was the level of professionalism like compared to other leagues you have coached in?

Salvachúa: Belgium is a hard competition. I’m talking about the games, not about organisation – it’s similar to the A-League or in Spain in the La Liga. The competition is tough in Belgium if we compare the level of the players, the games and the competition.

After leaving Melbourne Victory, Salvachúa was Muscat’s assistant coach at Sint-Truidense V.V. in Belgium.

What were the biggest challenges you faced while coaching in Australia?

Salvachúa: One of the biggest for me was the distance to play a game. It was funny because here with Atlético versus Real Madrid they travel 15 minutes to go to sleep at home, and for Victory we spend three days away to play a game, for me this was really hard. In the Champions League we spent five days away to play a game in China or in Japan. For me and and European players as well this was hard, because it was not easy. I remember the long pre-season because the schedule of FFA Cup was really hard for us. We trained two to three months before the first game in the A-League, just to play one round in the FFA Cup.

How do you think the league could be improved?

Salvachúa: For me, playing without promotion and relegation, is a problem, a big one in my opinion for the league. You need to improve the league from the basement – you cannot start the building of the house from the roof, you must start building the house from the ground up. I’m talking about the NPL. They are tough competitions, and you need to give promotion to the A-League, and I think that the competition will be better with this system like in Europe. I think a competition without promotion and relegation is only working with the MLS in USA. In Australia I think that it would be great to create another kind of competition to improve the league.

Another thing for me that is one of the biggest issues was that sometimes the players were receptive – they are professionals about training and have a good attitude to learn, but for me as a coach sometimes the players don’t know how important it is to win – compared to a draw or a loss. Without promotion and relegation, in some games as a coach, in the second half the players don’t understand how important it is to get a win over one point. I think that is probably one of the solutions to change the model of the competition.

How would you rate the level of young talent being developed in Australia?

Salvachúa: Like in other countries, you have good players with talent at 14, 15, and 16 years of age, but in my opinion they need more games. Some players arrive to A-League at 19 years old – playing 18 to 25 games – and it’s not easiest time for the coaches to start these young players in the first 11. If they are not playing every Sunday, they need another tough competition. You need competitive games with a second team like here in Spain or with the under 18s or under 19s – it depends. I think that they need more games here. A 14 or 15 year old kid normally finishes the competition in Spain with 45 official games. 45 games is more than the professionals in the A-League. I think one of the big issues is they do not have enough games and training sessions to develop the players. But the talent is there like in other countries.

Coopers Stadium upgrades progressing smoothly

Adelaide United's Coopers Stadium upgrades are running as planned as it receives improvements to prepare for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.

Adelaide United’s Coopers Stadium upgrades are running as planned as it receives back-of-house improvements to prepare for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Back in August 2021, the club announced that the stadium would receive a massive $53 million upgrade in conjunction with Adelaide Venue Management and the South Australia Government.

The upgrade was announced to significantly improve training and playing environments, as well as upgrades inside the stadium to many different facilities. An increase in stadium capacity was not involved in the plans.

Adelaide United CEO Nathan Kosmina spoke to Box2Box to give a further insight into the stadium upgrades.

“The renovations are ongoing at the moment, the bulk upgrades are happening as we speak and we expect most to be complete post A-League season. However some renovations won’t be complete until after the Women’s World Cup,” he said.

Coopers Stadium (formally Hindmarsh) has been the heart and soul of soccer in South Australia since the 1960’s, and although it doesn’t resemble what it was back then, Kosmina reflected on a traditional home for football in the state.

“It’s been the home of SA football since the 60’s, it doesn’t resemble now what it was back then but its still the same block of land that it always has been so its got a lot of history and culture,” he said.

The stadium has been home to many different sporting events and organisations for over 60 years, and has hosted NSL finals, Socceroos matches, Rugby Union and Rugby League.

Coopers was also used for the 2000 Olympics where it recorded it’s largest ever attendance of 18,340, when Italy drew 1-1 with Nigeria in a group stage match.

One of the main concerns for the stadium was making sure the atmosphere inside the venue remained as intimate as possible post-renovation, to ensure the best possible fan experience for all that will attend.

“We were heavily involved in the planning and what Coopers will look like in the future and our priority is to keep that intimate atmosphere,” Kosmina stated.

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“One of the challenges is that part of the stadium is bordered by roads, almost underneath the stands and even near a church. So in terms of increasing the size of the stadium, that was never on the radar.

“What we will see in the next 12 months is a lot of back-of-house upgrades, and the change rooms have been done which has really been first priority considering we have a lot of A-League Women’s games here.

Whilst some renovations won’t be complete until after the Women’s World Cup in 2023, what will be ready is a wide variety of new stadium features that Kosmina is hoping will have a positive impact on fan and media experience.

He stated that the stand on the eastern side of Coopers will be getting one of the biggest upgrades, which includes new audio, new LED, new big TV screens, new media facilities and new food and beverage facilities.

When it comes to something such as unveiling the upgrades to the public, it won’t be too noticeable or impressive to the eye, however the process of the redevelopment is mainly designed to thoroughly improve fan experience for upcoming international events.

“This is an upgrade that has been 20 years in the making, the stadium hasn’t bee improved since the 2000 Olympics,” Kosmina said.

“After the renovations are complete, I’m sure Coopers Stadium will still be a lot of peoples favourite stadium to attend in the country for A-Leagues, the only difference is that its just being brought into the 21st century.

“Next year we should have what feels like a new venue to play at.”

You can listen to more of what Nathan Kosmina had to say on the most recent Box2Box podcast episode here.

28 Australian Match Officials recognised by FIFA for 2022

Football Australia has announced that 28 of Australia's Match Officials have been appointed to FIFA's Panel of International Referees.

Football Australia has announced that 28 of Australia’s Match Officials have been appointed to FIFA’s Panel of International Referees for 2022.

The list includes Referees, Assistant referees, Futsal referees, and Video Match Officials – all of whom are enabled to officiate FIFA sanctioned tournaments and fixtures.

The list includes four new Australian match officials, featuring two match referees and two assistant referees. They are Daniel Elder and Adam Kersey from the Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s competition, and assistant referees Lauren Hargrave and Kearney Robinson respectively.

With all officials becoming debutants on FIFA’s esteemed list, it serves as recognition on a worldwide scale.

Football Australian Chairman and Chair of Football Australia Referees Committee, Chris Nikou:

“Australian match officials have always been highly regarded within the global football landscape and it is pleasing to see that FIFA has continued to recognise this through the appointment of 28 Australians to the Panel of International Referees for 2022,” he said.

“Congratulations to the new additions to the panel in Daniel (Elder), Adam (Kersey), Lauren (Hargrave), and Kearney (Robinson).”

Football Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson:

“Refereeing remains a key focus for Football Australia, and it is pleasing to see Australian Match Officials once again recognised by FIFA. We congratulate all the 2022 Panel or their opportunity to represent Australian football on the global stage,” he said.“With the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ now just 11 months away and a home Women’s World Cup™ in 2023, it is an exciting time for Australian refereeing and football more broadly.”

Four other Australian match officials are also being acknowledged for their selection to officiate in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022. Referees Casey Reibelt, Lara Lee, Kate Jacewicz, and Assistant Referee Joanna Charaktis will represent Australia in India over the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, seasoned Australian referees Matthew Cream and Renae Coghill called time on their international refereeing careers at the end of 2021.

The full list of Australian Match Officials selected for FIFA’s Panel of International Referees for 2022 is below:

Name

Role

FIFA International Since

Kurt AMS

Referee

2019

Jonathan BARREIRO

Referee

2019

Christopher BEATH

Referee

2011

Rebecca DURCAU

Referee

2017

Daniel ELDER

Referee

2022

Shaun EVANS

Referee

2017

Kate JACEWICZ

Referee

2011

Adam KERSEY

Referee

2022

Alexander KING

Referee

2020

Lara LEE

Referee

2019

Casey REIBELT

Referee

2014

Ashley BEECHAM

Assistant Referee

2013

Joanna CHARAKTIS

Assistant Referee

2019

Ryan GALLAGHER

Assistant Referee

2016

Owen GOLDRICK

Assistant Referee

2018

Lance GREENSHIELDS

Assistant Referee

2019

Lauren HARGRAVE

Assistant Referee

2022

Sarah HO

Assistant Referee

2004

George LAKRINDIS

Assistant Referee

2016

Andrew LINDSAY

Assistant Referee

2019

Nathan MACDONALD

Assistant Referee

2012

Laura MOYA

Assistant Referee

2017

Kearney ROBINSON

Assistant Referee

2022

Anton SHCHETININ

Assistant Referee

2016

Andrew BEST

Futsal Referee

2017

Jonathon MOORE

Futsal Referee

2018

Ryan SHEPHEARD

Futsal Referee

2009

Darius TURNER

Futsal Referee

2013

Note: Match Officials listed in bold are recognised as FIFA Video Match Officials (VMOs).

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