CommBank and Football Australia taking support of women’s football to new heights

Growing Football Fund

CommBank and Football Australia are extending their fruitful partnership in the form of a new community fund that aims to increase participation in women’s football across the country.

The Growing Football Fund will provide millions of dollars to help invigorate grassroots football in Australia, pledging to attract and retain 50,000 female participants over two years through the fund.

With grant recipients to be announced in February 2024, we will soon see the continuation of a legacy that the FIFA Women’s World Cup is creating.

A key part of this pledge is the provision of high-quality resources for coaches in the women’s game, ensuring that players can thrive in an inclusive and sustainable football environment.

This includes a dedicated online “coaches hub”, that will provide coaches with scholarships, resources, technical training, and state-based networking.

A key pillar of this fund, Football Australia Head of Women’s Football, Women’s World Cup Legacy & Inclusion, Sarah Walsh, believes the timing of the launch is crucial, given the high-point women’s football is experiencing in Australia right now.

“This important initiative will provide hundreds of community clubs across the country with access to funding to ensure that together we maximise the interest off the back of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023,” Walsh stated.

“Critical to sustainable growth in participation is support for our coaches of women and girls, to create greater accessibility to training, more pathways and ongoing support to foster a positive environment where all players can thrive.”

Commonwealth Bank Group Executive of Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Monique Macleod, shared Walsh’s enthusiasm for the fund.

“As major supporters of women’s sport, we are delighted to extend our partnership with Football Australia with the launch of the Growing Football Fund which will help change the game in Australia,” Macleod added via media release.

“Grassroots sport empowers communities – it is where children grow up, family and friends come together, and dreams are realised. This should be strengthened and preserved for future generations.”

Further to this, Matildas Captain and CommBank Ambassador Sam Kerr believes the fund will play a crucial role in empowering women in football.

“We have seen what is possible when you invest in women and girls and provide them with the opportunity to fulfill their potential. We want this transformative experience for women and girls at all levels of football.”

With women’s football in Australia experiencing a boom like no other, the launch of the Growing Football Fund is an exciting moment that will help preserve and grow football to new, unprecedented levels.

FIFPRO Asia/Oceania report of AFC Champions League assesses the cost of competition for players and clubs

FIFPRO Asia/Oceania has published a report on key financial findings from the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) flagship club competition, the AFC Champions League (ACL).

The report, AFC Champions League Analysis Report: Counting the cost for players and clubs, was produced alongside sporting intelligence agency Twenty First Group (TFG).

This analysis is in response to the announcement of AFC Champions League Elite (ACLE) commencing in July this year, as revealed by the AFC in December 2022.

Based on TFG’s analysis, insights and feedback from participating players and clubs, the report addresses the feasibility of running ACLE with key factors including on-field quality and competitive balance, attendances and fan engagement, economics for clubs and players, travel and workload, competition design, and football development outcomes.

The research undertaken focusses on the value of introducing ACLE, based on the current operations of the ACL.

“This report analyses the merits and drawbacks of the current AFC Champions League based on various data and the results indicate that the merits do not outweigh the drawbacks for most players and clubs, making it an unsustainable system,” FIFPRO Asia/Oceania Chair Takuya Yamazaki outlines in the report.

“However, this does not mean that the future of football in Asia is bleak. On the contrary, we believe that this economically significant region can lead a discussion for truly sustainable competition formats.”

The report is the most comprehensive public analysis of the ACL and includes recommendations for what the AFC should be implementing.

“For players, the development of competitions is central to their employment conditions and future opportunities. As its primary workforce, the players are determined to play their role to shape a sustainable and innovation-driven future for the football sector in Asia,” Yamazaki added.

World Leagues Forum is involved in representing professional football leagues on a global level. General Secretary Jerome Perlemuter explained that collaboration between all stakeholders in the Asian region would help shape and deliver sustainable competitions.

“FIFPRO’s contribution to shaping the future of Asian continental competitions is most welcome,” Perlemuter said.

“Sustainable football development requires confederations, leagues and players to work together with a common objective to shape high potential continental competitions in a consistent global calendar. In this context, it is important to consider economic, geographical and cultural specificities. We look forward to continuing these discussions with FIFPRO and all stakeholders.”

To see the report in full, you can do so here.

Wellington Phoenix team up with Chinese outfit Tianjin Tiger

Wellington Phoenix have partnered with Chinese Super League team Tianjin Tiger to boost football growth in both nations.

As part of the Wellington Phoenix Tianjin Tiger Sister City Friendship, the clubs have agreed to hold an annual encounter between their men’s first teams.

The inaugural Wellington Phoenix F.C. vs. Tianjin Tiger F.C. Sister City Shield match is set to take place in Tianjin this September, with the second in Wellington next year.

The strategic collaboration was formed after Phoenix general manager David Dome visited Tianjin in September as part of a business delegation headed by Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau.

The club hosted a delegation from Tianjin, and the two sides signed the Memorandum of Understanding at the Mayor’s office.

Phoenix general manager David Dome was thrilled with the partnership going through.

“The mayoral delegation to China last year was invaluable and I’m thrilled about this partnership with Tianjin Jinmen Tiger, which will be of benefit to the club on multiple levels,” he said via press release.

“Not only will the men get to play a Chinese Super League side as part of their A-League pre-season each year, but the academy will soon benefit from an influx of footballers from Tianjin.

“We’re looking to grow our academy to have an international component and Tianjin Jinmen have committed to sending some young players to Wellington to attend training camps in July and we’re discussing the possibility of their juniors being part of a new international academy annual programme.

“International students are essential for the secondary and tertiary education sector in Wellington and we are evaluating how an elite international academy focused on football can be part of New Zealand’s international education offering.”

Wellington mayor Tory Whanau added that the city is excited about the opportunity. 

“I’d like to congratulate David Dome and the wider team for the work they’ve done on this MoU,” he stated via press release.

“I’m beyond stoked that the delegation last September has resulted in this MoU between the Wellington Phoenix and Tianjin Jinmen Tiger. 

“The development opportunities for both the clubs will be invaluable to not only football but also our cities.”

The Phoenix are enjoying a successful A-league campaign where they currently sit top of the table 18 games into the season.

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