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Construction begins for Melbourne City’s South East Melbourne home

Melbourne City home base

Following a historic inaugural A-League championship and premiership double, Melbourne City have confirmed that construction has begun on the brand-new Etihad City Football Academy Melbourne.

A formal ‘groundbreaking’ ceremony attended by senior executives and community leaders from the City of Casey, the City of Greater Dandenong, Cardinia Shire Council and Melbourne City FC formally kicked off construction at the 84-hectare sporting precinct in South East Melbourne.

The first stage of construction includes the central elite training pitch, with its 115m x 115m hybrid grass surface, due for completion by the end of 2021. The new pitch is adjacent to the site’s existing four full-sized pitches – one grass and three synthetic – which will be primarily used by the Club’s Academy teams and for City in the Community programs, as well as for City of Casey school and club programs.

Fields

The next stage of construction will see the development of Melbourne City’s new two-storey administration and high-performance building at Casey Fields, currently in detailed design phase. Construction on that phase of the facility is due to commence in the coming months, with completion estimated for mid-2022.

The Club’s Academy teams started training and playing at Casey Fields in February, while administration staff will begin working from Casey Fields next month. Melbourne City’s championship-winning A-League team and four-time Westfield W-League championship winning side commence 2021-22 pre-season training on site in August and September respectively.

Melbourne City CEO Brad Rowse and City of Casey CEO Glenn Patterson were on hand to put the first spade in the Casey Fields ground.

“This has been a momentous season for Melbourne City FC – starting with the announcement of our move to South East Melbourne and right up until last weekend’s grand final win,” Rowse said.

“Both moments are just the beginning of an exciting future for the Club, the fans, the staff, players and the wider community.

“The welcome we have received in the South East has been extraordinary, and we cannot wait to see the Etihad City Football Academy come to life. This is more than an elite training facility, it’s a home for football in South East Melbourne.”

Players training

City of Casey Chair of Administrators Ms. Noelene Duff PSM celebrated Melbourne City’s firm establishment in the South East of Melbourne.

“The commencement of construction on the City Football Academy at Casey Fields is another exciting milestone in this wonderful partnership that is developing between the City of Casey and Melbourne City Football Club,” she said.

“The December announcement of Melbourne City’s move to South East Melbourne was met with great enthusiasm in our community, and to now see signs of life in the development of the next stage of what will be a truly world class facility will only increase that level of excitement.

“The impending move of some of Australia’s best footballers, coaches and sporting administrators will be a wonderful addition to our community, providing positive role models and engagement opportunities on many levels.”

Manchester United commit to a renewable future

Renewable energy

With a shared mission of tackling climate change and creating a cleaner world, Manchester United have announced the renewal of their global partnership with Renewable Energy Group, Inc. – a leading producer of renewable fuels.

The partnership reinforces the Red Devil’s commitment to environmental sustainability through working together with Renewable Energy Group to raise awareness of the company’s biofuel products and to encourage positive environmental change among Manchester United’s global fanbase and beyond.

As one of the first football clubs in the world to launch a carbon reduction programme in 2008, Manchester United have reduced annual emissions from its operations by 2,700 tonnes since then. The club will be seeking to build on this record through its new partnership with Renewable Energy Group.

Manchester United Chief Operating Officer Collette Roche acknowledged the importance of Manchester United being a leader in environmental awareness and sustainability of the planet.

“As one of the most popular sports teams in the world, the club has a powerful platform to help raise awareness of how people can contribute towards a cleaner, more sustainable future for our planet,” she said.

“We are already an environmental leader among football clubs after 12 consecutive years of reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions. We will now work with Renewable Energy Group to explore ways of shrinking our carbon footprint further. Together, we can make a difference in the fight against climate change, and the goal of developing a greener, cleaner planet.”

Renewable Energy Group President and Chief Executive Officer Cynthia Warner spoke about the significance of enhancing awareness through the partnership with United.

“As a leading producer of cleaner, bio-based diesel, it’s a natural fit for Renewable Energy Group to partner with another sustainability-minded leader like Manchester United,” she said.

“Together, alongside Manchester United, we will amplify our simple-to-adopt opportunities for individuals and organisations to reduce carbon now.”

Australian Clem Morfuni becomes owner of Swindon Town FC

Swindon Town Morfuni

Australian Clem Morfuni has become the majority stakeholder in League Two side Swindon Town FC, with an ambition of bringing in a new era to the club.

The Robins, who were relegated from League One last season and have just nine senior players contracted – including Australian Jordan Lyden – will be backed by Morfuni for the foreseeable future with the upcoming League Two campaign less than three weeks away.

Morfuni, a previous minority stakeholder in the side, founded his plumbing business Axis Services Group in Australia in 1994. It is now a globally operating business with a financial turnover of $200 million each year.

The acquisition has also signalled the end of a lengthy ownership battle for the League Two club who have fought recent financial hardships. Moreover, the club’s fans have rejoiced across social media at the sight of Morfuni’s long-awaited arrival.

In a club statement, Morfuni acknowledged the importance of having a ‘fans first’ philosophy on and off the field.

“I want to tell the fans that you’ve got your club back, a football club should be the heartbeat of the town and the local community and should be something that the whole town and surrounding communities takes great pride in,” he said.

“Without fans you don’t have a club and I want to thank every supporter (many who I have got to know personally) who have fought for their club and helped me to gain control. I know I am indebted to you and will work hard to make this club a club all our fans can be proud of.

“Last season we came last in the football league in terms of fan engagement; this season I aim to come first.”

Morfuni’s takeover of the club has ushered in a new contingent of executive and technical staff, with arrivals including Swindon Town Supporters Trust board member Rob Angus as club CEO and Ben Chorley and Ben Garner as the club’s Director of Football and Head Coach respectively.

In addition, Morfuni spoke on the significance of building a youthful side, something which bodes well for young Australians seeking a pathway into European football.

“I want a young, forward thinking, vibrant club. I want the average age of the team to come down, that doesn’t mean every player will be young because you need a balance, but I want a young side that plays an exciting style of football and create a club where top young players want to join because of the environment, the opportunities they will be given,” he said.

Morfuni’s full statement can be read here.

Football Coaches Australia and XVenture announce ‘Play it Forward’ support

XV FCA

Football Coaches Australia (FCA) welcomes all Australian advance licence and community football coaches to the FCA XVenture College and the Essential Skills ‘Play it Forward’ program.

In a world first opportunity for all Australian football coaches, FCA and XV are offering a program which connects directly with FCA and XVenture’s DNA. A global mentoring (or buddy system) program which will allow for Australian coaches to help a fellow coach from around the world to undertake their own FCA XV Essential Skills study as a result of their helping hand.

The program supports football coaches in Australia and other countries who will be able to influence their community immensely as a result of our help.

XVenture Founder and CEO Mike Conway:

“For every coach who undertakes this program with Football Coaches Australia, we will “Play It Forward” by providing a coach who can’t afford the program full access to this body of work too. Imagine – coaches around the World helping the next generation! Improving lives and growing the game. Surely that’s what it’s about? There are no barriers.”           

This program is also in line with the FCA mantra of “Promoting and strengthening the reputation of football in Australia and the reputation of Australian football on the world stage”.

Glenn Warry FCA CEO:

“During the ongoing impact of COVID on world sport we at FCA, along with our valued partner XVenture, are just so proud to present the ‘Play it Forward’ program.

In 2020 FCA worked hard to lead in connecting the coaching community via an extensive coach PD webinar program for community and accredited coaches.

“The FCA XV College Essential Skills ‘Play it Forward’ Program is an incredible opportunity for Australian coaches to enhance the continuing education of every coach’s journey around the world no matter what level they are working at or what their circumstances are”.

How will the FCA XV ‘Play it Forward’ program work?

For every FCA XV Essential Skills full program undertaken by an Australian football coach a complimentary program will be provided to a coach from around the world who can’t afford the program to allow you both to work through the completion of the program together.

Initially FCA and XV will offer this program to coaches nominated by their current football network partners:

  • Association of Indian Football Coaches
  • John Moriarty Foundation
  • RISE Football Academy

FCA is also engaging with the Nepal Football Association, other Asian Football Coach Associations and the Oceania Football Confederation regarding the provision of support for coaches who meet the criteria.

As the program grows FCA will be looking to expand their network to provide this unique opportunity to coaches from all around the world, by connecting with organisations such as ‘Coaches Across Continents’.

The series of FCA XV College modules are delivered completely online, in a revolutionary virtual world environment which aims to develop the ‘essential skills’ of coaching across 5 modules – Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Resilience, Culture and Communication Skills.

Phil Moss, President of FCA, introduces the course to participating coaches as they make their way through the virtual world of the FCA XV College foyer. View here.

XVenture Founder, Professor Mike Conway provides an Essential Skills Introduction which can be viewed here.

Find out how you can be part of this coaching revolution by visiting FCA XVenture’s College

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