Crucial moments loom for Central Coast Mariners

Recently through the clamour in which the A-League churns out each season, Central Coast Mariners have been quietly charging towards what could be considered one of the club’s greatest accomplishments.

Australian football sometimes needs reminding regarding the pedigree in which their second football confederation boasts. Asia has the largest fan following of football than any other continent across the globe, residing over 800 million, passionate football fanatics. Since joining the Asian Football Confederation in 2007, Australia as a footballing nation has drastically improved. An Asian Cup triumph on home soil, accompanied by a series of successful World Cup Qualifying campaigns, has our presence within Asia definitely been understood.

In 2014, Western Sydney Wanderers notoriously defied the odds against Asian Moguls Al-Hilal over a 1-0 win played across two legs of extremely intense finals football. It catapulted a relatively newly founded club at the time, into current financial stability, recognition, and prestige across both Asia and Australia. The total prize money the Sydney-based club had earned from winning the most coveted prize in Asian Football, was a whopping 3.5 million dollars, and the opportunity to play in the FIFA Club World Cup.

Since 2007, A-League clubs at the business end of the ladder, are eligible for Asian football qualification, qualifying for both the Asian Champions League, or AFC Cup. The cash injection Asian football has had upon the A-League is what the doctor ordered for Australian football. Influxes of revenue generated through international advertisement, television rights, international sponsorship proposition. The possibilities are open-minded. As are the Central Coast Mariners who are currently three games away from their biggest pay-day in their history.

The Gosford based outfit have been custodians of the A-League since its inception. Their youth academy is considered as one of the best across the country, breeding the likes of Mile Jedinak, Tom Rogic and Mat Ryan, who all shared successful careers in both domestic and international football, spanning across Europe. A-League Premiership triumphs occurred in 2007-08 and 2011-12, culminating in Champions League qualification. A maiden Championship win in 2013, was complemented by another, a decade later. A second place finish in the 2022-23 season, resulted in qualification for Asia’s second most coveted prize, the AFC Cup.

The new format of the competition means that clubs within the tournament are divided into five separate zones. Central Coast were victorious within their zone, beating fellow A-League side Macarthur in the inter-zonal final. The Mariners have positioned themselves into a semi-final, and will face Chinese outfit FC Abdysh-Ata Kant, over two legs to determine the finalist. The new format of the AFC Cup was implemented to provide more financial opportunity and prestige to competitions across the continent, simultaneously providing clubs with more incentive to perform within their own leagues, while having a trophy in which they can be competitive in, despite their lack of financial support or global recognition.

The Mariners are primed for this opportune moment. They overcame a relentless Macarthur in a gruelling inter-zonal final that has set them up for the the prestigious Asian title, and all the financial beneficiaries it can allow the yellow and navy to continue their resurgence and ultimately the key to becoming the powerhouse within Australian football.

FC Barcelona and EBC Financial Group confirm collaboration

FC Barcelona has broadened its presence in the foreign exchange industry by partnering with EBC Financial Group (EBC).

This collaboration spans 3.5 years establishing the financial institution as FC Barcelona’s Official Partner in Foreign Exchange. The partnership encompasses regions such as APAC, LATAM, the Middle East, and Africa.

This collaboration signifies a momentous achievement for EBC, as it aligns the brand with FC Barcelona’s esteemed legacy and worldwide influence. Through this exclusive arrangement, EBC gains the exceptional privilege to conduct specialized business operations within the foreign exchange sector.

The partnership encompasses various services such as foreign exchange transactions, trading, brokering (including CFDs), and advisory services. Additionally, it presents an unparalleled opportunity to strengthen FC Barcelona’s connection with its partners, supporters, and Culers in these regions, while advancing its global expansion strategy through strategic partnerships in diverse sectors.

Marketing Area Vice President at FC Barcelona, Juli Guiu, released a statement regarding this partnership.

“This partnership coincides with FC Barcelona’s global expansion plan in recent years, I’m sure that this will help the Club open up a wealth of opportunities in the financial sector through these 3.5 years of partnership with the well-renowned EBC Financial Group.

“With the untapped potentials we see in the Asia Pacific region, as well as the growing economies in South & Central America, Mexico, Africa, and Middle East, we’re excited to build more connections with brands, partners, supporters and Culers in these regions.”

APAC Director of Operations at EBC Financial Group, Samuel Hertz, also added a statement for this collaboration.

“Even though EBC is only four years old, we’ve only grown because we demand the best from ourselves and the industry. We’ve delved deep into FC Barcelona’s storied history, learning from their culture of mentorship where the experienced guide the new, and the new inspire the younger, creating a continuum of growth and excellence.

“This isn’t just a partnership; it’s a shared journey towards greatness, embodying a culture where success is not just about winning but about fostering values, nurturing talent, and contributing positively to society. We’re inspired by Barca’s way of doing things, their culture where veterans nurture newcomers, passing on wisdom and passion.”

Operating from strategically positioned offices in key financial hubs including London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Sydney, the Cayman Islands, Singapore, Bangkok, Limassol, and beyond, EBC serves a varied clientele comprising retail, professional, and institutional investors across the globe.

An amenities refresher for NSW grassroots custodian

The NSW Football Legacy Program has worked in conjunction with the Bayside Council in providing $150,000 to the Bexley North Football Club (BNFC) who join the vast growing number of successful applicants of the Infrastructure Stream, which is the second round screening process.

The Football Legacy program is a $10 million investment founded by the NSW Government. The program’s intention is to continue the established growth of female football through freshly refurbished community facilities.

Furthermore, development programs, participation initiatives and potential ventures involving tourism and international engagement are all at the forefront of the overall objective the NSW government has regarding the growth of football within the state.

The $150,000 grant in which BNFC are receiving is going to be spent sparingly. Kingsgrove Avenue Reserve is in dire need of a rejuvenation, given the club’s recent rise to popular interest within the Football St George Association, BNFC experienced an astounding spike in membership.

Since the 2021 season, the club witnessed a spike in members, a 35% increase surge in overall involvement, highlighted by a 40% increase in female involvement.

The traffic that the club began to experience was a confronting yet exciting time for the community operated club. Their previous facilities could not cater for the extravagant influx of participants, hence the club opting to collaborate with the Bayside Council.

The grant successfully attained will be used to upgrade the amenities at Kingsgrove Avenue Reserve from top to bottom. The newly furbished facility has hosts a conference room, referee room, medical room, canteen, and storage area.

Further funding requested by BNFC is expected to be utilized in rejuvenating the current change rooms and bathrooms, as well as a through fixup of the established home and away locker rooms. The end goal insight, is to accommodate highly regarded women’s footballing outlets in the future.

BNFC President Eddie Yazbeck, mentioned the importance of what this grant will provide.

“We have worked closely with Bayside Council to develop a site plan for Kingsgrove Avenue Reserve and together we applied for the NSW Football Legacy Fund to help make our vision a reality,” he said via press release. 

“This grant will deliver a much-needed infrastructure upgrade, addressing concerns such as accessibility and safety, improved canteen facilities, storage for our kits, change rooms for players and referees.”

The Facilities and Grants Officer at Football NSW, James Spanoudakis, also added via media release. 

“Amenity buildings are the heart and soul of all football clubs across NSW,” he said.

The new amenities is expected to be completed towards the conclusion of 2024, ready to go for the 2025 winter season.   

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