FA Cup Streams Fixtures on Facebook

The FA have taken matters into their own hands this week, streaming two games from the FA Cup 5th round on their official Facebook page.

Wednesday morning’s clash between Reading and Sheffield United, which saw the Blades triumph 2-1 in extra time was the first game.

Leicester City’s home fixture against Championship side Birmingham City, which kicks off at 6:45 AEDT is the second game that will be broadcast live onto Facebook.

As is the case with Facebook streaming, fans will not have to pay a single cent to watch this tie.

Partnering with Facebook will certainly allow the FA access to a much larger fanbase, with Facebook easily the largest social media website on the planet.

When you combine that with the lack of a fee to watch the game, fans from across the UK can watch two famous English teams do battle for a spot in the sixth round.

The FA have previously used gambling agencies such as bet365, William Hill, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power to stream some FA Cup games. But the FA are feeling the heat in that department and now seem to be keen to use alternative websites to stream games.

A few months ago, we wrote a piece about the affect that potential changes to the UK’s Gambling Act could have on clubs who use gambling agencies as major sponsors.

The FA could be in a similar position to that, hence why they are now turning away from the gambling industry.

The aforementioned gambling agencies no longer have the rights to stream games not being streamed by major broadcasters, therefore allowing the FA to dip into social media.

Most FA Cup games are shown on major broadcast channels such as Bein Sports and mainly BT Sport in the UK.

The FA does give worldwide fans access to match highlights via its Twitter page, meaning that if you aren’t able to watch these games either on Bein Sports, BT Sport or on Facebook, the highlights are available after the final whistle.

Obtaining the broadcast rights for a match involving a club in the Champions League spots is a huge coup for Facebook.

When excluding their extraordinary title triumph back in 2016, many fans think of the Foxes and immediately think of a side who are probably good for middle table most seasons.

However, under Brendan Rodgers, a manager who nearly took Liverpool to an unlikely Premier League title a few years ago, Leicester fans have been able to dream again of playing European football.

Having one of their games streamed for free on the largest social media platform on the planet is a massive deal and fans in the UK would be chuffed.

The Sheffield United match was also a fantastic piece of business, especially seeing how the match played out.

Chris Wilder has taken the Blades to levels unimaginable at the start of the season. Sheffield United are an outside chance of playing European football next season, only one year after gaining promotion from the Championship.

Their match against Reading was a tightly fought contest, with an extra-time winner from Blades’ striker Billy Sharp seeing his side through to the quarter finals.

It is unlikely that more games in this year’s FA Cup will be shown for free on Facebook, but it certainly a great sign that the FA are willing to this and not just because it is at the behest of gambling agencies.

Would you like to see more games streamed for free online? Get involved in the discussion on Twitter @Soccersceneau

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Caelum Ferrarese is a Senior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on micro policy within Australasia and industry disruptions at grassroots level.

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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