FFA announces two new board members & Nikou re-elected as chairman, but where to from here?

Football Federation Australia conducted their Annual General Meeting (AGM) yesterday, with a host of announcements.

After the recent departure of Kelly Bayer Rosmarin and Crispin Murray, two new directors were revealed on Thursday.

Robyn Fitzroy and Carla Wilshire were both elected to the board, with 63 votes and 99 votes each respectively.

Fitzroy is in charge of a governance consultancy firm, whilst Wilshire is the CEO of the Migration Council Australia.

FFA chairman Chris Nikou was re-elected on Thursday, after facing no competition for the top job.

Nikou claimed 2019 was a year full of challenges, singling out the structural reforms promised the year prior as being particularly demanding.

“The structural reform was a painstaking one, however it was well worth the hard work, as it gives more stakeholders a voice in the game they love,” Nikou said.

“The separation of the FFA from the professional leagues into two separate but allied entities will allow both to concentrate on what they do best.

“We stand ready to work with the Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League clubs to maximise the potential of our domestic competitions.

“For FFA, our focus is clear. To nurture and produce the finest national teams to represent us on the world stage and give them every opportunity to succeed. We will also work hard to enrich and enhance the game at the grassroots level and ensure the pathways to our national teams are available to everyone,” he said.

Current CEO David Gallop is set to finish his tenure at the FFA on November 28. Gallop claims the future is bright for the game in this country.

“Football has changed a lot and achieved a lot over the last seven years. Even this week we have seen the responsibility to deal with issues carefully and react appropriately to the unexpected, ensuring that we always uphold the highest standards to protect the reputation of the game, its commercial partners and its many fans.

“No sport can unite people and the diversity of the country like football.  Be confident about what this sport is and what it can be. As the world gets smaller football will get bigger,” Gallop stated.

The FFA also released their annual report for the year, which can be accessed here.

Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Global Institute of Sport and former Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor launch ‘study and play’ academy in Dubai

Global Institute of Sport (GIS) has announced an expansion into the Middle East by partnering with leading football performance specialists The Player, co-founded by former Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor.

Aspiring footballers from across the globe can now study a GIS university degree and immerse themselves in an elite football environment with the stunning surroundings of Dubai.

The new ‘Study & Play: Dubai’ initiative provides footballers of all levels with an unprecedented opportunity to train and play in state-of-the-art facilities under the guidance of UEFA A licenced coaches. Alongside their football, students studying a specialist GIS online sports degree will receive local academic support, as well as be part of a global cohort of GIS students studying the same degree course.

Open to students from across the world to move to Dubai, successful applicants will be able to immerse themselves in the Middle East’s emerging football market, gain cutting-edge skills and apply for sports work placements that will shape their future both on and off the field.

The Player Co-Founder and former Newcastle United player Steven Taylor commented:

“This partnership with GIS offers a fantastic opportunity for young athletes. Education is one of our four main focuses at The Player, and we’re able to offer high level performance training alongside this education.”

Fellow The Player Co-Founder and UEFA A licenced coach Sam White added:

“We’re really proud to be introducing this partnership with Global Institute of Sport, and being able to offer young professionals and talented young athletes the opportunity to study a degree and play or work within the world of football in Dubai at the same time.”

GIS President and CEO Sharona Friedman stated:

“GIS was founded with the intention of bringing the best learning and education from the world of sport together so that students are able to graduate with a holistic understanding of best practice from around the globe.

“We are delighted to partner with The Player to provide an additional immersive opportunity for students to study and train in an elite football environment, whilst also bringing our education model to a new region, which will be at the forefront of sports business and performance for the decades to come.”

The GIS degrees available to study as part of this opportunity are:

All programmes are delivered entirely online with the exception of MSc Football Coaching & Analysis, which is largely online plus two residential weeks in either London, Miami or Melbourne.

For more information on Study & Play: Dubai, you can visit the link here: www.GIS.sport/dubai.

FIFA implement measures to protect female players and coaches

FIFA has announced several amendments to the current Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP). These changes have been approved by the FIFA Council by May 2024 and have been brought into effect from June 1.

These changes are majorly focused on women and the impact that menstruation and pregnancy have on their careers.

A meeting of key stakeholders and FIFA members resulted in these new regulations advancing the women’s game.

These include:

  • FIFA female players and coaches can now receive a minimum of 14 weeks of paid maternity leave.
  • A minimum of 8 weeks of paid absence for female coaches and players who adopt a child under the age of 2.
  • Also, a minimum of 8 weeks paid absence from the birth of the child if they are not the biological mother (for example same-sex parenthood).
  • Players are entitled to full remuneration if they are absent from training or games due to menstruation or pregnancy health reasons.
  • There is increased support for female players in contacting families during national team contexts to ease pressure on children and mothers.

FIFA Chief Legal & Compliance Officer Emilio García Silvero has commented on the recent changes:

“FIFA is committed to implementing a dynamic regulatory framework that is sound and suitable for the increasing needs of female players and coaches,” he said via media release.

“In order for the game to further flourish, it’s key that we have a holistic approach towards player well-being, including the legal aspects.”

This is a huge advancement in the game’s equality mission as FIFA has recognised and actively planned to ease the physical, psychological and social dimensions of pregnancy and menstruation for women athletes.

These regulations fit Goal 2 in FIFA’s Strategic Objectives for the Global Game: 2023-2027, which describe the organisation’s commitment to exploring and implementing further safeguards for player and coach welfare.

FIFA Chief Football Women’s Officer Dame Sarai Bareman outlined the importance of placing women’s physical health in the legal and mainstream dialogue of the sport.

“When you’re playing sport for a living, and in a professional environment, we have to factor in that the female menstrual cycle can also impact on your ability to deliver within your role,” she added via media release.

“So, it’s important that we protect … those that are affected by their menstrual cycles in a way that it doesn’t put at risk their employment situation with their club and, ultimately, their ability to earn money.”

This announcement shows the players are becoming the major stakeholders in laws and regulations around their welfare.

This is an important strategy for the equality of the game by making sure that women’s sporting careers are not put on hold or impacted by their natural body function or raising a child.

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