FFA forced to cut 70% of staff

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, Football Federation Australia has had its hand forced, standing down around 70% of their workforce.

Many Australians have lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus. Now, the FFA has been forced to cut costs in an attempt to stay afloat during this crisis.

FFA CEO James Johnson described the decision as unfortunate, with not much choice but to make this tough decision.

“These developments impact many forms of revenue for FFA, including national registration fees, broadcast fees, sponsorship, ticket sales and government funding, so we have needed to adjust our operations to ensure that we can remain operational, forcing us to take the unfortunate decision to stand down approximately 70 per cent of our workforce.

“We have an incredible team here at FFA, and I am immensely proud of the work everyone does for football in this country. We have explored ways to retain as many staff as possible, including reducing essential roles to part-time, and asking staff to take annual leave and long service leave. Unfortunately, a number of staff members will have a period of leave without pay.”

Although the 70% cut seems like a high number, it is possible that there could be more should the situation worsen in the coming days.

At the time of writing, over 4,000 Australians have tested positive for COVID-19 with numbers expected to grow exponentially.

Whilst over 200 people have thankfully recovered, 17 people have lost their lives, with a Tasmanian woman in her 80’s the latest victim.

These staff cuts aren’t decisions that companies would make willingly. Obviously, this situation is unique, confusing and utterly terrifying and we don’t envy the decisions that are made by higher-ups.

On the flip side, it’s extremely saddening to see so much of our Australian soccer workforce be told that they are not required at this time.

Many of them would rely heavily on their employment, as do millions of Australians in other industries. Unfortunately, the FFA is the latest to succumb.

They’ve done the right thing by as many people as possible, as per Johnson’s statement. Many have been asked to take annual or long service leave, until this all blows over.

However, Johnson went on to add that there would still be a contingent of staff that would go without pay, going to show just how serious this situation is.

This news comes as the A-League finally postponed their season to avoid any players contracting the coronavirus.

The A-League was the final national competition in Australia to call off their season until further notice, with players, staff, officials and coaches now left in limbo.

Only eight days ago, the Australian Football League made the same decision after one round of fixtures. The NRL, despite initial intentions to go ahead with their season as per normal, eventually followed suit.

This situation is dire and there was always going to be a large number of people in the sporting industry that would unfortunately, lose their jobs.

Again, these extremely challenging circumstances have led many employers to bite the bullet and let employees go. Johnson and his team wouldn’t have made these cuts on a whim.

That’s not to say that we shouldn’t feel for those in these tough predicaments. All we can say is that during these times, stay home, stay safe and above all else, look after each other.

As a community, we can get out on the other side of the tunnel. It may be bleak now, but together, through common sense and perseverance, we can reach the light.

 

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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.

German football ends 70 years with Adidas for Nike deal

The German Football Association (DFB) has inked a mega eight-year deal with American sportswear giant Nike and move on from incredible 70-year partnership with Adidas.

The deal commences in 2027 after the next World Cup and runs to the end of 2034 with the company securing kit rights for at least two World Cup campaigns.

Nike were able to blow away Adidas’ offer and the deal was one they simply couldn’t refuse. It is reportedly worth AU$169.3 million a year, exactly double the amount Adidas currently gives the DFB which is $84.6 million.

Adidas has been a DFB partner since the 1950s and has been synonymous with the success of Germany’s men’s and women’s national teams, who have supported the company’s logo during 14 World Cup and European Championship triumphs.

This deal has caused huge public backlash from German fans and politicians who believe it goes against the traditions and history of the sport.

However, the DFB has defended its decision to drop Adidas as Nike made the better financial offer which would help the federation fund the future of German football as it would be invested into the grassroots game.

DFB President Bernd Neuendorf explained the controversial decision and gives his well wishes to Adidas.

“We understand every emotion. It’s also a drastic event for us as an association when it becomes clear that a partnership that was and is characterised by many special moments is coming to an end after more than 70 years. That doesn’t leave us cold,” Neuendorf said in a statement.

“The DFB has to make economic decisions against this background. Nike made by far the best financial offer in the transparent and non-discriminatory tender process.

“The federation will do everything we can to achieve shared success with our long-standing and current partner Adidas, to whom German soccer has owed a lot for more than seven decades.”

It is a huge loss for Adidas’ legacy, losing a long term relationship with the country’s biggest sporting team to its main rival and ultimately showcasing the bargaining power Nike has over the company.

However, the company still has a huge standing in football despite this issue and won’t be too affected by it. At the international level, Adidas has deals with higher-ranked Argentina and Italy and will still supply Germany’s kits at the 2026 World Cup – a tournament which it will also sponsor.

This new deal allows more money to tackle issues in the grassroots game in Germany and help stabilise the system as it looks towards returning to long-term international success.

Football Victoria celebrates establishment between Sydenham Park SC and Calder United SC

A striking partnership has been established between Sydenham Park SC and Calder United SC, with the Western United affiliated club to play 11 home fixtures at Keilor Lodge Reserve.

The Club Changer Club Development Program, an incentive created in 2023 to assist clubs fostering and strengthening inclusive environments for multiple diverse communities within society to participate in football, supports the growth of women’s football, among many other ranges of football within the country.

Last year, all federation members dedicated a strong focus upon women and young females in football as a main element of their Legacy 23 campaign. This enables club development officers across the state to work in conjunction with clubs in order to foster a positive football experience within female football, both on and off the field.

In this facility sharing partnership, Sydenham Park SC vice-president Davis Lisolajski showcased his clubs enthusiasm.

“When we learned that they were without a home venue, it was an obvious choice for us to reach out and assist,” he said via press release.

“Women’s football holds significant importance for us at Sydenham, and we believe this partnership will benefit our young girls and both senior women’s teams. They will witness professionalism first-hand during match days.”

Calder United SC President Amanda Stella expressed excitement towards developing a sustained and effective partnership to spearhead National Premier League Women’s football to Sydenham Park in 2024.

“The support from Sydenham Park President Nick and Vice President David, along with the broader Sydenham Park community, is greatly appreciated, and we eagerly anticipate playing our senior and 20s home games for the 2024 season at Sydenham Park,” she added via media release.

“A special acknowledgment to Football Victoria’s Josephine La Pila for her work with both clubs to achieve an outcome that promotes collaboration among football clubs for the betterment of our beloved sport.”

Football Victoria have endorsed the partnership between these two growing clubs within female football across the state.

With Calder United establishing themselves as a competitive club amongst the NPLW competition, the partnership allowing the club between the Western United sister club and Sydenham puts a focus upon both sides allowing their playing and coaching staff to use one of the best pitch surfaces within the north-western district of Melbourne. The use of these highly elite facilities will allow them to have an advantage, perhaps being the difference in furthering themselves away from their competitors.

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