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FIFA Considering Ban on Domestic Fixtures Being Played Overseas

On February 27th, soccer’s worldwide governing body FIFA held a meeting to discuss the potential of banning domestic league fixtures from taking place in other countries.

For example, if Liverpool wished to play Manchester United in a league fixture in the United States of America as opposed to Anfield.

According to ESPN, Article 73 of the FIFA Statutes is what is being revisited. Article 73 states that domestic matches played outside of the league or club’s own country can only take place under ‘exceptional circumstances’ and under authorisation from ‘member associations, the respective confederation[s] and by FIFA’.

We have seen this happen sporadically in the past, especially in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League competitions. It’s usually a result of fans overstepping their boundaries and believing they’re bigger than the game itself.

This actually happened again very recently during Bayern Munich’s 6-0 away win at Hoffenheim on Saturday. In the second half, a group of travelling Bayern fans held up expletive signs directed at Hoffenheim owner Dietmar Hopp.

Bayern players and coach Hansi Flick ran across the pitch and pleaded for the signs to be taken down. The fans weren’t exactly keen to accommodate their requests.

The game was temporarily stopped in the 77th minute before players eventually returned to the field. In their own protest against the actions of those fans, both sides refused to play for the remaining 13 minutes, instead kicking the ball amongst one another and conversing in the middle of the pitch.

After the final whistle, all players and coaching staff from both teams stood at Hopp’s side in front of the Hoffenheim fans and everyone applauded the German billionaire.

These kinds of incidents aren’t seen every day in the soccer world and we can be thankful for that. But when these incidents do happen, consequences are laid out for both fans and club alike.

Often, future fixtures are played in empty stadiums. A recent example of this was after the farcical scenes that took place in Bulgaria during their national team’s 6-0 loss to the English.

Bulgaria’s next home match against the Czech Republic was played in an empty stadium as punishment, as well as a measly 75,000 euro fine.

The full story on this can be found here:

https://www.rferl.org/a/bulgaria-soccer-racism-fined–empty-stadium/30242707.html

However, domestic games being played outside of the home country are rare if ever.

FIFA has decided to look into this following two attempts from Spanish top flight La Liga to host domestic league fixtures in the United States of America.

La Liga is partnered with Relevant Sports, a soccer events and media business based out of California. In an attempt to promote the game on the Western front, they have requested to have games played there in recent times.

Both attempts didn’t come to fruition and now FIFA is stepping in to ensure that there is no ‘third time lucky’.

From a business perspective, it makes sense as the game would attract a lot more attention, being a fixture played for league points. The best players would be there, giving their all. The stadium would be completely filled out and it would more than likely be a successful venture.

Imagine if it was an ‘El Clasico’ between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. Except instead of taking place at the Nou Camp or the Santiago Bernabeu, it was played at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.

Soccer fans across the Americas would flock to see the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema play for league points.

The FIFA committee has recommended that this ban be implemented and now it may just be a matter of time before it’s a reality.

However, whether it’s on or off the field, soccer is a funny game and anything can happen. The decision is expected to be finalised on the 20th of March.

What are your thoughts on the potential ban of domestic fixtures being played overseas? Let us know on social media @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.

Sydney FC members to pick and choose membership packs in 2021/22

Sydney FC has introduced an Aussie-first membership platform, with members to gain more control over the customisation of their membership packs.

Sydney FC has introduced an Australian-first membership platform, with members to gain more control over the customisation of their membership packs.

The club and its membership products provider, TPF Sports, will greatly increase member satisfaction and reduce environmental impact. Sydney FC members who sign up for the 2021/22 season will have credits put onto their accounts, allowing them to choose from a variety of Membership card designs and, depending on their package, a variety of personalised items.

Each merchandising item may be customised with different colours and names, allowing for unique bundles based on age, gender, product choice, artwork style, personalisation, years of tender, and a variety of other factors.

Sydney FC Chief Executive Officer Danny Townsend hailed the announcement as a big step forward for how the club engages with its members.

“Our new eMber+ platform is a huge step forward and once again Sydney FC is proud to be leading the way in Member engagement,” he said via a club statement,” he said.

“Gone are the days of receiving the same standard Membership pack as everyone else.

“Now you can tailor your package to suit your preferences and how you wish to support the Sky Blues.

“There’s a fantastic range of customisable merchandise available and I know I’m looking forward to my delivery in the coming weeks.”

TPF Sports Director Craig Dyer explains the move is a worldwide first and one of the benefits of the move would be the reduced environmental impact of membership packs, thanks largely in part to the fact that members will only receive merchandise they actually want.

“There are iterations of loyalty and rewards platforms globally,” he said.

“But to the best of our knowledge from 18 to 20 months of development and research, we believe this is the first-ever platform of its kind and certainly the first for sport and membership-based programs.

“Our vision in developing the platform is to revolutionise the long-standing pre-determined assignment of resources to Members by assigning credit. This allows them to redeem merchandise and entitlements they deem relevant to them.

“This platform also has a strong environmental slant, as we are only supplying merchandise and delivering this merchandise to Members who want to redeem it.

“Additionally, almost every product is on-demand, meaning we receive Members’ selection based on products and artwork, print them with selected artwork and personalisation, pick, pack and fulfil directly to the Members door.”

Football NSW grants webinar to aid clubs and associations

FNSW

Football NSW in conjunction with ‘The Grants Guy’ are set to premiere a free Grants Zoom online webinar next Wednesday (September 22) at 6:30pm – 7:30pm.

FNSW clubs and associations will be provided with valuable information through the grants webinar, especially for applying for funding which have assisted many teams in the past in their pursuit of seeking facility upgrades amongst various other beneficial elements.

The webinar will provide a practical guide to grant writing for any football club seeking to attain funding by applying for the Greater Cities Sport Facility Fund and the Regional Sport Facility Fund in particular.

Both grants will be explained through the practical step by step webinar, and guidance will be provided as to how to apply for the Grants.

The following topics will be discussed:

  • How to apply for the grant – the do’s and don’ts
  • Eligibility & Answering the Question
  • Project Assessment, Evaluation, Rationale, Methodology
  • Budget & Acquittal
  • Getting Grant Ready and Planning your Club’s Application

For the Greater Cities and Regional Sport Facility Fund, the second and final round of the $100 million grant is available, with grants of up to $1 million offered to sport and recreation organisations and councils.

In Round 2, up to $46 million is available for projects that improve sports facilities and recreational spaces and enable more people to participate in sport and active recreation.

Grants from $100,000 up to $1 million are available for a range of projects including lighting, amenity buildings, clubrooms, change rooms and grandstands.

Round 1 resulted in $54 million awarded for 91 projects, with over $10 million awarded to football projects.

Round 2 is the final round of the program with applications closing at 12pm, on October 8, 2021.

Register for the webinar today by clicking here.

For any further questions please contact Football NSW’s Government Relation, Infrastructure and Funding Manager Daniel Ristic via email on danielr@footballfacilities.com.au.

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