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FIFA meets to discuss transfer system and match calendar

Wenger

FIFA has remained committed to the ongoing reform of the transfer system in a recent meeting with leading stakeholders and the global football community.

The meeting also saw the future of the international match calendar discussed in further detail with various perspectives contributing to the discussion regarding men’s football. Delegates from over 50 of FIFA’s member associations participated, together with members of the media.

FIFA Chief of Global Football Development Arsène Wenger was given the opportunity to outline his proposals for the future of the international match calendar during the Professional Football Conference, alongside Technical Director Steven Martens.

In addition to the mandatory rest period for players, the topic of international qualification windows was discussed as well as the retained balance of matches for clubs and leagues and the benefit scheme for those clubs.

In welcoming the participants via video message, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said:

“FIFA has included stakeholders in the decision-making process and has democratised access to information in a way that is remarkable and unprecedented. This webinar is one of many initiatives aimed at engaging with all the main actors of the game: bigger, smaller and from every corner of the world.

“Our proposal does not lead to a reduction in matches for the leagues,” Mr Wenger explained as part of a question-and-answer session with stakeholders.

“It’s more of an optimisation of the time available. It will be clearer and regrouping windows means more time available for the clubs and leagues. Time is an important factor in football. Longer breaks means fewer breaks overall, and less disruption to the season.”

Wenger summarised the demand of the member associations to compromise between the quantity of qualifying matches and the need to reduce interruptions to the club season, elaborating that playing six matches in October and two in March could be a workable solution.

“Basically, if you have two [FIFA] World Cups in four years, you will have twice the benefit scheme for the clubs. FIFA will continue to support the clubs; there’s no going back on that,” he said.

Over 500 participants to the sessions – including representatives of clubs and leagues – also had the chance to hear the reaction of FIFA Chief Legal and Compliance Officer Emilio García Silvero to the report on EU sports policy presented by Member of the European Parliament Tomasz Frankowski.

The report reinforces FIFA’s boosting of the regulatory framework through the reform of the transfer system which is a key pillar of the FIFA President’s Vision 2020-2023.

Orange District Football obtain over $100,000 for lighting upgrade

Orange Football

Orange District Football have seen the successful acquisition of $108,428 in funding for a lighting upgrade at Sir Jack Brabham Park.

Sir Jack Brabham Park is the home of Orange Football and the news of funding comes as a massive win for the world game in regional NSW.

In addition, the NSW State Government have announced the recipients of the Club Grants Category 3 Infrastructure Grants – July Round, with $4.1 million set to be invested into 41 projects to strengthen local communities.

Minister for Digital and Customer Service Victor Dominello stated the grants would boost the economy, provide local jobs, and help businesses as the State reopens.

For the Orange region, lighting has been identified as a critical issue, with half of the floodlit fields in Orange below the Australian Lighting Standard of 50 lux.

Increasing Playing Capacity is a key strategic pillar for of the NSW Football Infrastructure Strategy and improving field lighting is a proven method of increasing participation capacity.

Sports lighting allows players of all ages and abilities to train safely at night and can provide the opportunity to play competition football providing flexibility in scheduling.

The upgrade of lighting at Sir Jack Brabham Park will allow Orange District Football to run a female midweek competition in 2022 and beyond in what comes as great news with the growth of female football set to explode with Australia and New Zealand hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023.

Football estimates that there will be another 187,000 new female participants in NSW by 2027 due to the flow on effects from the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The next round of the NSW Government’s Club Grants Category 3 – Infrastructure Grants program open is now open. The fund closes on Monday November 22.

You can find out more and apply here.

Football Australia confirm wellbeing support

Football Australia

As part of an expanded partnership by Football Australia, Sport Integrity Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), anyone who has been involved in Football Australia’s national programs will have the opportunity to access free counselling via the AIS Mental Health Referral Network from November 1, 2021 to April 1, 2022.

The move, which offers free access to expert mental health and wellbeing support, includes:

  • Current and former members of the men’s and women’s national teams
  • Current and former members of the A-League Men
  • Current and former members of the A-League Women
  • Current and former members of the A-League Youth
  • All impacted Football Australia staff
  • Impacted family members of the athlete or staff groups above

Importantly, the support extends to all parties involved in the complaint process, including those who submit complaints or reports, and the respondents to those complaints.

Sport Integrity Australia CEO David Sharpe sees the value of the partnership as something that cannot be underestimated.

“We understand that speaking up, or being the subject of an investigation, can sometimes be extremely challenging. Ensuring people have access to professional support if they need it is essential and this partnership provides that through dedicated professionals who are experts in the field of elite sport,” he said.

AIS Director of People Development and Wellbeing Matti Clements was pleased to be able to expand support during the Football Australia process.

“We genuinely want everyone in Australian high-performance sport to be supported and feel like they can reach out for help if, and when, they need it. This year alone the AIS Mental Health Referral Network has received more than 350 referrals. So, don’t ever feel like you’re alone or there isn’t someone you can speak to,” she said.

“Your first point of call when you connect with the Mental Health Referral Network will be with a qualified psychologist who will discuss your concerns and circumstances, then offer to connect you to the most suitable clinician in our network. There’s no obligations, just support.”

Football Australia James Johnson CEO saw the expansion of the partnership as underlining the game’s commitment to providing a safe and supportive environment for players and officials.

“The issues we’re talking about are inherently complex and deeply personal, so it’s important that people are provided the appropriate care and support so they are, and feel, equipped to participate in the process in a way that caters for their specific needs and circumstances,” he said.

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