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Football Australia announces Domestic Transfer System White Paper

Football Australia have announced the release of their Domestic Transfer System Transformation White Paper.

Developed throughout the fourth quarter of last year, the White Paper will be discussed and consulted with key football stakeholders over the coming months.

Principle III of Football Australia’s XI Principles identified the need for stimulation and growth of the Australian football economy, with a new modern domestic transfer system earmarked as a proposed measure.

The White Paper identifies several key elements of a properly functioning transfer system for consideration and discussion in the context of transforming the domestic transfer system.

These include:

  1. Administration of Transfers
  2. Training Rewards and Young Players
  3. Loans
  4. Player Eligibility Rules
  5. Registration Windows
  6. Transfer Fees
  7. Special Provisions Relating to Contracts
  8. Agents
  9. Dispute Resolution and Player Status Resolution
  10. Private Academies; and
  11. Recent amendments by FIFA (Coaches and Women)

Football Australia will conduct a planned engagement process with clubs, players and other members of the football community early this year.

Football Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson, said of the developments: “2020 was a difficult year.  Despite this, Football Australia took the opportunity to return to its football core and saw the organisation take transformative steps which culminated in the establishment of a bold and innovative vision for the game in the form of the XI Principles.

“To highlight a significant year for the game in 2020, we also successfully secured hosting rights for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, underwent an internal reshaping to ensure we are ready to implement our strategic agenda, renamed the organisation, revamped the FFA Cup and recently announced the unbundling of the Professional Leagues,” Johnson added. 

“The publication of the White Paper, following the Transfer System webinars late last year, is another significant step as we look to bring to life the XI Principles and we are excited to lead with this strategic initiative in 2021.

Johnson outlined the importance of the creation of a modern domestic transfer system, explaining it is a vital link in the Australian football landscape. He believes Football Australia’s role in regulating both the Professional Leagues and growing the game more broadly, will create many more benefits in the football ecosystem. 

“The absence of a domestic transfer system has meant that Australian football has been unable to fully integrate into world football by embedding itself in the global football market which has led to lost economic and sporting opportunities for our game over many years,” Johnson said.

“In 2019, FIFA reported that Australia received just US$1.9 million in transfer receipts from a market currently valued at US$7.35 billion for men alone. This low figure received by Australian clubs is in stark contrast to many nations of a similar or lower international ranking than our National Teams, and to many countries with significantly smaller populations than Australia. It also highlights that Australian clubs, from the professional right down to the grassroots, are missing out on vital funds that could be used to underpin and enhance the sport.

“The establishment of a modern Domestic Transfer System in 2021 by Football Australia will seek to remedy the ‘gap’ that has been created in the Australian football ecosystem by providing opportunities to progressive clubs at all levels of the sport to generate new revenue streams which can be deployed into the ongoing training and development of players, and the clubs themselves.

“We believe that the implementation of a fit-for-purpose system will have transformational benefits for football in Australia and particularly our professional and grassroots clubs by reconnecting the game and stimulating growth,” Johnson concluded.

The Domestic Transfer System Transformation White Paper can be viewed 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.

Ivan Franjic: “I’m thankful and grateful that I was able to live my dream”

Socceroos Ivan Franjic

Ivan Franjic’s arrival at historic National Premier Leagues Victoria side Heidelberg United has come via an unconventional journey to say the least.

From his early beginnings in the then-named Victorian Premier League with the likes of St Albans Saints and Melbourne Knights, to playing for Russian side FC Torpedo Moscow, to playing in the third-largest urban agglomeration in Korea with Daegu FC, Franjic’s career has certainly been one to savour.

Whilst his career has seen injury setbacks, a blocked loan and unpaid wages with Torpedo Moscow – and the discovery of a potentially career-threatening rare inflammatory condition known as myocarditis in 2016 – Franjic is grateful to be where he is today and to have had the footballing experiences he’s had.

“I’ve been very fortunate with the success I’ve had over my travels, and I’ve experienced some different countries,” he said.

“It’s been a great journey and I’m thankful and grateful that I was able to live my dream and play for the Socceroos at a World Cup. Some Championships as well, so, can’t complain at all.”

Torpedo Moscow

And as for why Franjic opted to return to the NPL Victoria to take up an opportunity with Heidelberg United, a family connection and the quality of the league spoke for itself.

“My brother has played in the NPL for a fair bit and I’ve watched a few of his games. If you look at the FFA Cup you’ve always got a Victorian team in the semi-finals, so it must be saying something about how good the standard of the league is,” he said.

“I know the coach George Katsakis and he called me and my brother and said he was interested in signing us. And obviously Heidelberg have had success over the last few years where they’ve won a lot of trophies, so, they’re wanting to build a great team to have another successful year once again.

“Whenever you go to Heidelberg you see that they have a decent following and that everyone gets behind them, so it’ll be good. I’m looking forward to playing in the NPL this year and to finally be playing with my brother after all these years.”

Heidelberg United

Next year’s Victorian NPL season will mark 13 years since Franjic departed his then-Victorian Premier League side Oakleigh Cannons to take up an injury-replacement contract offer with Ange Postecoglou’s Brisbane Roar.

It was under the now-Celtic FC coach where Franjic impressed the Roar faithful and built a platform to launch himself into a regular starting berth with the Socceroos at right-back.

As a three-time A-League Men’s Championship winner with Brisbane, three-time Premiership winner with the Roar (twice) and Perth Glory (once), as well as an Asian Cup winner, Franjic has certainly been a key cog in some of Australian football’s most historic sides.

“Obviously, winning the Asian Cup is a massive achievement, it’s similar to someone winning the Euros or the Copa America. But I think in Australia, with soccer not being the number one sport, it’s always hard to get the media buzz of AFL and NRL because they’ve got a huge following,” he said.

“But when you look back on it you don’t realise how high of an achievement it actually was against Asia’s best.

“I’d had Ange as a coach for a few years and he’s no doubt one of the best managers I’d ever worked under. The whole buzz of being in Brazil, with security all around the hotel and obviously Brazil is a football-mad nation, so, everywhere you went people were following you.

“It was exciting, and I thought Australia gave a good account of themselves without getting results in that tournament.”

Each of these remarkable honours were earnt between globetrotting stints with Torpedo Moscow, Melbourne City and Daegu. But before returning to the National Premier Leagues Victoria, Franjic made one final stopover with newly-joined A-League Men’s expansion side Macarthur FC. He gave credit to the side that he helped in their foundation.

“It was no doubt a challenge starting up a new club from fresh and giving it a go. Credit has to go out to all of the staff and the owners; they did an amazing job for a club in their first year in terms of facilities and the stadium. Compared to other clubs that have come into the A-League they were very good,” he said.

Macarthur FC

LaLiga initiative to support grassroots football worldwide

LaLiga

LaLiga has announced the launch of LaLiga Grassroots, in a bid to further advance and improve its bespoke sports and training projects, as well as promote LaLiga’s know-how and methodology.

This initiative is part of a series of international sports projects that LaLiga have been running since 2015 across multiple markets, and its most outstanding new feature is a series of programmes which are set to take place in Spain. The programmes will mainly be held at ESC Madrid, regarded as a state-of-the-art and world-beating sports complex.

Juan Florit, head of LaLiga Sports Projects, will be in charge of the technical and sports side of LaLiga Grassroots.

“LaLiga Grassroots was conceived as a new specialised unit conceived by the Sports Projects team and the International Business and Development team,” Florit said.

“Our activities will mainly focus on the holistic development of young players, international training programmes for professionals in the sector, and projects to promote and support LaLiga clubs when it comes to their academies and running international tournaments.”

This new project represents a further step in LaLiga’s creation and execution of sports projects, an area through which it has enjoyed great success over the last six seasons.

The project is set to find positions for nearly 750 Spanish coaches, as well as provide training for more than 20,000 coaches and 175,000 players in the more than 400 projects carried out across 38 countries.

Javier Hernandez, Head of Business and International Development for the project, was excited to see LaLiga Grassroots finally launched.

“The work we’ve carried out over the years in training players and coaches internationally has taken things to the next level, not only for those who have worked with LaLiga, but also for the league itself and its clubs,” he said.

“We’re convinced that now, with the creation of LaLiga Grassroots and the new programmes that we’ll be running at the ESC Madrid Center, we’ll be able to create better opportunities for everyone.”

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