Football Australia elects new Chair at 20th AGM

Football Australia AGM 2023

Football Australia held its 20th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Wednesday, November 22, 2023 at Allianz Stadium in Sydney.

The AGM took place as the Football Australia 2023 Annual Review was released, which includes the Annual Financial Report for FY 2023 that was one of the meeting’s talking points.

At the AGM, three nominations were received to fill two Elected Director positions on the Board of Football Australia for terms expiring at the 2026 AGM:

  1. CICCARELLO, Salvatore (Sam) proposed by Football South Australia and seconded by Melbourne City FC;
  2. HILL, Alison proposed by Football Tasmania and seconded by Football Northern Territory; and
  3. PAPPAS, Spiro proposed by Football NSW and seconded by Football Victoria.

Football Australia’s Members voted to elect Mr. Sam Ciccarello and Mr. Spiro Pappas for terms of office, expiring at the 2026 AGM.

After the AGM, the Board convened to unanimously elect a new Chair, as Chris Nikou previously confirmed he would be stepping down. Anter Isaac was named to succeed him – a respected figure within the football community to lead the organisation. In addition, experienced technology and media executive Jaclyn Lee-Joe was also elected as Deputy Chair.

Nikou reflected on his five-year tenure as Chair, a role he had since November 2018 and was also a board member since 2014.

“As we conclude an extraordinary year for Australian football, my pride in our accomplishments in 2023 is immense,” he said in a statement.

“The Subway Socceroos and CommBank Matildas have delivered historic performances in their FIFA World Cups, sparking a nationwide celebration of our sport’s excellence. Our strong financial and commercial outcomes, alongside these successes, highlight the robustness and resilience of Australian football.

The unparalleled funding driven by the Legacy ’23 initiative, and our role in successfully co-hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup, are clear indicators of our dedication and capability. These are not mere achievements; they represent the flourishing potential and global recognition of Australian football.

“The continued expansion of our grassroots programs remains the cornerstone of our sport, crucial for sustained success. The triumphs of this year reflect the collective effort and commitment of the entire Australian football community. As I transition out of my role, I am filled with confidence that Australian football is on a trajectory to reach unprecedented levels, fuelled by our collective passion for the game and a steadfast commitment to excellence.

“Being the Chair of Football Australia has been both an honour and a tremendous responsibility. The progress we have made, and the resilience displayed by our football community during a period of dynamic change, fills me with immense pride.

“With the sport poised for continued growth, I am confident that under Anter’s leadership, Football Australia will scale new heights and continue to make significant strides in the world of football.”

Anter Isaac also spoke about becoming Chair as he thanked Nikou for his services.

“Firstly, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the outgoing Chair, Chris Nikou, for his exceptional leadership and dedication to Australian football,” Isaac said.

“His contribution has been invaluable. I am also profoundly grateful to my fellow Board Members for their confidence in me and I look forward to working with them. Stepping into the position of Chair of Football Australia is both an honour and a responsibility that I embrace with enthusiasm and commitment.

“Building on the strong foundation laid by Chris and previous Boards, our focus will be on nurturing our nation’s passion for football, advancing our strategic objectives, and ensuring the sustained growth and success of football at all levels in Australia.”

The Football Australia Board now comprises of the following members:

  • Anter ISAAC – Chair
  • Jaclyn LEE-JOE – Deputy Chair
  • Mark BRESCIANO
  • Joseph CARROZZI
  • Sam CICCARELLO
  • Amy DUGGAN
  • Heather GARRIOCK
  • Catriona NOBLE
  • Spiro PAPPAS
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Liam Watson is the Co-Founder & Publisher of Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

FIFPRO Asia/Oceania report of AFC Champions League assesses the cost of competition for players and clubs

FIFPRO Asia/Oceania has published a report on key financial findings from the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) flagship club competition, the AFC Champions League (ACL).

The report, AFC Champions League Analysis Report: Counting the cost for players and clubs, was produced alongside sporting intelligence agency Twenty First Group (TFG).

This analysis is in response to the announcement of AFC Champions League Elite (ACLE) commencing in July this year, as revealed by the AFC in December 2022.

Based on TFG’s analysis, insights and feedback from participating players and clubs, the report addresses the feasibility of running ACLE with key factors including on-field quality and competitive balance, attendances and fan engagement, economics for clubs and players, travel and workload, competition design, and football development outcomes.

The research undertaken focusses on the value of introducing ACLE, based on the current operations of the ACL.

“This report analyses the merits and drawbacks of the current AFC Champions League based on various data and the results indicate that the merits do not outweigh the drawbacks for most players and clubs, making it an unsustainable system,” FIFPRO Asia/Oceania Chair Takuya Yamazaki outlines in the report.

“However, this does not mean that the future of football in Asia is bleak. On the contrary, we believe that this economically significant region can lead a discussion for truly sustainable competition formats.”

The report is the most comprehensive public analysis of the ACL and includes recommendations for what the AFC should be implementing.

“For players, the development of competitions is central to their employment conditions and future opportunities. As its primary workforce, the players are determined to play their role to shape a sustainable and innovation-driven future for the football sector in Asia,” Yamazaki added.

World Leagues Forum is involved in representing professional football leagues on a global level. General Secretary Jerome Perlemuter explained that collaboration between all stakeholders in the Asian region would help shape and deliver sustainable competitions.

“FIFPRO’s contribution to shaping the future of Asian continental competitions is most welcome,” Perlemuter said.

“Sustainable football development requires confederations, leagues and players to work together with a common objective to shape high potential continental competitions in a consistent global calendar. In this context, it is important to consider economic, geographical and cultural specificities. We look forward to continuing these discussions with FIFPRO and all stakeholders.”

To see the report in full, you can do so here.

Wellington Phoenix team up with Chinese outfit Tianjin Tiger

Wellington Phoenix have partnered with Chinese Super League team Tianjin Tiger to boost football growth in both nations.

As part of the Wellington Phoenix Tianjin Tiger Sister City Friendship, the clubs have agreed to hold an annual encounter between their men’s first teams.

The inaugural Wellington Phoenix F.C. vs. Tianjin Tiger F.C. Sister City Shield match is set to take place in Tianjin this September, with the second in Wellington next year.

The strategic collaboration was formed after Phoenix general manager David Dome visited Tianjin in September as part of a business delegation headed by Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau.

The club hosted a delegation from Tianjin, and the two sides signed the Memorandum of Understanding at the Mayor’s office.

Phoenix general manager David Dome was thrilled with the partnership going through.

“The mayoral delegation to China last year was invaluable and I’m thrilled about this partnership with Tianjin Jinmen Tiger, which will be of benefit to the club on multiple levels,” he said via press release.

“Not only will the men get to play a Chinese Super League side as part of their A-League pre-season each year, but the academy will soon benefit from an influx of footballers from Tianjin.

“We’re looking to grow our academy to have an international component and Tianjin Jinmen have committed to sending some young players to Wellington to attend training camps in July and we’re discussing the possibility of their juniors being part of a new international academy annual programme.

“International students are essential for the secondary and tertiary education sector in Wellington and we are evaluating how an elite international academy focused on football can be part of New Zealand’s international education offering.”

Wellington mayor Tory Whanau added that the city is excited about the opportunity. 

“I’d like to congratulate David Dome and the wider team for the work they’ve done on this MoU,” he stated via press release.

“I’m beyond stoked that the delegation last September has resulted in this MoU between the Wellington Phoenix and Tianjin Jinmen Tiger. 

“The development opportunities for both the clubs will be invaluable to not only football but also our cities.”

The Phoenix are enjoying a successful A-league campaign where they currently sit top of the table 18 games into the season.

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