Football Australia’s broadcast agreement with KommunityTV to stream National Youth Championships

Football Australia confirmed that a broadcast arrangement with KommunityTV has been secured to stream every game of the 2024 National Youth Championships.

The tournament is set to take place in July with the Girls competition held at the Home of The Matildas in Bundoora, VIC from the 3-8 July and the Boys competition held at WIN Stadium, JJ Kelly Park and Ian McLennan Park in Wollongong, NSW from 16-21 July.

In addition to all matches being streamed live, News Corp will provide the 2024 National Youth Championships with editorial coverage across the tournament, telling the rich stories of those involved in both the Girls and Boys’ Tournaments.

The National Youth Championships are a vital annual event for Football Australia as it embeds the federations talent identification scheme and gives talented youngsters all across the country a chance to perform against each other across six days.

Many of today’s Matildas and Socceroos trace their beginnings to this tournament and it serves as an important stepping-stone for the youth players.

Football Australia CEO James Johnson spoke on the importance of the broadcast partner for the event

“We are pleased to have renewed our partnership with KommunityTV which will showcase our best emerging young players along with coaches and officials to audiences across Australia who may not be able to attend this year’s Championships,” he said in a statement.

“The National Youth Championships are the flagship youth event in the Australian football calendar, with teams from our nine state and territory member federations competing not only to claim the coveted national title, but to impress attending national team technical staff for future honours.

“This arrangement is an exciting addition to this year’s event, and we look forward to working with the team at KommunityTV to further elevate these prestigious Championships and take the girls and boys tournaments to screens across the nation.”

News Sport Network General Manager of Product and Partnerships, Sachin Kumar, explained including every match of the 2024 National Youth Championships would take the KommunityTV coverage to the next level.

“It is exciting to renew our partnership with Football Australia to showcase the best emerging junior talent from across the country,” Kumar added via media release.

“The National Youth Championships has a track record of producing players that go on to play at the highest levels of football, right around the world.

“With the CommBank Matildas preparing to play for gold in Paris and the Subway Socceroos progressing to the next phase of World Cup qualifying, the excitement around our national teams is palpable.

“We are excited to provide football fans a chance to see the next generation shine on a big stage.”

After recent success in major tournaments for both The Matildas and Socceroos, it is good to see the next generation of potential national team prospects get elite broadcast and news coverage as well as providing fans a chance to seamlessly view the crucial youth tournament.

Uncertainty looms around National Second Tier’s future

The highly anticipated National Second Tier (NST) in its proposed format is set to be postponed by Football Australia, with the body looking to find alternative ways to include these NPL clubs into a similar structure that would be more financially viable.

Vince Rugari of the Sydney Morning Herald broke the news on Tuesday claiming the highly ambitious second tier was likely going to be put on hold after the original plan was to have 10 to 14 foundation clubs forming a separate league, without promotion or relegation to start.

There was a very high financial threshold that the eight foundation clubs needed to reach in order to be granted a licence and unfortunately with rumours of some in the eight sceptical of its viability, other NPL clubs with a proposal in the original plan have backed away from the idea for the time being.

For what is meant to be a ‘national competition’, having clubs from NSW and Victoria only is quite restricted but the search for a financially strong club outside of the two states, willing to take that massive financial risk, is a task that is too difficult in the country’s current state of football affairs.

There has been a lack of a clear message from Football Australia across the past 12 months. The eight foundation clubs were left on standby about important information like the correct format, whether it was going to expand to 10 or 12 teams that Football Australia promised multiple times, or when the league would actually kick off in winter of 2025 or beyond that considering the shaky A-League finances being the main subject of discussion surrounding the initial success of the NSD.

After the A-Leagues controversial call to reduce initial funding of top tier clubs to $530k a year from its usual $2m a year, a properly run second division seems like a task too far down its priority list despite the positive feedback it has received from fans and clubs about implementing a ‘transformative’ system mirroring European football.

An idea being floated around as a possible solution to the unviability of a separate league is to add existing A-League teams to the ‘Champions League-style’ second division, which would essentially be a more exclusive version of the existing Australia Cup.

Football Australia CEO James Johnson told The Asian Game exclusively that “we will have a (national) second tier it will exist,” but the home and away format played during the winter is a long shot and the foundation clubs are left in limbo wondering what their immediate futures are considering the heavy financial investment they will have to make if it goes ahead.

This whole saga has been a case of Football Australia pushing away the problems that quickly arose from this ambitious idea and being too reactive when it comes to finding a solution that would be fair for the foundation clubs financially.

The NSD must wait and not force itself into a fragile Australian football landscape that has many more issues it must worry about in the top flight before building a second division that could financially damage some of the most historic clubs in Victoria and NSW.

In a world where Australian football needs authority and structure, the collapse of the original idea of the NSD proves there is a long way to go and communication towards the clubs and fans involved has to improve.

Newcastle Jets’ new owners add key pieces for upcoming season

Newcastle Jets’ new owners, Maverick Sports Partners, have hired Ken Schembri as General Manager of Football and Ben Hawes as General Manager of Commercial, Digital and Marketing for this upcoming season.

The appointment of Schembri and Hawes reaffirms Maverick Sports Partners’ intent to invest in high-quality resources, which should excite Newcastle fans for this upcoming season.

Schembri had previously worked with the reigning champions, the Central Coast Mariners, being an essential part of establishing the Central Coast Mariners Football Academy and their Centre of Excellence when he joined in 2014.

Schembri will manage the A-League Men’s roster, oversee player performance and development, and handle recruitment for all football departments.

The Mariner’s Academy has produced many young and exciting Australian talent including Garang Kuol and Max Balard who have all gone to join clubs in Europe after their time in Gosford. Schembri has most recently played a key role in Central Coast’s recent success as Head of Football.

Maverick Sports Partners Director Maurice Bisetto commented about the new additions.

“We are excited to have both Ken and Ben join the Newcastle Jets team. They will be integral to the strategy and direction of the Club’s New Era, providing expertise and support, on and off the pitch,” said Bisetto in a club statement.

These two joined the Jets after the club were bought by the Australian company only last month.

Hawes has prior experience in Sponsorship, Marketing and Content roles at the National Rugby League, Sportsbet, BlueBet and Sydney FC.

Hawes will focus on expanding and diversifying the clubs commercial revenue streams which includes growing the sponsorship portfolio. He will also deal with commercialising the club’s digital channels as well as implementing new marketing and fan engagement strategies.

Due to these recent moves, Newcastle have the potential to produce exciting Australian talent and grow its brand across the league which will help the club continue to improve both on and off the pitch and ultimately strengthen their stability for future seasons.

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