fbpx

FFA’s appointment of James Johnson is promising but where in the world does he start?

The Australian football community cheered as a collective with Friday’s official FFA announcement that James Johnson would take the reigns as Chief Executive Officer.

The primary reason for such a reaction is two fold. Many will see the departure of former CEO David Gallop as potentially the best thing to happen to the game on our shores for some time. Seen as a risk adverse, conservative and football novice by many, Gallop failed to build trust in relationships nor any belief in his approach throughout his reign.

The site of the CEO of Australian football enjoying champagne celebrations after successful Socceroo qualifications and wonderful Matilda victories only made critics and cynics irate. Most saw football as his second or third language at best, with his rather ponderous time involved in the game of rugby league also cited as another reason behind his mostly ineffectual time at the FFA.

The second reason for the broadly positive acceptance of the appointment of Johnson is quite clearly that the initial perception and hope around his ascension to the top job will bring exactly the opposite of what we currently have.

Those invested as stakeholders in the game, all the way from the local parks to the boardrooms of some of the most powerful clubs in the land, hope that Johnson’s football DNA is strong enough to bring about the structural and cultural changes that the game needs to undertake in order to grow and prosper.

Nothing brings ‘football cred’ like playing the game and Johnson’s career with the Brisbane Strikers and the fact that he also loomed on the radar of national selectors in restricted age play during the late 1990’s, gives him just that. Now a lawyer, and after a burgeoning career in sports administration and governance, where he worked with the PFA, AFC and FIFA, Johnson returns home to Australia and will attempt to clean up what many believe is a football mess

Johnson has spent his recent past as Senior Vice-President External Affairs at the City Football Group, no doubt an asset considering the group’s now global footprint in the game. His awareness of the eight different leagues into which City Football Group have become involved with will no doubt ensure Johnson sees the Australian game through the global lens required and not an A-League restricted bubble.

With a reputation for intelligence, collegiality and creating effective channels of dialogue between stakeholders, Johnson will take the reigns in January with myriad issues demanding his immediate attention. Unifying the game will be his most urgent matter of business, yet there are a number of more short term steps that will, if taken, convince people even further that he is the man to lead the game into it’s next phase.

Accelerating the creation of a national second division that brings Australian clubs under the one umbrella is vital and something that fans have seen stalled countless times by those previously charged with its implementation.

Related Article: Phil Moss: Australian football coaches deserve better

Ensuring fans of the Australian game are permitted to support actively and avoiding the ludicrous sight of domestic supporters being escorted from stadiums for merely standing, is also key. Opening lines of communication between the FFA, stadium authorities and security companies could perhaps create some common ground and understanding.

The cost of junior football also looms on the horizon for Johnson, with an urgent need for a restructure of the expenses involved for parents of junior players. Ticket prices, stadium development and the correct expansion of the women’s game will also occupy much of his thinking in the near future.

As daunting as many of those issues sound and as difficult as the way forward may be, Australian football fans are speaking hopefully and positively about their new CEO. If he is able to use his experience and skills to implement real change and briskly, it will confirm to many that the previous CEO was doing little more than letting the game down and holding it back.

If not, Johnson will also begin to feel the pressures and weight of expectation, so clearly evident amongst passionate football fans.

Stuart Thomas is a trusted Journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on macro policy within Australasia and industry disruptions.

City of Greater Geelong Council injects $350,000 into Corio Soccer Club facilities

The City of Greater Geelong Council have announced an initial funding grant of $350,000 into improving Corio Soccer Club’s facilities.

As a part of the Hume Reserve Master Plan, gender neutral change rooms will be developed on the site, as well as an upgrade to the team’s clubrooms.

Hume Reserve is considered one of Geelong’s largest soccer facilities. The reserve is home to three soccer pitches, two of them with lighting.

City of Greater Geelong councillor Eddy Kontelj was excited to commence the works, which have been in the pipeline for the past few years.

“Located in the heartland of soccer in Geelong’s northern suburbs, the Corio Soccer Club is steeped in soccer history and epitomises multiculturalism. This club and its community, that has contributed so much to Geelong, is about to get some back,” councillor Kontelj said.

“As a Geelong councillor, it has been extremely exciting to be working closely with club president – Mario Gregorio, the committee and also the Bell Park community over the past 3 years, to finally bring this extremely progressive and inclusive club room, gender-neutral change room development, plus the Hume Reserve Master Plan to commencement stage.

“The City of Greater Geelong Council’s $350,000 injection is a tremendous boost to kick start this ~$1 million project.

“Hume Reserve is set to be a first-class soccer facility as well as a really inclusive area for the broader community to use. Born and bred in the area, I could not be more pleased and proud of this development,” he concluded.

The implementation of the Hume Reserve Master Plan hopes to reinforce “its role as an important local level soccer facility and valued community open space,” according to the City of Greater Geelong website.

The City of Greater Geelong’s extended plan for the reserve can be viewed here.

DAZN to exit deals as Twitch launches sports category

DAZN is set to exit multiple soccer broadcasting deals, while Twitch has launched a sports category and partnered with several elite soccer clubs.

UK sports streaming service DAZN is set to exit multiple soccer broadcasting deals, while Twitch has launched a sports category and partnered with several elite soccer clubs.

SportsPro has reported that DAZN will end its contract to broadcast the UEFA Champions league in Asia.

DAZN owns the rights from 2018 to 2021 for the Champions League and Europa League for Japan, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.

Bloomberg reported that COVID-19 and the major changes to the schedule caused by the pandemic are the main reasons for DAZN seeking to back out of the agreement.

DAZN only ever launched a platform in Japan. The company ended up sublicensing the rights to other providers for the other nations. Both Bloomberg and SportsPro suggested that DAZN has made a loss on this broadcasting deal.

DAZN has also exited its deal to broadcast Serie A in Brazil, SportBusiness has reported that the streaming service has cancelled the arrangement despite there being another year left on the agreement.

The English Premier League, Ligue 1 and Major League Soccer are also broadcasted by DAZN in Brazil.

Meanwhile Twitch, a live video streaming service known for Esports and gaming, has signed strategic partnerships with Real Madrid, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, and Arsenal.

Each club will have their own channel and create content for the platform such as streaming press conferences, friendlies, or youth matches.

Twitch also created a new sports category, meaning users will be able to find all of the sports streams in one section on Twitch.

These elite European football clubs are not the only sports teams or organisations to have deals with Twitch. Some English Premier League games were streamed on the platform last month, while the Ultimate Fighting Championship, National Hockey League and National Basketball Association were also broadcast on Twitch.

Twitch also has deals with England’s Rugby Football League and America’s National Women’s Soccer League.

These sporting organisations provide a range of content for the platform – whether it be live games or reruns of famous matches such as the NBA’s ‘Top Ten Games of the Season’.

Football players across Australia to #PlayinPurple for pancreatic cancer

Football players in Australia will be pulling on their purple socks next month to help raise awareness for pancreatic cancer.

The #PlayinPurple campaign was started by Isabella Di Manno in 2015, after the death of her fiancée’s mother due to the illness.

Pancreatic cancer is projected to claim more lives than breast and prostate cancer with around 80 percent of diagnosed patients to die within a year.

In 2019, over 3500 players around the nation wore purple socks to raise awareness for the disease, with the campaign raising funds for research, improving diagnosis and treatment.

“The campaign continues to grow from strength to strength each year, drawing much needed attention to pancreatic cancer,” Di Manno said.

“It’s wonderful to see the participation grow across clubs, codes and regions and reading the testimonials and talking to players, it’s clear the campaign unities communities through active participation and acts as a positive talking point between people who might not necessarily know the outcomes of pancreatic cancer.”

Avner Foundation CEO Michelle Stewart added: “We are excited to see playing fields Australia-wide turned purple for pancreatic cancer, and awareness on this scale is exactly what we need to help shine a light on this disease.

“This campaign is a wonderful opportunity to increase engagement between clubs, players and the community, all participating for a very important cause – pancreatic cancer awareness.”

The campaign has been supported by Football NSW since its inception, with CEO Stuart Hodge proud to promote the cause.

“Football NSW are proud to be supporting a wonderful community initiative, combining the wonderful code of football with truly ground-breaking campaigns such as the: #PlayinPurple – Football socks campaign for the Avner Panceatic Cancer Foundation.

“We kindly encourage our football family to do their bit in getting behind this amazing initiative.”

The Manly Warringah Football Association and Sutherland Shire Football Association have also thrown its support behind the initiative.

“The Manly Warringah Football Association is proud to support Purple Sock Day to help raise awareness for pancreatic cancer. Grassroots football plays an important role in our Community and we encourage as many teams and clubs as possible to get behind the #PlayinPurple campaign,” MWFA CEO David Mason said.

“Pancreatic cancer is on the rise and SSFA is proud to support this important awareness-raising initiative again in 2020. The spirit of sportsmanship is wonderful as local football fields become awash with purple socks, and I encourage associations across the state to participate,” claimed SSFA General Manager Jeff Stewart.

More information about the campaign can be found here.

© 2020 Soccerscene Industry News. All Rights reserved.

Most Popular Topics

Editor Picks