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Curbing facilities shortage by the power of virtual reality

It may still seem like a speculative idea that doesn’t appeal to everyone, but virtual reality (VR) could be a revolutionary way of seeing and feeling soccer and any other sport.

The potential is enormous for the use of VR – using this technology would mean watching a match for instance can become a much more immersive experience.

When fully maximised, sporting clubs can take advantage of VR technology and offer fans new experiences they have never seen before. Here are some of the positive uses of VR which revolve around simulation.

Seeing a game from a player’s point of view: If there’s a top performer in a league and their performance needs analysing, vision could be from their own point of view. Similar to GPS technology, it offers a visual demonstration and greater depth into a player’s work rate and positioning – perfect for young players coming through in need of some guidance.

Access to a sold-out game: There’s nothing worse than trying desperately to get tickets to a big occasion, only to miss out on a spot by a matter of seconds. It’s an amazing feeling going to a packed-out stadium for a final or derby clash overseas, but unfortunately not everyone can attend and instead watch from a TV. However, for the thousands that still want an equal experience of actually being there, VR can offer just that by creating the atmosphere and a 360 degree view of a ground.

Training for different scenarios: Match practice is important for testing out game plans, but requires all players to be fit at once to see how they all gel. VR could help assess what works and what doesn’t, with players potentially seeing themselves and their temmates in action from different angles. It extends further to medical staff as well, who in their training can see different situations in which they are called upon. VR can replicate different settings so that medicos are fully prepared.

The main purpose of VR is to give players, coaches, staff and fans a new perspective that they wouldn’t have seen before. It makes it easier for a sporting team to learn and ensures fans have a fair go with a similar experience to someone at a big game.

Liam Watson is a Senior Journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on international football policy, industry matters and industry 4.0

AFF Suzuki Cup postponed due to COVID-19

The ASEAN Football Federation has announced the postponement of the AFF Suzuki Cup due to COVID-19.

The tournament was set to take place between November 31 and December 31 this year but will now be moved to 2021 instead.

The AFF Suzuki Cup is held every two years and is played between the south east Asian countries.

The cup was scheduled to be contested by Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam. The latter are the defending champions, while Thailand are five-time winners of the tournament.

The last edition of the cup did not have a host nation, with teams alternating between playing home matches in their own country and away games in other nations.

“Since the onset of COVID-19, the AFF has been closely monitoring guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO), Health Ministries, government agencies, FIFA and AFC,” Major General Khiev Sameth said, the AFF President.

“As you are aware, this pandemic continues to pose enormous health, societal and economic challenges to us all. AFF’s top priority continues to be the health and safety of our football family and mitigating the impact of this pandemic. With the risk of the spread of COVID-19 remaining high, the AFF finds itself in a situation where we cannot proceed safely with the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020.

“While these are unprecedented times for the whole world including our football family and communities, we are confident that we will get through it together with the support of all our stakeholders including our fans, Member Associations, players, coaches, official, media and partners and we would like to thank them for standing united with us in the fight against COVID-19.”

The AFF said that it will be monitoring the situation and will release information on the 2021 running of the event as soon as possible.

“Sportfive supports the decision by the AFF to postpone the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 to ensure the safety and well-being of all players, partners, staff and fans. While we are disappointed that we are unable to hold the tournament this year, we will work closely with the AFF to monitor the situation and look forward to working with our partners to deliver a great tournament for the fans of ASEAN next year.” Adrian Staiti said – President of Suzuki Cup partner Sportfive.

Australia is an ASEAN country, however it is not a member nation of the AFF.

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’.

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