fbpx

Football NSW announce funding for community ground lighting

On Wednesday this week, Football NSW released a statement declaring that they had received $300,000 that will go towards upgrading lighting fixtures for community clubs across the state.

This is a wonderful move by Football NSW, continuing to give to the community as they know they are their most important stakeholders. Their ‘Let’s Light Up Football’ campaign has now received over half a million dollars over the last year and a half.

The full press release can be found below:

Football NSW is delighted to announce the recipients of the second year of its highly successful ‘Let’s Light Up Football’ Campaign with 17 clubs/council’s being recently selected to receive funding.

Year Two of the Let’s Light Up Football Campaign has seen another $300,000 from the Community Investment Fund spread across NSW to provide much needed lighting upgrades for community football clubs across the state. The key objective of this Campaign is to incentivise a joint funding approach whereby matching contributions from a club and/or association is combined with local council support.

Together with projects supported in 2018, the Let’s Light Up Football campaign has now seen a total of $600,000 invested by football resulting in a further $5.8 million by clubs, associations and local councils. The key outcome is that over the first two years, 34 football fields in NSW will now be lit as a result of this campaign.

Football NSW CEO, Stuart Hodge commented, “Football NSW is thrilled to once again provide much needed funding to football clubs across NSW”.

“Improving field lighting is a fantastic opportunity for councils and clubs to increase the capacity of fields in a time when green space is scarce – none more so than in many of our associations in metropolitan Sydney”.

The recent NSW State-wide Facilities Audit revealed that lighting is a major concern across the state with 32% of fields not having lighting. For a sport predominantly played in the winter months lighting is a crucial element of any football facility allowing more hours for training and playing”.

“Lighting is a simple and effective way to improve a large number of community facilities for football”.

“The Fund was oversubscribed which again clearly demonstrates the need to light football fields across the state. Clubs are bursting at the seams and in some cases, there are multiple senior teams training on one full sized football field simply because there are not enough fields with lighting in their local area” further added Mr Hodge.

Fourteen grounds from metropolitan Sydney will be the beneficiaries of upgraded lighting with the remaining three projects, from as far south as Eurobodalla to as far west as Narromine, being from Regional NSW.

Successful applicants from the second year of the Let’s Light Up Football fund are as follows (alphabetical order):

The Community Investment Fund is a joint initiative of both Football NSW and Football Federation Australia (FFA) and is made possible by the FFA’s annual grant to Football NSW.

Caelum Ferrarese is a Senior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on micro policy within Australasia and industry disruptions at grassroots level.

AFC U23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022 sets engagement milestone

AFC U23

The AFC U23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022 reached new milestones in engaging football fans, with the AFC’s social media channels witnessing staggering impressions of nearly 340 million – an increase of 193.8% from the fourth edition in Thailand two years ago.

As underlined in the AFC’s Vision and Mission, effective utilisation of social media to further excite football fans in the continent and beyond is seen as critical to growing the Asian game.

Asia’s top 16 teams competed for 19 days across 32 matches in the cities of Tashkent and Qarshi, with Saudi Arabia eventually becoming the fifth team in as many editions to clinch the coveted crown after the West Asians defeated hosts Uzbekistan 2-0 in a captivating decider.

The biggest increase was observed through the highly entertaining video content which received 46.9 million views on the AFC’s digital platforms, an astonishing rise of 1,066% from the 2020 edition, while the newly launched AFC TikTok account also garnered 9.3 million views with close to a million engagements.

The AFC’s Twitter account generated the highest improvement in impressions with a 217% increase from 2020 to 33 million in Uzbekistan, followed by Instagram, which received 115.65 million impressions or an increase of 119% while the AFC’s Facebook impressions rose by 80% to nearly 110 million.

At the same time, engagement on the AFC’s social media channels grew by 141.2% from 7.3 million in 2020 to a commendable 17.68 million in 2022 thanks to the multi-lingual approach through the AFC’s language-based platforms in English, Arabic, Farsi, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Thai and Vietnamese.

The AFC’s Facebook account saw the highest uptake with nearly 10 million engagements, 315% higher than the last edition, with the Confederation’s Twitter account increasing by 84% to 1.6 million engagements while Instagram rose 61% to 6 million engagements.

On the pitch, the Continent’s attacking prowess was also palpable with a total of 81 goals scored across the 32 matches, averaging approximately 2.53 goal per match, as the young Green Falcons became the first side in the tournament’s history to maintain an unblemished defensive record across all six matches in their impressive march to the title.

The tournament also saw spectator attendance records rewritten on several occasions, with 28,670 fans gathering at the Pakhtakor Stadium when hosts Uzbekistan opened their campaign against Turkmenistan before a notable 32,268 supporters attended the thrilling final between the host nation and Saudi Arabia.

What does record Asian qualification for Qatar 2022 mean for the region?

Socceroos

For the first time in World Cup history, a tournament will play host to a record six teams from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). The achievement follows on from Russia 2018, where the previous record was set by the five Asian teams (Iran, South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Australia) who qualified for that year’s tournament.

On a surface level it appears that the qualification of six teams to Qatar 2022 wholly reflects the region’s growing stature within world football. However when viewed in the context that Qatar is obviously assured a spot as hosts and that Australia’s result on penalties against Peru glosses over what was undoubtedly a campaign dominated by pragmatic thinking over possible effective utilisation, one must ponder the impact Asian teams as a whole will have on the tournament, particularly when looking at past editions.

According to Soccerment, an analytics platform focusing on accelerating the adoption of data analytics by a wider audience of football fans, Asian teams struggled most with shot accuracy (15% against a 29% tournament average) in Russia four years ago. In addition, it appeared Asian teams valued long balls the most of any continent in the tournament as well as hitting a collective average top speed of 27.7 – the lowest at the tournament that year.

Japan v Belgium

Of course, one has to comparatively look at the squad composition, subsequent utilisation and ultimate effectiveness of these five sides versus the teams in their respective groups. Furthermore, the flaws and generational situation of their opponents and the consequential effect has to be taken into account (exemplified best by South Korea toppling a regressing Germany). It is fair to even potentially play down Japan’s progression to the Round of 16 due to accruing fewer yellow cards than Senegal, but as a whole, teams from Asia fared far better in 2018 than in 2014 where they accumulated a total three points out of a possible 36 between four teams in the group stage (Japan, South Korea, Iran and Australia). By contrast in 2018 Asian teams secured 15 from of a potential 45 points, an 18% increase in points amassed.

Furthermore, viewing the Russia 2018 results through the context of where these teams are at ahead of Qatar 2022 is arguably ignoring the impact of the changes that have been made since. Of the six teams to have qualified only one side have retained the same coach across qualification campaigns, this being the tournament hosts Qatar, who have kept Félix Sánchez ever since his taking over of the side when they were last in their qualifying group for Russia 2018 and gone on to win the 2019 Asian Cup on home soil.

The current ‘big six’ of Asia have qualified for the tournament, and perhaps it is just reward for Asian football’s increased investment into the sport over the past few decades. In saying that, a set of countries’ ambitious development efforts does not necessarily reflect a whole region’s shared emphasis. For some nations, the development, alignment and tailoring of resources serves as a challenge they’re unwilling to take – irrespective of the passionate and parochial fan base of some club teams. When one looks at Indonesian side Persib Bandung’s nearly 20 million total followers across social media platforms and impressive crowd numbers matching the likes of mammoth Iranian sides like Tractor S.C, it feels like more could be done to improve the country’s international standing.

AFC

In terms of top-tier active support for domestic Asian leagues, the infrastructural foundations need to be laid outside of the likes of South Korea and especially Japan, where for example J-League sides select youth players from age 11, a factor which has hugely contributed to their consistent youth production line.

Often the determinative factor of a region’s influence on football is the number of names plying their trade in top-level overseas – mainly European leagues. And by this measurement, Asian football is at an all-time high with representatives from across the continent making a name for themselves at the top level of the game. When considering that 92% of the teams that reached the quarter-finals in the last three editions of the FIFA World Cup were from Europe and South America, it will be interesting to see if an Asian team pushes beyond the Round of 16 with the greater base of players based in Europe especially.

From the 2026 World Cup onwards, an increase from four to eight direct slots alongside an extra spot via the intercontinental playoffs affords Asian teams a greater chance to shine on the world stage. It is more likely than that the jointly hosted 2026 edition will provide greater evidence of Asia’s elevated levels of competitiveness when facing far better developed footballing nations.

The reality is we simply do not know how the Asian confederation’s representatives will fare until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar plays out. But nonetheless, the strides being taken by sections of the AFC region to improve their infrastructure and to foster a distinct identity will have massive long-term benefits in a manner quite possibly akin to Japan in terms of youth development. Time, as always, will tell.

© 2022 Soccerscene Industry News. All Rights reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

Most Popular Topics

Editor Picks