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Football NSW cancels all competitions for 2021

In response to ongoing lockdowns and restrictions, Football NSW has announced that all competitions within their state will be cancelled for the rest of 2021.

The state federation released a statement today detailing the competition structure going forward based on this decision, which was made on public health advice from the government, amid continuing lockdowns.

Promotion and relegation between leagues will be deferred until the end of the 2022/23 season, with a statement by Football NSW saying that with only 17 of the 22 regular season men’s NPL games completed it would be impossible to fairly promote and relegate clubs.

“Clearly, the Premiership season has not been completed and as such, the sporting integrity associated with our various principles surrounding promotion/relegation have been severely compromised,” Football NSW said.

“The promotion and relegation structure as set out in Section 2, Article 12 of the 2021 Competition Regulations is to be deferred to apply for promotion and relegation from the 2022 to 2023 season rather than from the 2021 to 2022 season.”

No Premiers or Champions titles, trophies, medals, or prize money for the 2021 season will be awarded to clubs.

For women’s and girl’s competitions, only 12 of the 22 games were completed. The structure for the 2022 season will be as follows:

“For the 2022 season, the women’s competition will comprise two competitions (NPLW 1 and NPLW 2) with no more than 12 clubs participating in NPLW 1 and no more than 16 clubs participating in NPLW 2,” Football NSW said.

“The clubs competing in the 2022 NPLW 1 Competition will be each of the 12 clubs that participated in the NPLW1 competition for the 2021 season.”

“At the conclusion of the 2022 season, the top two clubs from the NPLW 2 competition (based on Club Championship standings at the end of the 2022 season) will be eligible for promotion to the NPLW 1 Competition for the 2023 season, subject to any applicable competition regulations as well as any other criteria deemed appropriate by the Board.”

A 2022 NPL NSW girl’s and women’s Operational Structure Document to reflect the above will be communicated shortly.

For junior teams, Football NSW will allocate their positions in next season’s ‘three-tiered’ structure based on their performance in the already completed “Phase one” of competition.

“Football NSW confirms that it will still proceed with moving to the three-tiered structure for 2022 and with expanding the number rounds 30,” they said.

“While Phase Two of the 2021 season could not be completed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant cancellation of the season, Phase One was successfully completed and the Board, therefore, resolved to allocate clubs across the three tiers of the Competition based on their standings at the conclusion of Phase One.

“Football NSW recognises some clubs may feel disappointed and aggrieved that they did not have the opportunity to complete the season and improve their standings ahead of the 2022 season. However, Football NSW believes that allocating clubs based on standings at the conclusion of Phase One is the fairer option rather than allocating clubs based on standings at the time that football was suspended (i.e. as at 26 June 2021).”

Skill Acquisition Programs will continue with the same principles and no changes to age grades once they are restarted in 2022.

FIFA and Mexican Football Federation’s Supercopa Femenil to encourage growth in women’s football

FIFA

With the financial support of FIFA, the Mexican Football Federation has launched the FIFA | FMF Supercopa Femenil (Women’s Super Cup) as part of its women’s football development programme.

The five-day U-15 tournament (between 3-7 August) organised in Toluca, provided 206 players across 12 teams from Nuevo León, Tlaxcala, Chiapas, Mexico City, Sinaloa, Jalisco, Veracruz, Guanajuato, Estado de México, Baja California, Chihuahua, as well as a representative team from the United States, with an opportunity to have their talents detected by scouts from both Liga MX, and the Mexican national teams.

FIFA will provide technical support, equipment and funding for two years, as well as education and empowerment through seminars for coaches.

The FIFA’s Women’s Development Programme aims to provide all 211 member associations with the opportunity to apply for, and access additional resources and specialist expertise to develop women’s football at a national level.

Member associations can apply for support across eight key areas of women’s football development during the 2020-2023 period. In addition to financial assistance to cover the costs in selected programmes, the FIFA Women’s Development Programme will also provide access to women’s football experts, additional equipment and technical support within FIFA.

“The Supercopa Femenil was born from the dream of bringing Mexican youth players to a competitive showcase for women’s football in our country, attracting the best academies that are supporting the development of players in this category. This has resulted in a life-changing experience to be scouted by national team staff, and those of Liga MX Femenil teams,” Lucia Mijares, FMF Technical Sports Development Director, said in a statement.

Andrea Rodebaugh, FIFA Women’s Football Consultant, added via FIFA:

“Observing the Supercopa Femenil in Mexico has been inspirational. Its implementation is helping strengthen pathways by showcasing talent, motivating players and coaches as well as sharing knowledge and unique experiences so that growth continues where needed. There is so much talent, potential and support from everyone in the FMF. I am very optimistic for the future.”

Karl Dodd, FIFA Women’s Football Expert, stated via FIFA:

“The Supercopa has been well organised and provides a great opportunity for players to gain experience playing against top teams in their age group. It also enables scouts to watch these players, and for coaches to undertake development workshops to further improve the positive impact they have on players, supporting their personal and professional development.”

EA Sports to be the title sponsor for all LaLiga competitions

EA Sports & LaLiga

Beginning from the 2023-24 season onwards, a new multi-year agreement between EA Sports and LaLiga will pave the way for new experiences, deeper in-game integrations, enhanced broadcast communications, and commitment to grassroots initiatives.

The one-of-a-kind, multi-year partnership will allow both parties to deliver groundbreaking experiences for global football fans, with EA SPORTS FC securing title naming rights for all LaLiga competitions.

In addition, the deal will see a complete rebrand of LaLiga with EA Sports including all logos, graphics, fonts and other visual elements, while also delivering new in-game integration, broadcast highlights, and joint commitments to supporting grassroots initiatives.

This new partnership will encompass the first and second divisions of LaLiga (Spain’s top professional football competitions), LaLiga Promises (the league’s annual youth tournament) and eLaLiga.

“EA Sports FC is committed to delivering the most authentic and immersive experiences in global football. Our innovative new partnership with LaLiga further elevates that ambition and solidifies both organizations’ position at the centre of football culture,” David Jackson, VP Brand, EA Sports FC, said in a statement.

“The visible reach and scale of this partnership is deeply exciting, as is the opportunity to deliver incredible experiences for fans through in-game innovation, interactive entertainment and grassroots initiatives.

“EA Sports represents the cutting edge of interactive football experiences while LaLiga is at the forefront of actual football competitions with unmatched in-person, broadcast and digital fan experiences,” said Javier Tebas, President, LaLiga. “We have been strategic partners with EA Sports for years and this expanded agreement is a commitment to providing the next level of innovation to all football fans, a fusion between the virtual and real worlds of football.”

With this partnership, EA Sports and LaLiga will deepen their collaboration. Both LaLiga and EA Sports are committed to grassroots initiatives to grow the game which will include increasing accessibility, upgrading facilities, and many more initiatives to truly immerse fans into the world of football.

“This partnership with EA Sports is set to truly transform the way football is enjoyed around the world,” LaLiga Executive Director Óscar Mayo said via EA Sports.

“Moreover the alliance demonstrates LaLiga is a global brand, evidence of the success of our league to connect with fans internationally.

“We’re thrilled to partner with a worldwide leader in football fandom to better connect our fans to their favourite clubs, players, and LaLiga competitions,” said Nick Wlodyka, SVP & GM, EA Sports FC. “The contributions from LaLiga to our EA Sports FC portfolio will be immense, not only from a visual aspect, but across technological and game development improvements, further blurring the lines between the real and virtual worlds of football.”

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