Football Queensland unveil stadium at sport’s spiritual home

Football Queensland have officially released their vision for a dedicated stadium in Brisbane to be built at the sport’s spiritual home in Bowen Hills, according to Brisbane Times’ Cameron Atfield.

According to FQ’s plans, Perry Park would get its long awaited upgrade becoming a top rectangular stadium with the developments helping increase the capacity between 15,000 and 20,000.

Funding has not yet been secured and the estimated cost of the project will be “up to $200 million.”

The stadium plans to host teams from all levels such as the Brisbane Roar’s men’s and women’s teams, as well as community clubs in preparation for Queensland’s inevitable involvement in the National Second Tier. FQ suggested it can be multi-use so lower-drawing professional teams like cricket’s Brisbane Strikers and rugby’s Queensland Reds can use the facility.

On ‘The Subs Bench’ podcast months ago, Cavallucci spoke in length about the importance of using the historic Perry Park as their next big infrastructure project to enhance the ‘Home of Brisbane football.’

He stated that this upgrade was necessary for the sport to advance in the state and shed light on how it would affect all tiers of the football pyramid.

Cavallucci explained the importance of this stadium’s upgrade for the potential National Second Tier and expansion teams, with a second Brisbane professional team helping football boom in the state.

The plan to upgrade this stadium, whilst centred around football, also benefits the city and its other sports.

Perry Park’s location in the inner city makes it easy to commute to with the train station nearby as well as it being on major road infrastructure. It has all the suitable elements of a top stadium and intertwines with Brisbane’s sporting spine (Suncorp and Gabba).

Cavallucci also mentioned that a potential second Brisbane A-League team, in the event of an expansion past Auckland and Canberra, is only possible with the appropriate infrastructure and that this stadium upgrade will “mobilise a broader fanbase.”

In the wake of the Olympics in 2032, the government will be considering investing in upgrading their current facilities to accommodate the games, but more focus is on FQ’s rampant push to proactively prepare for the NST and a potential A-League expansion.

This news is really exciting for the state and will be vital for their involvement in the future of Australian football, with the city of Brisbane in particular dying for an elite football home.

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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