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Football Queensland’s new FQ Academy to go statewide in 2022

FQ

Football Queensland (FQ) have announced the launch of their brand-new FQ Academy, which is set to be unveiled across the state next year.

The purpose of the FQ Academy is to help provide a clearer development pathway from community football to Australia’s national teams and professional leagues for Queensland footballers aged seven to 17.

FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci outlined the player-focused FQ Academy will expand and unify FQ’s range of advanced development and pathway programs under a single banner.

“The FQ Academy consolidates the nine individual programs currently delivered by Football Queensland across eight centres around the state and binds them together behind a common purpose and shared vision for the game,” Cavallucci said.

“All of the junior players involved in FQ’s Regional TSP and SAP programs will now form part of the top tier of the FQ Academy.

“Players who need more development time will also have the opportunity to take part in the new ‘Development’ tier, which broadens opportunities for players and extends talent identification throughout Queensland.

“Both the Academy and Development tiers will include weekly training sessions, holiday clinics, small-sided tournaments, position specific training programs and opportunities to take part in various FQ State Carnivals.”

The FQ Academy will be bolstered by further investment in regional football with the appointments of new Club Development Ambassadors in Wide Bay and Whitsunday Coast.

“We are in the final stages of recruiting additional Club Development Ambassadors who will live and work in the Wide Bay and Whitsunday Coast regions to deliver coach education and drive player development in new FQ Academy centres, further demonstrating FQ’s commitment to regional player development,” Cavallucci said.

“In the Wide Bay, Central Coast, Whitsunday Coast, Northern, and Far North & Gulf regions, Football Queensland will continue to expand and deliver new programs in the FQ Academy.

“Following a 12-month review into SAP across SEQ, clubs within the existing SAP Leagues will transition to new FQ Academy Leagues and participation will be through selected club academies currently rated by FQ’s comprehensive Club Assessment process.

“We now have a more consistent and visible pathway for aspirational footballers which is quality-controlled and accredited by Football Australia and consistent with the advanced Junior NPL structure already in place in SEQ.

“This aligns all Queenslanders with the national development and Talent ID system, linking junior players with the Matildas and Socceroos.”

You can find out more on the FQ Academy here.

Football Victoria and School Sport Victoria unite to bring more football and Futsal to schools

fv ssv

Football Victoria (FV) have announced a significant partnership with School Sport Victoria (SSV) that will see opportunities to participate in football and futsal enhanced for school students across the state.

Pending COVID Safe guidelines, three tailor-made programs are set to kick-off in Term 4 which are designed for students of different ages and abilities to get involved in the world game.

FV CEO Kimon Taliadoros was excited to be teaming up with SSV to launch the initiatives, which will provide students a range of new and exciting pathways into football.

“Our partnership with School Sport Victoria continues to grow, with our united goal of providing more sporting opportunities for students, not only as players but as officials through our new Referees Academy program,” he said.

“With an objective of achieving 50/50 participation by 2027, the partnership with SSV enables us to provide equal access for boys and girls to kick-start a lifelong love of football for many who have not yet played our beautiful game.

“We look forward to guiding more young Victorians on their football journey.”

With the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand on the horizon, there has never been a better time for young women and girls to try football.

FV and SSV will partner to host Gala Days for primary school students in Grades 4, 5 and 6. These events will be exclusively girls-only so participants can shine in a fun and safe environment.

In addition, FV in conjunction with SSV are seeking Expressions of Interest (EOI) from SSV Primary and Secondary Schools who wish to participate in ‘Futsal’ 5-A-Side Indoor Football competitions in 2021 and 2022.

The program will be kicking off in December with a Futsal Gala Day at La Trobe Sports Stadium located in Bundoora.

A Futsal Champions Cup is also being proposed for Runners-Up and Champions who qualify from any SSV Divisional and Regional Futsal events that can be held in 2021.

Finally, FV and SSV have offered their Refereeing Academy program to students who are aged between 15 and 18.

The program will take students through the Level 4 Refereeing Course, which includes an online component that teaches the laws of the game and a practical component, where students will be trained by a qualified instructor out on the pitch.

How the APL hopes to take Australian football to the next level

Last week the Australian Professional Leagues (APL) revealed a key strategic move for professional football in Australia, collectively rebranding the men’s, women’s and youth leagues, with all of them now falling under the ‘A-Leagues’ moniker.

The recent revelations are set to be the start of a host of other strategic priorities which look to revitalise the professional game in Australia, in the coming months.

Speaking to Football Nation Radio (FNR), APL Managing Director Danny Townsend outlined the organisation’s viewpoint on the need to revamp attitudes within the game, particularly when it came to equality for female athletes.

“I think where the naming convention change came from was that we sat back and looked at what was the genesis of the naming of the A-League,” he said.

“Where did it come from, what did it mean and what did it stand for? The information we got was the ‘A’ stood for Australia, it stood for ‘A’ quality, it was the ‘A’ elite competition for football in Australia, which all made sense.

“Then we looked into the genesis of the W-League and where that name came from, and it was a real short bit of work, it was ‘W’ stands for woman.

“So, we thought, if the ‘A’ in the A-League stands for all those wonderful things, why are those things only attached to the men’s game and not the women’s game. We felt we needed to change the brand architecture of the sport to elevate the women’s game…you need young aspiring female athletes to feel that they are part of a football movement that puts the same value on their football as their male counterparts.”

Whilst name changes are easy to do, actions ultimately matter, and when it comes to the women’s side of the game the APL has recently announced the introduction of three more A-League Women’s teams by 2023.

It’s a good show of commitment to the women’s game, with an extended season also part of the APL’s future plans, when financially viable.

On the topic of finances, a huge factor which has helped secure the future of the professional game in Australia is the APL’s recent $200 million TV deal with ViacomCBS.

ViacomCBS – who own Network 10 in Australia, have also acquired a small equity stake in the APL under terms of the deal.

Townsend explained to FNR why the APL’s partnership with ViacomCBS was the best way forward for the game.

“When we went sat down with ViacomCBS and their leadership, they looked across the table and said ‘we believe in your sport, we love your vision for your sport and we want to make it the number one sport on our network’,” he said.

“We wanted a partner that was in the trenches with us, because they are business partners.

“That’s why the shareholding for ViacomCBS in APL was really a symbolic thing. As much as it was great for us to have an organisation of their scale and experience involved, it was what it said about their commitment to football which made this thing work. They’ve been fantastic to deal with.”

The deal will give increased exposure to the A-Leagues across Network 10 properties such as The Project and Studio 10. Alongside this, A-League Men’s matches will be shown on 10’s main channel on Saturday night, with A-League Women’s matches to be shown on Sunday afternoons on 10BOLD.

“The Saturday night free-to-air game was really critical to us, both for the men’s league on the Saturday night and the women on the Sunday,” Townsend said.

“It’s ensuring that we carve out a window in the free-to-air environment that’s about football. From 6.30 to 10:00 on Saturday night, it will football night on a main channel, free-to-air…it will be great for us.”

However, the most important strategic piece to the puzzle according to Townsend is the APL’s $30 million digital football hub – which is set to be revealed later this month.

The hub will give fans the content they want, when they want it, something which the APL Managing Director believes the game has fallen short on over time.

“The challenge we’ve had in our game is there has been a vacuum of football content in Australia,” he said.

“I believe the most critical part of our strategy is what we’re launching before the season, which is the one stop shop for football in Australia, digitally.

“It is the biggest single investment football has made in itself. It’s a $30 million investment into digital infrastructure and data infrastructure that will serve the football fan. It won’t be the home of Australian football; it will be Australia’s home of football.

“What it will deliver is content – audio-visual, editorial and everything else you need. Part of the reason we are doing that, and investing in what we are calling APL studios, is ensuring that by organising the football community in one place we are able to deliver the utility in their everyday lives and focus on how they choose to consume football. If you do that they’ll keep coming back, you put great content in there, you serve it, you understand that fan and their preferences.

The APL will look to showcase A-League Youth games, reinvigorate the fantasy gaming sector and produce a range of unique programming on the digital hub, amongst other initiatives, which will target all types of football fans.

“On the programming around all of the A-Leagues, part of APL studios is actually creating that content – that wasn’t there in previous times,” Townsend said.

“Those midweek wrap up shows, those highlight shows, those debate shows with a focus on getting different cohorts of our fan base engaged. We will do shows for younger fans on the mixture of football culture on things like boots & music and all those things that that fan cohort wants.

“Because we have that flexibility with the studio to do that, you’ll see a lot more content. It’s not just about the studio, it’s about the ability to surface it to fans. With the digital platform that we’ll have, we’ll be able to ensure our content is seen by the different pockets of fans in different demographics.”

With new commercial partners to be announced in the coming weeks, the APL have started their transition away from the FA strongly, with all eyes set to be on the professional game when the leagues kick off from November 19.

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