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Football Victoria announce a new era for futsal in the state

Football Victoria have announced they are stepping up their efforts and investment in resources to govern and unite the futsal community in Victoria.

The state federation will lay the foundations for an aligned framework for the small-sided game in the coming months, with existing futsal competition providers and clubs uniting with FV to deliver a new era of positive experiences for players, coaches and referees in Victoria.

FV President Kimon Taliadoros believes the time is right to unite the futsal fraternity and claims the governing body does have an important role in taking the lead.

“Historically, football’s governing bodies have lacked certainty over what role they should play in Futsal and what leadership they should provide. But after extensive consultation with the game’s stakeholders and a deeper understanding of best practice principles, it is clear that the sport must be aligned,” he said.

“As such, the time has now come for FV, as the state’s governing body for Football, to not only embrace Futsal but to lead it, govern it and unite it.

“We understand that there has been not only great division but also great confusion, going back many years. The only way forward from here is to establish a framework that brings everyone together and provides greater clarity to Futsal centres, facility operators, councils, clubs, referees, coaches and players.

“We are excited about the opportunities that Futsal will bring to the community under this new strategy, including how integral it is to achieving our overall target of 50/50 gender participation balance by 2027.”

As part of these various changes, Anthony Grima will move into a newly-created position of Head of Futsal, alongside his existing role of Head of Commercial at Football Victoria.

Grima is an accomplished futsal referee and player over the past two decades.

“As a governing body, we have to make a genuine commitment to provide Futsal with the kind of leadership that empowers this great sport to officially develop, grow and service even more participants than it does now,” he said.

“There are approximately 40,000 players playing Futsal and ‘Indoor Soccer’ across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. They all need Futsal pitches to play on and competitions to participate in. We want to make sure we can partner with local councils and Futsal competition providers to ensure players, clubs, coaches and referees are provided with the best possible Futsal experiences, on and off the pitch.

“My own experience in Futsal has shown me that it is a sport with enormous appeal and potential. There are many amazing and dedicated individuals at the heart of the Futsal family here in Victoria and we now have a profound opportunity to work together for the good of the game and build something that will service the game for decades to come.”

Peter Parthimos, CEO of ‘Futsal Oz’ and ‘Series Futsal’, welcomed FV’s decision to step forward and lead the sport through a formalised structure.

“This is clearly a development that will benefit the entire Futsal community. For many years, the providers, like us, have been left to promote the game themselves but the opportunity to help create a more formal structure underpinned by a unified vision is undeniably exciting,” he said.

“We look forward to formally affiliating with Football Victoria. I know many other centres and Futsal clubs will follow suit and that’s just such a positive step forward. It’s been many years since we’ve had an opportunity to collaborate like this.

“If we all support each other and put the sport first, I believe we will put Victoria back on the map.”

FV will continue to deliver premier futsal events, including the FV State Futsal Championships, which will be held in April 2021.

In the lead up to the 2022 Football Australia National Futsal Championships, all Victorian squads will be administered and managed directly by the governing body. The federation will also hold both futsal referee and coach education courses to officially recognise and upskill futsal referees and coaches from February 2021.

Football Victoria’s formal Futsal Strategy is listed below:

  1. Formally recognise the sport of Futsal within Football Victoria’s existing Strategic Plan 2019-2022 ‘FootbALLways’ to facilitate its growth, including in schools and to foster the increase and development of players, coaches, referees, Futsal clubs and Futsal centres in the broader futsal pathway.
  2. Provide Futsal competition providers and Futsal clubs with a genuine value proposition to partner with Football Victoria via a revamped affiliation and support program to grow and develop Futsal together as a unified Futsal community.
  3. Integrate Futsal within the implementation of Football Victoria’s current Facilities Strategy and advocate for increased and improved Futsal facilities with local, state and federal government for the benefit of all Futsal competition providers and Futsal clubs across Victoria.
Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Player sentiment up, average age down: PFA releases annual report

Sentiment is well and truly up for A-League players, according to the annual Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) report.

This time last year, only 33% of A-League players felt confident about the direction of their football careers.

According to the PFA’s latest annual report, that number is now 56%.

Of the A-League’s 312 players, 200 responded to the 2020/21 A-League survey, capturing 70% of the current cohort, with the results proving that even despite the ongoing turbulence and uncertainty of COVID-19, the majority of players feel much more confident about their futures within the game.

The report highlights that Australian players actively want to remain in the A-League, as opposed to seeking opportunities overseas.

The key numbers that demonstrate this include:

  • 55% of players said they would like to stay playing in the A-League next season, up from 45% last year.
  • 56% of players are confident about the direction of their football careers, compared to 33% in 2019/20.
  • Only 4% of players would move to an overseas league even if it was for similar money and/or playing standard.
  • Only 16% of players who would prefer to move to an overseas league would only do so if the money and standards were better.

Other highlights of the report include that the average A-League player is getting younger.

Over the last 14 years, the average age of the A-League player has consistently trended upwards.

In 2020/21, however, this changed and the average age trended downwards, dropping from 27.6 to 25.1.

The number of players utilised in the A-League who were aged 21 and under came in at 107, representing 35% of the 300 players who received A-League minutes during the 2020/21 season.

The youngest squads on average belonged to Central Coast Mariners and Adelaide United, with average ages of 23.6 and 23.9 years respectively.

Another highlight was the fact that of the league’s 312 contracted players, 300 received A-League minutes.

“These reports have been immensely valuable, helping the PFA and the players better understand the industry in which they are employed, monitor the application of high-performance standards, assess technical progress and survey the players’ experience,” PFA Co-Chief Executive Beau Busch said of the report.

“For the last five years, we have been able to utilise these reports to formulate evidence-based positions to improve the environments in which our members work through collective bargaining.

“Promisingly, after a period of significant uncertainty, the players have indicated that they are more confident in the direction of their careers and the future of the competition than this time last year, signifying a positive shift in the perception of the A-League.”

The report also highlights the fact that A-League attendances were the lowest ever in the competition, thanks in large part to COVID-19, with an average attendance of 5,660.

Foreign players in the league reduced by 12 to a total of 51, whilst the average salary in the A-League is $136,791.

Access the full report HERE.

DFL and AWS introduce two new Match Facts to Bundesliga coverage

Bundesliga analysis

The Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have announced the addition of two new Bundesliga Match Facts powered by AWS that will premiere as graphics during broadcasts and in the official Bundesliga app during the 2021-2022 season.

The two new Match Facts – Shot Efficiency and Passing Profile – will bring the total number of advanced statistics to eight, with each of them aiming to give fans deeper insights into the action on the pitch.

The first of the new advanced stats – Shot Efficiency – compares the number of goals that a player or team has scored with how many goals the player or team should have scored based on the quality of their chances.

The second – Passing Profile – provides deeper insights into the pass quality of a player or an entire team. Both of the stats are generated by gathering and analysing the match feeds from live games in real time as they are streamed into AWS.

Both new stats made their debut during Matchday 4 on the clash between German Champion FC Bayern München and the second-placed team of the previous season RB Leipzig.

The two new Match Facts will better showcase the action on the field – giving fans, coaches, players, and commentators visual support for analysing the decision-making of players and teams.

Andreas Heyden, Executive Vice President of Digital Innovations for DFL Group, was excited to further innovate the matchday experience for viewers based both domestically and internationally.

“Bundesliga Match Facts powered by AWS allows us to give fans more insight into the game of football, broadcasters more interesting stories to tell and coaches and teams, more data to excel at their game,” he said.

“Last year, the reception for Bundesliga Match Facts around the world was very positive, and we expect through ML and AI to continue to innovate on these analytics to make them even better.

“These two new stats give fans a view into player efficiency that hasn’t been achieved before, and we are just at the beginning of our relationship with AWS. I’m excited to see how technology will continue to evolve the fan experience and the game.”

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