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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.

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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