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Football Victoria makes operational changes due to COVID-19

Football Victoria have announced changes to its operations, with the aim of securing the financial viability of its organisation and member clubs.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the governing body will reduce the pay of its five-member executive team by 40%.

More than half of its workforce will be stood down for a month, with affected staff able to access annual leave and long service leave entitlements for the 30 days.

Football Victoria also announced it will:

  • Retain a core team of football, operational and business services staff on reduced hours and pay, with a focus on providing ongoing support to member clubs across the state, as well as scenario-planning to enable the resumption of all sanctioned competitions and participation programs post-shutdown;
  • Place an immediate freeze on recruitment; and
  • Consider the potential for further staffing adjustments subject to the duration and/or financial impact of the suspension of football activity.

It is also expected that football activity will be suspended beyond the current 14 April deadline, with Member Federations currently in discussions with the FFA about further measures.

Football Victoria CEO, Peter Filopoulos, revealed the governing body was engaging with federal and state governments in relation to financial support.

Mr Filopoulos claimed the situation facing the sport is extremely difficult.

“These are extraordinary times, which call for extraordinary action to ensure the financial viability and long-term sustainability of our game across Victoria. It’s gut-wrenching for everyone involved in the game, and I’m acutely aware of the impact that stand downs will have on the lives of our people,” he said.

“However, it’s vital that the organisation is fit-for-purpose during this period, and remains agile and responsive so that we’re in a position to get through the significant challenges facing us right now and be able to resume football activities down the track.

“Over the past couple of years, the team’s been working hard to develop and deliver on our strategic plan, FootbALLways. I’m immensely proud of them, and I’m humbled by the way the Victorian football community has responded to this unprecedented crisis by taking the appropriate precautions to ensure people stay safe and healthy,” Mr Filopoulos said.

“As an organisation, we’ve had to take measured action quickly and we’ve sought to keep our staff and clubs fully informed during this challenging period, with the absolute focus being on their health and well-being, and to support them as well as we possibly can.”

Mr Filopoulos continued:

“The COVID-19 health crisis continues to evolve and challenge us with many uncertainties and unknowns. Our focus at this time is to look out for our people and clubs so they can take care of themselves and their families, and we will support our staff however we can if they choose to seek alternative employment during the period of the shutdown. Hopefully, the Federal Government’s latest income relief package will go some way to stemming the number of people we have to stand down.”

“Beyond that, we’re working tirelessly in the background in anticipation of resuming football activities as soon as we can overcome the significant challenges facing us right now. This involves comprehensive scenario planning in consultation with member clubs, local government and the broader community to enable the reactivation of as many of the 40,000 fixtures we stage each season across all levels of football,” he said.

“In the meantime, we appreciate the patience and incredible support of the Victorian football community, the lifeblood of our game.”

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.

$1.5 million in fee relief provided to Football NSW Associations and Clubs

Football NSW

To help consolidate losses related to the premature cancellation of the 2021 Winter Football season due to COVID-19, Football NSW has announced $1.5 million in fee relief for its Associations and Clubs.

The Football NSW Board identified the need to provide support to its Associations and Clubs to ensure their ongoing solvency and assist them through these challenging times.

And in spite of the difficult circumstances for all stakeholders involved in the game, Football NSW CEO Stuart Hodge credited the strength of football in coming through previous Covid-enforced lockdowns.

“As we have stated previously, our player numbers can only continue to grow, and football can only remain the most popular participant sport in NSW, if there is sustained financial viability at each tier of the game,” Hodge said.

“The sustainability of a healthy Association and Club framework is fundamental to our continued development and maintaining our capacity to progress and achieve our lofty ambitions.

“With this in mind, and on the recommendation of management, the Board resolved to provide a discount on the Football NSW Capitation Fee for the 2021 Winter season.

Hodge acknowledged the hardworking efforts of each of the Associations and Clubs who have been resilient in the face of the COVID-affected season.

“I want to acknowledge the dedication of our volunteers, administrators, players, referees and coaches that enabled us to still deliver part of a football season,” he said.

“Once again, the Football NSW community has come together to support each other and keep our participants and their families safe, something I feel that’s been truly inspiring.

“Football is a vital part of the lives of our players and other participants, but also vital to our communities.

“Thank you all for your work to keep things going through this period of disruption.”

Football in NSW played a leading role in ensuring the community, and sport as a whole, did their bit in fast tracking a return to sport via the recent NSW Health initiative, ‘Super Sport Sunday’.

“Our collective commitment to a safer community was evident in our recent initiative to offer our facilities as vaccination hubs to the NSW Government,” Hodge said.

“What started as an offer of facilities quickly evolved into a request from NSW Health for football to mobilise its community in certain regions where vaccination rates were desperately needed to be increased.

“Answering the call, we led a campaign for football participants in those regions to get vaccinated and engaged other sports to join as we created a ‘Super Sport Sunday’ for vaccinations at Sydney Olympic Park Authority (SOPA).

“We have since been briefed that the campaign helped set a new single day record of vaccinations at SOPA, with many people wearing the jerseys of their favourite football clubs.

“This is another good example of how, as a code and a football family, we are leaders in our communities and, when we work together, we can achieve great things.”

Rachel Williams appointed to Football Tasmania Board

Football Tasmania have welcomed long-time Tasmanian football contributor Rachel Williams to their Board.

Joining with a background in sports media, Williams cited the possibility of hosting training camps for the 2023 Women’s World Cup and a potential increase in A-League and W-League content as exciting opportunities for the state heading into the future.

Football Tasmania President Bob Gordon believes Williams’ media expertise and strong ties with the northern Tasmanian community would help support Tasmania’s most popular team sport as it continues to grow.

“As the mother and chief supporter of three football-mad boys, Rachel has a great understanding of the World Game in Tasmania and what our sport means to so many people across the state,” Gordon said.

“We’re delighted to have Rachel join the Tasmanian football family in an official capacity and lend her expertise to seeing football realise its full potential with improved facilities and opportunities for young players as the sport continues to grow.”

FT

Williams was excited to be underway in her role and to represent the passionate and talented women working in and around football.

“As a former sports journalist I have watched with keen interest the significant growth, development and recognition of the sport in Tasmania, particularly for women, and I am really excited to help continue that progress,” she said.

“I believe it is vital for there to be a strong and secure pathway for our young men and women to play at the highest level and it is exciting to see Tasmania forge a future involvement with the A-League and W-League.

“I am passionate about ensuring every child has the opportunity to be involved and be given opportunities to succeed.”

Gordon also paid tribute to outgoing Board member Fiona Reynolds.

“On behalf of the Tasmanian football community I’d like to thank Fiona for her contribution and dedication to our sport,” he said.

“Fiona joined our team at a very challenging time for all community sports when COVID first reached our shores and was instrumental in helping us get the game up and running safely so Tasmanians could again enjoy playing football.”

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