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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.

Danny Townsend takes up CEO role at Australian Professional Leagues

Australian Professional Leagues (APL) have announced that Danny Townsend will step up to the role of Chief Executive Officer.

Australian Professional Leagues (APL) have announced that current Managing Director Danny Townsend will step up to the role of Chief Executive Officer full-time in the first half of 2022, transitioning from his dual role as Sydney FC CEO.

Townsend is a highly-regarded sports executive who has had a great influence in the unrivalled period of success that Sydney FC has seen both on and off the field. He has also made huge progression in a dual role leading the APL’s first year of commercial, marketing and operational management for the A-Leagues.

APL Chairman Paul Lederer:

“In a year of significant developments and progress for APL, the transition of Danny Townsend as full-time CEO is one of the most important. Danny’s commercial acumen, passion for football and boundless energy stand him apart as the most dynamic leader in Australian sport.

“Danny and APL’s Executive Leadership Team have achieved significant results since professional football unbundled from football’s governing body in December 2020, including delivery of a new brand, a major broadcast rights deal with ViacomCBS and most recently the announcement of capital investment from Silver Lake.

“With this realised, and Danny Townsend leading APL in a full-time capacity, we can really accelerate APL’s digital transformation and support its continued momentum and ambitious vision for long-term sustainable and inclusive growth.”

Townsend regarding the appointment announcement:

“I am proud to have led Sydney FC to an exceptionally strong position, with an exciting future and two world class facilities, Sky Park and the new Sydney Football Stadium, less than 12 months away. I have no doubt the club will continue to flourish both on and off the field.

“My role as APL CEO will enable me to put all of my efforts into ensuring Sydney FC and every A-League club reaches their full potential. I look forward to building on the achievements of the past year and leading and delivering on the strategy to grow the game.”

Townsend’s transition to the APL will be completed once a full handover to the incoming Sydney FC Chief Executive is finalised.

Gary Cole inducted into Football Victoria Hall of Fame

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Football Victoria (FV) has announced the first of its 2021 inductees into the FV Hall of Fame is renowned Socceroo, NSL great and championship winning coach Gary Cole.

Cole is part of three 2021 inductees to join 23 outstanding contributors for Victorian football in the Hall of Fame, with accompanying members to be announced in coming weeks.

Gary Cole has had an immense impact on Australian football for over half a century – with a playing, coaching, mentoring and administrative career that has seen him occupy roles at all levels of the game.

Cole’s passion for football – where he drives it forward with a pure agenda of what is in the best interests of the game and those who play, coach, administer and support it – is second to none.

Arriving from England with his family in 1971, Cole began his playing career with South Yarra in the Metropolitan Fourth Division, playing alongside his father and gaining promotion to the Third Division in his first senior season as a 15-year-old.

He won the NSL Golden Boot in back-to-back seasons with Heidelberg United in 1980 and 1981, claiming the club’s only national league trophy with a hat-trick in the 1980 NSL Grand Final.

Cole’s domestic league exploits were equally matched by an impressive representative career. He made his debut for Victoria in a 2-3 loss as a substitute against Hungarian club Ferencvaros in 1974.

Over almost a decade, Cole was an ever-present for the Socceroos, making 40 appearances and scoring 21 goals for his adopted homeland, 19 of which were A internationals, including 17 goals.

He held the world record for goals scored in a World Cup qualifier when he nabbed 7 against Fiji in 1981 (later broken by both Archie Thompson (13) and David Zdrilic (8) in 2001 against American Samoa).

Upon retirement from his playing career, he progressed into coaching, firstly with the Australian Institute of Sport, where he played a role in nurturing Australia’s best young talent alongside Ron Smith.

He returned to Victoria where he spent time at the helm of Heidelberg United in the National Soccer League, before returning to the Victorian Premier League with Altona Magic (two separate stints), Bulleen Inter Kings and Bentleigh Greens. He won two championships – with Altona Magic (1996) and Bulleen Inter Kings (1998).

Cole enjoyed great success as a football administrator at the top level of professional football in Australia during a period of immense change, occupying the role of Director of Football for both Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC. He was the inaugural Director of Football at Melbourne Victory when the club was formed in 2004.

Cole was contracted at Football Victoria from January 2018 to January 2019, firstly as Manager Strategy and Special Projects and then as Executive Manager Facilities and Advocacy.

He joined the Football Coaches Australia (FCA) Executive Committee in 2019 and has played an integral role in building FCA to what it is today with MOUs in place alongside Soccerscene, Football Australia (FA) and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), as well as several international coaching associations. He is also the host of the FCA’s highly successful ‘Football Coaching Life’ podcast which gives unique insights in a one-on-one setting.

Football Victoria President Antonella Care celebrated the induction of a pillar of Victorian football.

“Gary Cole’s ongoing dedication and commitment to our game over so many years is absolutely remarkable,” she said.

“Gary’s influence stretches across all facets of football. His natural ability as a player transferred seamlessly into his off-field roles, all of which he has delivered with a single-minded focus on making our game the best it can be.

“Victorian football owes a debt of gratitude to Gary for so many years of service, which shows no signs of slowing down! On behalf of our Victorian football community, congratulations Gary on this well-deserved accolade.”

Upon his Hall of Fame induction, Gary Cole said:

“I’m obviously incredibly honoured to have received the nomination and the induction into the Hall of Fame. I want to thank Football Victoria and all of the people that made the decision to bring me into the Hall of Fame family, I’m incredibly proud and honoured.

“I also want to thank Andy McCarthur and her team, as well as Tony Persoglia and Nick Hatzoglou, who all brought together my story in the digital form. Which is a new thing for Football Victoria and the Hall of Fame, meaning it will be around for a while.

“I also need to thank my three former Heidelberg, Victorian and Australian teammates Jimmy Rooney, Jimmy Campbell and Kenny Taylor that took the time to contribute. It was very mood, and I’m very proud to be included.”

Cole’s incredible football story is told in his own words, and those of his peers in the first episode of FV’s Hall of Fame Series.

© 2021 Soccerscene Industry News. All Rights reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

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