Football Victoria to celebrate first ever Indigenous Round

Round 21 of NPL Victoria will be the inaugural Indigenous Round between July 12 and 15.

All clubs and competitions from Victoria will take part in an Indigenous Round that recognises past contributions.

With 2019’s NAIDOC Week falling between the 7th and 14tn of July, it marks a time where people can celebrate the history, culture and achievements of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The focus being a week to respect those from all walks of life.

A feature of the Indigenous Round is having the cultural artwork, created by Stan Yarramunua. Its significance begins with the white representing the milky way, while the two rings separating the white and brown dots represent both males and females. The brown dots signify community and the inner circles represent land with the blue characterising waters.

This historic round will start a new tradition and something that can build for years to come. Current Hume City player James Brown is also Football Victoria’s Indigenous Programs Co-ordinator and is just one of many indigenous Australians taking part in the game.

To commemorate Indigenous Round, the following will be able to take place:

  • A pre-game Acknowledgement of Country.
  • A photo of teams and match officials together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags.
  • Sharing of Indigenous Round content on club’s social media platforms and websites.

Clubs can also add #FVIndigenousRound to their posts and share any related content to all their social media outlets.

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Liam Watson is the Co-Founder & Publisher of Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

Preston Lions add Boss Designer Gardens & Landscaping to their array of sponsorships

Preston Lions

Preston Lions are making quite the portfolio within their sponsorship contingent, the club has continued to align themselves with thoroughly equipped businesses entity’s both state and nationwide.

Preston are renowned for their unequivocal niche supporter base who have been on the rollercoaster journey since their early humble beginnings.

The club have had dates with destiny across Victorian competitions on four occasions, with their recent state top flight victory occurring in 2007. In the 1987 National Soccer League season where the club finished second in the nationwide top flight of football.

Within the illustrious sponsorship contingent the Lions are accumulating in their efforts to be involved and competitive in the upcoming second national tier, are a subgenre of sponsors who live and breathe the club.

Encompassing the rich history and lifeblood of the club is none other than Boss Landscaping Chief Executive Officer, Steve Spacevski.

Steve throughout his entire life has been immersed within the Lavovi, he represented the club in the late 70s as a reserves player. Despite his short lived playing tenure, his support for the club remains unmatched till this day.

Boss Landscapes are a comprehensive landscaping service operating throughout the north and west sides of Melbourne. It was on a landscaping jobsite where Preston President David Cvetkovski had offered Steve the proposal of joining the clubs sponsorship regime.

Steve without hesitation believed the partnership was a “no brainer”. He amongst the tight-knit Lions community have an ambitious goal at heart. The clubs tenure at a top-flight level have transpired in those synonymous with the club, to reignite the fire in competing within the nation’s highest level.

“To go back to the top league, Where Preston belong. From the National Soccer League days, building towards a future and finding success in the second tier league is important,” Spacevski said.

Spacevski associates success with the nourishment of the clubs lifeblood with Its community.

“We want everyone to come to games, we want the whole family to come to B.T Connor on a Friday or Saturday, whenever it may be. We want it to be a family affair,” he said.

Moving forward as a club the sponsorship contingent are contributing to the clubs prospects of innovating and creating new facilities throughout B.T Connor Reserve. With the past fuelling the present, Spacevski represents the community soul the club possesses.

“We are building as a family. Not to forget the past, but to build towards the future with it in mind,” he said.

Stemming from bottom all the way to the top, Spacevski highlighted the unique point of difference which gives himself and his fellow sponsorship partners a sense of confidence upon the clubs second tier venture.

“At the moment the people that are on the board, from the president all the way down. The vibe and communication is that everyone has the same goal,” he explained.

“Its not just at the top, it’s across the board. Investment into juniors, women’s and men’s programs, there’s no sacrificing one to build the other.”

The Lions have remained a club within Australian football who have sustained diehard support throughout the roller coaster journey it has embarked upon. With the ride heading into a new pathway, sponsors like Steve Spacevski are the fabric of a sports club.

Passion personified through Macedonian culture, the sponsorship agreement between Boss Landscapes and the Preston Lions is what symbolises Victorian football heritage.

FIFPro’s ‘Project ACL’ to reduce knee injuries in women’s football

This past weekend, Melbourne City played against Sydney FC in the 2023/24 A-League Women (ALW) grand final, as three players were watching their teammates from the sidelines.

This season, City’s forward Holly McNamara and Sydney’s defenders Natalie Tobin and Kirsty Fenton have all endured ACL injuries, sidelining them for six months to a year.

With the season officially ending, they were among six other footballers from various ALW clubs sidelined in the stands, bringing the league’s ACL injury tally to nine.

Similar to numerous professional women’s leagues globally, Australia’s premier competition has been notably impacted by what players have informally labelled an “epidemic” of ACL injuries.

Female athletes face a risk of sustaining an ACL injury during training or competition that is two to six times higher than that of male athletes, a statistic that remains unchanged despite the swift professionalisation of women’s football in recent years.

The absence of numerous prominent women footballers like Sam Kerr, Beth Mead, Vivianne Miedema, Marie-Antoinette Katoto, Leah Williamson, Janine Beckie, Delphine Cascarino, and numerous other internationals from major tournaments over the past two years due to ACL injuries, has not only resulted in significant loss of income for them but has also amplified the demand for action to address this issue.

The global players’ union, FIFPro has finally taken notice of this call to action.

Last week, the union unveiled an innovative program named “Project ACL,” which seeks to tackle the various interconnected factors contributing to the heightened risk of ACL tears among women footballers.

Over the course of three years, the study will examine current research on ACL injuries in female athletes, evaluate the resources and support systems offered by Women’s Super League (WSL) clubs in England, and introduce a proprietary digital tool to monitor WSL players’ playing workload, travel commitments, and high-intensity match participation in real-time. This approach aims to generate more detailed and nuanced data on the situations in which female footballers face the highest risk of injury.

FIFPRO, the Professional Footballers’ Association, Nike, and Leeds Beckett University have collaborated on a three-year project centred on England’s 12-team Women’s Super League (WSL).

While research on ACL injuries in women’s sports is expanding, what sets FIFPro’s program apart is its integration of academic studies, which have predominantly concentrated on internal biological and physiological factors in amateur athletes, with a comprehensive evaluation of the external environments in which players compete, train, recover, and travel in.

Similar to all sports, resources vary among clubs, with women’s teams affiliated with larger, wealthier men’s clubs likely enjoying access to superior resources such as qualified personnel, gym facilities, recovery centres and programs, nutritional support, and private or business-class travel compared to less supported teams.

Yet, the available research on these environmental factors is insufficient to ascertain their significance and identify which ones clubs, coaches, and staff can modify effectively to prevent future injuries.

FIFPro’s Head of Strategy and Research for Women’s Football, Dr. Alex Culvin explained in detail behind this innovative project said via press release:

“This research has never been done before,” she said.

“It’s a stakeholder-collaborative project, which also hasn’t been done before: we have four big stakeholders [FIFPro, England’s player’s union, Leeds-Beckett University, and Nike] coming together to better understand ACL injuries, as well as the environments and conditions in which they occur.

“This project is a response to the players rightly calling for more research: it’s around centralising the needs of players and their voice, but also moving away from the singular or binary understandings of ACL injuries.

“Pointing simply to ‘workload’ or ‘female physiology’, one of the primary objectives of this project is to understand the holistic risk factors, the environmental risk factors, and that fundamentally comes down to the conditions in which players play.”

Enhanced and thorough research into ACL injuries not only provides players and coaches with increased confidence and assurance in their careers but also aligns with commercial interests. The burgeoning economy of women’s football relies heavily on the performances of players who are among the most vulnerable due to their involvement in multiple concurrent competitions and escalating demands on their physical and mental well-being.

Quantitative data obtained from club assessments will be supplemented with qualitative insights gathered through anonymous interviews with players, including both those who have experienced ACL injuries and those who haven’t. These interviews aim to delve into their everyday work settings, how they feel about the support they receive, match frequency, training intensity, and the interconnection of these factors in assessing injury risk.

The leaders of Project ACL define ‘success’ of this three-year study comes in many forms.

First, their goal is to shift the discourse surrounding ACL injuries to ensure that a player’s various environmental factors are consistently taken into account, thus fostering widespread awareness and anticipation that these factors can and will be addressed discreetly.

Secondly, it is setting a precedent for cooperative research among diverse football stakeholders to pursue collective solutions that enhance the sport. This involves clubs and unions, typically in conflict against each other, collaborating towards a shared objective.

Lastly, and perhaps most crucially, FIFPro aims for this project to underscore the significance of placing players at the forefront of structural reforms and decisions, recognising that these changes ultimately have the most significant impact on them.

As McNamara, Tobin, and Fenton watched the Grand Final from the sidelines, the ambitious research initiative suggests that future players may not face the same elevated risk of injury in just a few years’ time.

FIFPRO and its project partners intend to share their discoveries with all football stakeholders worldwide, including FIFA and regional confederations, to advance player welfare globally.

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