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Football Victoria’s Community in Business event returns with star-studded lineup

Football Victoria’s Community in Business event on Friday May 21 was headlined by two star-studded panels, featuring former footballers, personalities, and A-league CEOs.

The event, held at the San Remo Ballroom in Carlton, was hosted by ABC journalist Catherine Murphy and featured a keynote speech by FV CEO Kimon Taliadoros.

Taliadoros commented on the recent funding of community projects through the World Game Facilities Fund and the new home of the Matildas in Bundoora. He said equality of opportunities between men and women is an important goal for Football Victoria.

“This is a significant turning point for our sport in Victoria. You’ve all been around to understand what a battle it has been for us to secure funding on any level, let alone in a meaningful way,” he said.

“We aren’t going to be invisible anymore, this sport has a home and hope. We have an incredible platform to build the awareness and focus for women and girls, and football, in this state. That is a tremendous achievement.”

Michael Zappone hosted a panel made up of former Socceroos legend Mark Bresciano, comedian Santo Cilauro and his father – former Victorian Soccer Federation Chairman and Football Australia of fame inductee, Vito Cilauro.

Bresciano, who is on the Football Australia board, said that a second division would bring a level of excitement to revitalise the game.

“it is very important. It will bring that extra excitement, and hopefully, down the track, we can get to a promotion and relegation situation,” he said.

“I only just realised how much work went into football in Australia now that I am on the board. You don’t realise the hard work that goes into the game, whether it’s a national top-level or grassroots.”

Another panel featuring the CEO’s and chairman of the three Victorian A-league teams was hosted by Murphy, with the theme ‘leadership through adversity’. 

Melbourne Victory chairman Anthony Di Pietro, Western United FC CEO Chris Pehlivanis, and Melbourne City CEO Brad Rowse discussed the challenges of running a football club during a pandemic and the future of the Australian professional league. 

When asked what the biggest challenge his club has faced Di Pietro made light of Melbourne Victory’s struggles this season. 

“Someone has flipped the table upside down,” he said.

Pehlivanis appealed to the football community to show a united front, and all three agreed that the clubs were in survival mode during the pandemic.

The event created networking opportunities for those who support the footballing community within Victoria, while celebrating the hard work of those who ensure the continuing expansion of the sport.

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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