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Football West partners with atWork Australia

A new partnership between Football West and atWork Australia has been launched.

This recent development will see the two organisations come together until the end of the season – atWork Australia are the Offical Program Supporter of the All Abilities and Inclusion Program.

The importance of having an association like this linked with an NPL league is the connection it has that everyone should be entitled to have a fair go.

AtWork Australia is a leader in the employment services area who offer all Australians across the nation with a chance to apply for jobs and support them as they build better quality working lives.

In the past year, atWork helped about 7,000 Australians find work. It doesn’t matter whether someone has a disability, illness or injury – because they promote inclusiveness.

AtWork can support people with their goals and aspirations, build skills and get them ready for work by having them accustomed to the lifestyle. The skills developed will also help them do well in interviews to lead them towards employment.

AtWork has 30 offices in Western Australia and over 270 across the country, ready to assist job seekers from all walks of life.

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Liam Watson is a Senior Journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on international football policy, industry matters and industry 4.0

Never assume ethnicity is the problem, without addressing the behaviour

The association between a violent brawl at a NPL game and Football Australia rescinding the ban on ethnic club names couldn't be further from the fact, and only helps pernicious issues within Australian sporting culture remain unchallenged.

The association between a violent brawl at a National Premier League (NPL) game and Football Australia (FA) rescinding the ban on ethnic club names couldn’t be further from the fact, and only helps pernicious issues within Australian sporting culture remain unchallenged.

The fight between spectators at a NPL game between Rockdale Ilinden and Sydney United 58 on Sunday was an alarming scene of violence. The fight began after a spectator entered the pitch and interfered with a player, which sparked a full-blown melee where objects were thrown by spectators as police were called to quell the conflict.

In the aftermath, media outlets were quick to jump to the narrative that this fight was caused by the FA’s Inclusivity Principles for Club Identity (IPCI). Previously, clubs had been banned from using names that alluded to ethnic boundaries or events at the advent of the A-league and the death of the NSL, under a National Club Identity Policy which was replaced by the IPCI. While the clubs eschewed their ethnic names and insignia during the period this policy was in place, their heritage and supporter base remained untouched.

FA CEO James Johnson was forced to defend the policy on 2GB radio, while host Ray Hadley grilled him on the incident. To argue that the IPCI caused the violence in the stands on Sunday is to ignore a history of violence in Australian sport. Hadley insinuates that this is an issue for football particularly: “It’s almost unheard of in modern-day sport in Australia. Sometimes things get out of hand at Rugby league, Rugby Union, more particularly your sport”. In his favourite sport – one that hasn’t been “captivated by PC BS” as he eloquently states – spectators are regularly charged with assault after violent clashes.

As recently as this year, Parramatta fans fought in a wild brawl with their fellow supporters at a game. The issue is present within AFL, where spectators are regularly charged with assault. In 2018 two men were hospitalised after being attacked after an AFL game in Melbourne by men wearing their club colours proudly. In 2010 at the WACA, during a one-day test between Australia and Pakistan, a spectator stormed the field and tackled a Pakistani player and was charged with assault and trespass. The problem is a cultural one, that is endemic across all of Australian sport. To blame a spectator brawl on something as irrelevant as the name and identity of the clubs involved, while turning a blind eye to a history of violence that is perpetuated throughout Australian sport is to condemn ourselves to never fixing the cause, and never finding the solution.

Even within the world of football, violence between fans is not a new phenomenon despite what critics of the IPCI would like you to think. It happened before the ban on ethnic club names, it happened during the ban, and it will continue to happen after the introduction of the IPCI. Why is this so? Because a small minority of Australian spectators, regardless of their sport, are prone to violence. Violence between spectators is a worldwide phenomenon and amazingly remains so in countries whose populations are homogeneous and don’t divide themselves into clubs based on their heritage or ethnicity.

NSW Police Detective Superintendent Anthony Cooke stated that it was only a small minority of the spectators involved in the melee on Sunday, and there was no clear link to ethnic violence. With the former National Club Identity Policy in place, football was less inclusive of those of other cultures and ethnicity with little benefit to the game, while suppressing communities that embraced the world game.

This isn’t an effort to downplay the violence in the stands on Sunday however, but to blame the IPCI however is to ignore the fact that it is a minority of people who engage in anti-social behaviour. It remains easier to direct fault towards the policy of the FA instead of addresses the cultural issues that remain within football and Australian sport as a whole.

“We need to focus on the behaviours, not the ethnicity,” Football Australia CEO James Johnson stated in his interview with Ray Hadley. To remove spectator violence from all levels of the football pyramid we need to do exactly this. To villainize supporters based on the heritage of the club they support is to ignore the very real dangers of anti-social behaviour that is fuelled by far greater animosity than the name on their badge. Hadley misses this point completely and seems to believe that if the club had an anglicised name then the spectator violence wouldn’t have happened. The evidence shows this is objectively wrong and drawing upon ethnicity is simply a media narrative that damages the clubs and the footballing industry. The NSL, the precursor to the A-league, was severely damaged and ultimately destroyed by this stigma being attached by the media.

Hadley’s and 2GB’s attempted stitch-up of Johnson shouldn’t be a surprise. Football within Australia has a long history of being some sort of ethnic boogeyman, with the foreigner with the strange name being an easy target for disdain. While the FA has made it clear it won’t tolerate this behaviour from spectators, fans, and club officials, it has also taken the correct stance in deciding to punish those who do wrong based solely on their behaviour. While the violent brawl was unacceptable, and those involved need to be heavily punished with bans as Football Australia intends to do, it isn’t unheard of in the slightest. These issues aren’t self-contained to football or ethnically named clubs and are instead just a symptom of a much larger illness in Australian sporting culture. To ignore the violence that continues to permeate with Australian sport in an attempt to blame a policy that
contributes little to the issue will only allow the real causes to remain unchecked.

Football West announces latest round of Building Stronger Clubs Program

Football West has announced the launch of their latest round of the Building Stronger Clubs Program, to future proof football in the state.

Football West has announced the launch of their latest round of the Building Stronger Clubs Program for 2021.

The program aims to future proof football in the state by ensuring that clubs and associations provide a better all-round experience for all participants, volunteers and fans.

The initiative enables clubs and associations to apply for grants of up to $1,500. Last year alone saw 24 clubs across WA sign up for the program and put the funds towards projects valued at more than $100,000.

The resulting projects included a club history timeline at Subiaco AFC, committee upskilling for Mindarie FC and an Asian Cup tournament at Westnam United. In addition, other clubs used the funding towards the purchasing of new equipment and the development of websites.

Meanwhile, Sorrento FC used the Building Stronger Clubs Program grant to develop a business plan to secure a $1 million election pledge from Western Australia’s Labor Party to fund new changerooms and upgrade club facilities.

The Building Stronger Clubs Program grant can be used to assist clubs and associations in strengthening their setups across a variety of aspects, including:

  • Governance and Policy Development
  • Facilities Management, Planning or Design
  • Stakeholder Engagement (including Government, commercial, community, schools)
  • Volunteer Engagement & Recognition Plans
  • Marketing Plan or Communications Plan or Digital Marketing Plan
  • Fundraising/Grant/Sponsorship/Partnership Plan or support
  • Upskilling Boards and Committees
  • Financial Management Practices and Advice
  • Inclusive Participation Pathways
  • Football Development Pathway programs for players, coaches, referees, administrators
  • IT Services or Website Development
  • Strategic or Business Planning

Additionally, clubs and associations can also submit collaborative applications for larger scale projects dedicated to making a difference to their football communities.

The program gives Football West the opportunity to also provide concerted support for clubs and associations to complete the Football Australia National Club Development Program through facilitated experts.

As well as this, Football West’s preferred technology supplier, Computing Australia Group, can help any clubs and associations seeking website support or grant application assistance.

Those seeking full details for Football West’s Building Stronger Clubs Program and how to apply for the $1,500 grant need only click here. All grants must be submitted by June 28, 2021 – at 5pm WST.

Any questions or queries related to the application process can be directed to Football West’s Cub Engagement Lead, Abid Imam at abid.imam@footballwest.com.au

Football Queensland reveals 2021 SAP Program Guide

Football Queensland (FQ) has unveiled the 2021 SAP Program Guide which provides guidance and assistance to players, parents and coaches.

Football Queensland (FQ) has today unveiled the 2021 SAP Program Guide which provides guidance and assistance to players, parents and coaches on how to improve their understanding on how the Skill Acquisition Phase (SAP) operates throughout Queensland.

This SAP Program Guide will assist players, parents and coaches to understand how the Skill Acquisition Phase (SAP) operates throughout Queensland.

The FQ Club Development Unit has consulted with community and advanced clubs, bringing together experienced personnel from various sectors of the game to build a more player-centred approach to SAP, to in turn help to produce better footballers in Queensland.

“The SAP Program Guide is another example of FQ’s commitment to providing clear, useful information about the player pathway to parents and coaches,” FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci said.

“The Guide offers practical advice about the age-specific playing formats and rules for boys and girls, recommendations for SAP coaches on how to manage players on match day, information on SAP State Carnivals and much, much more.

“FQ recognises that SAP is important for young players to develop game-related skills, which is why we have made unprecedented investments in the program over the past 18 months through our Club Development Unit.

“The release of the SAP Program Guide follows on from the launch of our SAPCC initiative, which makes available coaching resources and collateral to community clubs across the state, and our ongoing SAP Club Assessment process, which reviews program delivery for licensed SAP clubs.

“FQ also reformed the SAP structure for 2021 to provide more games and reduce travel time for young Queensland footballers. This Guide outlines all these initiatives and more and is essential reading for anyone involved in SAP in this state.”

FQ issued Advanced SAP Licences to clubs in South East Queensland and runs regional Advanced SAP training centres in Hervey Bay, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Townsville and Cairns, with a club partnership in Mackay.

In addition to the SAP Program Guide, FQ has also released the Advanced SAP Club Manual which provides specific information about technical matters such as the players age policy and the recommended structure of the club-based MiniSeries events.

To see the guide in full, you can view it here.

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