Four inductees enter Football Australia Hall of Fame

Football Australia has inducted four legends of Australian football into the Football Australia Hall of Fame at the Socceroos’ FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifier in Melbourne on Thursday.

Commonwealth Bank Matildas greats Kate Gill and Heather Garriock, Socceroos legend Mark Schwarzer, and Joseph (Joe) Huxley Honeysett – a name synonymous with the establishment of football in Tasmania – were inducted into the esteemed list of Australian football contributors.

Gill, Garriock, Schwarzer, and Huxley Honeysett were able to be inducted into the Football Australia Hall of Fame via a public process, with the nominees then considered by a panel of Australian football historians.

The panel of historians provided their recommendations to the Football Australia Board, with Football Australia’s Directors subsequently ratifying each person’s elevation into the Football Australia Hall of Fame.

Football Australia Chair Chris Nikou was honoured to induct Heather Garriock, Kate Gill, Mark Schwarzer, and Joseph Huxley Honeysett into the Football Australia Hall of Fame at the match.

“The Football Australia Hall of Fame celebrates legends, and the people behind the legends, in our game,” Nikou said.

“Through their respective inductions into the Football Australia Hall of Fame – Kate, Heather, Mark, and Joe will forever be recognised as greats of Australian football – people that on and off the pitch showed their class and toiled for the sport to reach new heights.”

Football Australia Chief Executive Officer James Johnson sees the Football Australia Hall of Fame, launched in 1999 when the first inductions were made, as a list of great Australian football people.

“The Football Australia Hall of Fame features many icons of our sport – people that have represented Australia with aplomb domestically and internationally, have fought for the advancement of our sport, and have laid the foundations for future generations to grow the world game on Australian soil,” Johnson said.

“We warmly congratulate Joe, Mark, Heather, and Kate on their respective inductions – all are worthy of their position amongst the game’s greats, and I hope Mark, Heather, and Kate take great pride in their acknowledgement. Equally, I trust that Joe, who is being acknowledged posthumously, would have been thrilled to be inducted. The Huxley Honeysett name is now forever inscribed in Australian football’s history.”

The inductions of Gill, Garriock, Schwarzer, and Huxley Honeysett mark the first additions to the Football Australia Hall of Fame since Harry Kewell, Leigh Wardell, Branko Culina, and Sir Frank Lowy in 2019.

Despite the recent induction occurring in 2022, the quartet enter the Hall of Fame as 2021 inductees.

Another process will be held throughout 2022, as Football Australia seeks to recognise more people that have made an immense contribution to the Australian game.

FIFPRO Asia/Oceania report of AFC Champions League assesses the cost of competition for players and clubs

FIFPRO Asia/Oceania has published a report on key financial findings from the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) flagship club competition, the AFC Champions League (ACL).

The report, AFC Champions League Analysis Report: Counting the cost for players and clubs, was produced alongside sporting intelligence agency Twenty First Group (TFG).

This analysis is in response to the announcement of AFC Champions League Elite (ACLE) commencing in July this year, as revealed by the AFC in December 2022.

Based on TFG’s analysis, insights and feedback from participating players and clubs, the report addresses the feasibility of running ACLE with key factors including on-field quality and competitive balance, attendances and fan engagement, economics for clubs and players, travel and workload, competition design, and football development outcomes.

The research undertaken focusses on the value of introducing ACLE, based on the current operations of the ACL.

“This report analyses the merits and drawbacks of the current AFC Champions League based on various data and the results indicate that the merits do not outweigh the drawbacks for most players and clubs, making it an unsustainable system,” FIFPRO Asia/Oceania Chair Takuya Yamazaki outlines in the report.

“However, this does not mean that the future of football in Asia is bleak. On the contrary, we believe that this economically significant region can lead a discussion for truly sustainable competition formats.”

The report is the most comprehensive public analysis of the ACL and includes recommendations for what the AFC should be implementing.

“For players, the development of competitions is central to their employment conditions and future opportunities. As its primary workforce, the players are determined to play their role to shape a sustainable and innovation-driven future for the football sector in Asia,” Yamazaki added.

World Leagues Forum is involved in representing professional football leagues on a global level. General Secretary Jerome Perlemuter explained that collaboration between all stakeholders in the Asian region would help shape and deliver sustainable competitions.

“FIFPRO’s contribution to shaping the future of Asian continental competitions is most welcome,” Perlemuter said.

“Sustainable football development requires confederations, leagues and players to work together with a common objective to shape high potential continental competitions in a consistent global calendar. In this context, it is important to consider economic, geographical and cultural specificities. We look forward to continuing these discussions with FIFPRO and all stakeholders.”

To see the report in full, you can do so here.

Wellington Phoenix team up with Chinese outfit Tianjin Tiger

Wellington Phoenix have partnered with Chinese Super League team Tianjin Tiger to boost football growth in both nations.

As part of the Wellington Phoenix Tianjin Tiger Sister City Friendship, the clubs have agreed to hold an annual encounter between their men’s first teams.

The inaugural Wellington Phoenix F.C. vs. Tianjin Tiger F.C. Sister City Shield match is set to take place in Tianjin this September, with the second in Wellington next year.

The strategic collaboration was formed after Phoenix general manager David Dome visited Tianjin in September as part of a business delegation headed by Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau.

The club hosted a delegation from Tianjin, and the two sides signed the Memorandum of Understanding at the Mayor’s office.

Phoenix general manager David Dome was thrilled with the partnership going through.

“The mayoral delegation to China last year was invaluable and I’m thrilled about this partnership with Tianjin Jinmen Tiger, which will be of benefit to the club on multiple levels,” he said via press release.

“Not only will the men get to play a Chinese Super League side as part of their A-League pre-season each year, but the academy will soon benefit from an influx of footballers from Tianjin.

“We’re looking to grow our academy to have an international component and Tianjin Jinmen have committed to sending some young players to Wellington to attend training camps in July and we’re discussing the possibility of their juniors being part of a new international academy annual programme.

“International students are essential for the secondary and tertiary education sector in Wellington and we are evaluating how an elite international academy focused on football can be part of New Zealand’s international education offering.”

Wellington mayor Tory Whanau added that the city is excited about the opportunity. 

“I’d like to congratulate David Dome and the wider team for the work they’ve done on this MoU,” he stated via press release.

“I’m beyond stoked that the delegation last September has resulted in this MoU between the Wellington Phoenix and Tianjin Jinmen Tiger. 

“The development opportunities for both the clubs will be invaluable to not only football but also our cities.”

The Phoenix are enjoying a successful A-league campaign where they currently sit top of the table 18 games into the season.

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