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Future of Football 2020+ constitutional reforms passed by Football Queensland
Queensland have taken massive strides towards a stronger footballing future with the announcement that constitutional reforms have been passed across the game.
In what is significant news for the state, the Future of Football 2020+ constitutional reforms have been passed following a vote at the Football Queensland Extraordinary General Meeting held on Saturday, August 28.
FQ Members voted on 11 resolutions put forward with an overwhelming show of support for the Future of Football 2020+ reforms, the first the game has seen in 20 years.
Football Queensland President Ben Richardson acknowledged the significance of the occasion for the state’s footballing participants.
“Today is a momentous day for football in Queensland and we have reached an incredibly exciting milestone. I want to thank our members and the wider football community for embracing change and for their feedback, input and support throughout this state-wide 14-month process,” he said.
“Importantly, today’s outcome represents another crucial step towards the implementation of the ‘One Football’ model outlined in Football Australia’s XI Principles, highlighting the need for a modern streamlined governance framework that will better serve the game, reduce duplication, improve affordability and the quality of football product delivered.”
Football Queensland CEO Robert Cavallucci explained that the focus of the Future of Football 2020+ process has now shifted to implementation of key reforms to strengthen the game and its delivery across the state.
“We can now move forward with common purpose and with certainty we can continue to unite football in Queensland behind a modern, streamlined, responsive, efficient and effective governance and administrative framework from which the entire football community will benefit,” he said.
“2020 and 2021 saw great change across our game in Queensland, our competitions and administration, all built around delivering important reforms to the game.
“2022 and beyond will see years of stability, with remaining elements of these generational reforms implemented, with a focus shifting towards unlocking the commercial potential of our game, improving services to community clubs, improving affordability and preparing our infrastructure for the Women’s World Cup in 2023.”
Football Australia CEO James Johnson congratulated Football Queensland for taking important steps forward in the governance of football across the state.
“We congratulate the Board and Members of Football Queensland on this positive step forward for football in Queensland,” he said.
“Football Queensland have recognised the need to review and modernise its structures so that it can better meet the challenges of modern-day football and deliver the game more effectively and with greater impact for all participants in Queensland.
“This is a significant milestone for football in Queensland and we look forward to seeing the continued growth of the game across the state.”
Football St George has announced that former Capital Football CEO Phil Brown has been appointed as the new General Manager of the Association.
Having been in charge of the Australian Capital Territory’s representative football association for nearly six years, Phil is an extremely accomplished football administrator who is equipped to lead and harness the many strengths and vitality of the St George Association’s Member Clubs, players, coaches, and volunteers.
Brown will commence his role as General Manager in January 2022 and the Football St George Board are excited to welcome him on board. They are regarded as one of Australia’s most iconic grassroots football associations.
“Grassroots football has always, and continues to be, a fundamental part of my personal and professional life,” Brown said.
“I look forward to joining Football St George in January 2022 and hope to share the experience and knowledge I have developed through my time with the Asian Football Confederation, Football Australia, Football NSW and Capital Football to continue the great work done by the Association, Clubs, and Referees Branch to provide opportunity for all people to play football.
“I appreciate the trust the Football St George Board has placed in me and will do my utmost to support and grow football in the region.”
FSG Chairperson and Executive Director Irene Hatzipetros was delighted with the Association’s new acquisition.
“FSG are extremely fortunate to be able to secure the services of Phil as our new General Manager,” she said.
“Phil is a proven and highly respected leader with a complete grasp of all levels of football be it local grassroots, junior development, women expansion and elite NPL relationships.
“Importantly he will be actively involved in increasing participation at all levels, gain access to more and improved facilities for our growing needs and foster greater community engagement for our Association.
“The FSG Board look forward to 2022 with much excitement and working closely with Phil, the Football St George team, and our Member Clubs to deliver a fantastic and enjoyable season to the entire St George football community.”
As 2021 draws to a close, it has proved to be another fantastic year of growth for the game.
With the 2023 Women’s World Cup on home soil edging closer, the tournament is one of the main driving forces behind facility funding and infrastructure in particular that will play a key role for the Matildas and visiting teams.
In a recap of 2021 highlights, Soccerscene picks out five contributors towards a groundbreaking year for Australian football.
The APL have officially been given the reigns
The long-awaited hand over of Australia’s professional leagues has provided A-League club owners with greater impetus to invest than ever before. The impact of the unbundling, which was officially confirmed at the last possible minute on December 31, 2020, is yet to be fully realised. But it has to be said that the signs thus far point to a positive future for football.
The Australian Professional Leagues (APL), the entity charged with growing the professional leagues in Australia, have already begun to endear themselves to the passionate domestic football fanbase, simply through making substantial decisions for the benefit of football in the short and long-term.
So far, the APL have delivered. A unified A-Leagues which has seen the Men’s and Women’s game united under one banner; the wholehearted support of broadcaster 10 ViacomCBS as the home of Australian football; the launch of the KEEPUP digital platform to serve as the go-to hub for all things domestic and international football; and a $100 million investment into football here from American private equity firm Silver Lake.
There is no denying that those who have sought to take the game in a positive direction are seeking to do as such through their actions, rather than their words.
Investment in National Premier Leagues infrastructure across the country
National Premier Leagues (NPL) sides across Australia placed a significant focus on the growth and investment into their infrastructure in 2021.
As of November, the upgrades to Clennett’s Lightwood Park are underway, ensuring that Kingborough Lions FC’s home ground will be given a significant opportunity to potentially host training basecamps for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.
The club were recipients of a portion of the Tasmanian Government’s $10 million pledge to upgrade facilities in preparation for hosting World Cup content.
NPL NSW 4 side Parramatta Eagles FC were successful in securing a well-overdue upgrade to the iconic Melita Stadium. The Eagles contributed $20,000 to the upgrade and were successful in obtaining $50,000 from the Community Building Partnerships Program.
Melita Stadium is a historic venue known to all that love the world game and has been given a new lease on life thanks to the funding. Beyond the historic relevance, the arrival of the upgrade to Melita Stadium in 2021 contains with it the symbolic implication of an overriding investment into football facilities across the board.
Edgeworth Eagles’ nearly $1.5 million development has ushered the historic Northern NSW side into a new era. A quarter of a million of the investment went into floodlighting to provide adequate lighting for the club’s many programs and teams, leaving them as the only NPL side with 500 Lux on their ground.
The facility has two full size rectangular pitches, a 21x12m fully enclosed futsal court, a mini pitch (suitable for MiniRoos), four female-friendly changerooms as well as a fully accessible sports pavilion, community social room and expanded carpark.
The efforts being made by these clubs (and plenty more) must be commended, particularly in light of yet another COVID-19 impacted season that forced competitions across the country to end early.
State federations make strides to advance the game
Exciting partnership news extended across the country, with notable deals including: Football South Australia announcing a new eight-year partnership with leading LED manufacturer One World LED & Sportal; Football West linking up with Veo Technologies to support West Australian clubs; and Capital Football beginning their new apparel partnership with Australian sports clothing manufacturer ISC.
Football Queensland have taken immense strides as a member federation this year, following the release of Future of Football 2020+. In August, FQ Members voted on 11 resolutions put forward with an overwhelming show of support for the Future of Football 2020+ reforms, the first the game has seen in 20 years.
Football West CEO James Curtis stepped down from his role with the intention of setting a precedent of leadership succession for the West Coast’s representative football federation, and perhaps for Australian football as a whole.
In a sport where in-fighting and over-politicising has undoubtedly impeded the game in the past, such movements are indicative of the changing approach to how football is governed.
The women’s game is given the focus it deserves
With the excitement of an upcoming Women’s World Cup to be co-hosted with New Zealand in 2023, opportunities have finally been presented to the women’s game to give it the attention and investment it has deserved. Such spotlight is undeniably overdue, especially considering the overwhelming presence and support of the Matildas across the Australian sporting public.
With the women’s game expected to grow in interest and participation over the next decade, female friendly amenities are essential in ensuring a safe and inviting space is facilitated for women to prepare for competition and training.
The lack of female friendly football facilities has been slowly rectified in 2021, with the likes of Nepean Football Association side, St Marys Band Rangers FC, recently seeing an upgrade to the facility at their home ground, Kevin Dwyer Fields. Fresh paint, new bench seating and most importantly lockable showers and toilets for females has been added to the existing change rooms.
Football Australia’s announcement in August of a High Performance Coaching Initiative will look to help women’s football move beyond the well documented barriers. In an Australian football first, over 150 women coaches at various levels will partake in a comprehensive study to better understand their coaching landscape in the first phase of the Initiative.
By taking on an evidence-based approach, women coaches in football will be supported, engaged with, developed, and retained to increase the numbers in high performance.
For regional football, a NSW Government funded talent identification and youth development program was announced in January to take place over the next three years to help young girls who aspire to play for the Matildas.
The $750,000 initiative is designed for girls aged 12 to 18 years old, with funding to support the establishment of training hubs across the state and identifying talented young players will be further supported through the provision of training camps and player support scholarships.
Australian football finally has the ‘new dawn’ it’s been waiting for
Starting anew, with expansive scope available to Football Australia, the APL and the member federations to lead Australian football out of its tumultuous, and often chaotic, adolescent years, the opportunity is now here to ensure that Australian football reaches its lofty potential.
There is plenty to be excited for, particularly with a National Second Division touted for 2023 that will arguably stamp Football Australia and the APL’s commitment to uniting the game between the professional, semi-professional and grassroots tiers.
Ultimately however, Australian football needs to work to win back many fans who have become disenchanted with how the game has been run. In an interview with Soccerscene ahead of the A-Leagues season, 10 ViacomCBS Executive Producer Geoff Bullock acknowledged that the broadcasters were looking to bring a “fan-first approach to broadcasting football” in Australia. If one thing is clear about the future, Australian football must reignite the passion of the fans in this country.
References to a ‘new dawn’ for Australian football will understandably be taken with a grain of salt from the footballing public. But even the most tentative Australian football adherent would feel a greater hope and optimism for the future. It’s simply a matter of patience.