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Indian Super League to work towards new league system

The AFC

In a report from the AFC, the power brokers at the ISL (Indian Super League) will be looking to revamp the league system to try and improve the sport in India.

This news comes as it was recently revealed that the ISL champions would enter a play-off place in the Asian Champions League competition.

It is nice to see that India is trying to move forward and introduce a competent system with promotion and relegation, in a bid to be recognised as a soccer nation.

Australia has had similar problems over the years and the similarities are hard to miss.

Let’s hope that like us Aussies, the Indians can start building towards a new era.

Full release below:

Kuala Lumpur: Indian football today was presented with a roadmap for the reform process for the club game in the country – with the Indian Super League (ISL) being recognised as the top league in India starting from this 2019-2020 season.

The ISL champions would also be entitled to a play-off place in the AFC Champions League and the I-League champions would take a place in the AFC Cup in ‘a package that takes into consideration the recommendations of FIFA/AFC report of 2017.’

Dato’ Windsor John, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) General Secretary, said at a meeting convened in Kuala Lumpur: “Everyone has to put the good of Indian football at the forefront and take the best decisions to develop Indian club football. The AFC will be very much involved to ensure the growth of the game to the next level with the pathway to a single league.

“Every point of this package – and it is a package – has been thought-out extremely carefully and it is aimed simply at providing the best chance to develop Indian club football. We have informed AIFF that 10-12 teams are not enough for the top League – it must be bigger.

“Everyone has contributed to the development of the Indian club game – ISL, I-League clubs, the AIFF and the AFC – and I am sure that if this roadmap is considered further then Indian football will see the benefits for the game. We are now all working together to deliver the best future.”

All India Football Federation (AIFF) General Secretary Kushal Das, added: “We now have a roadmap which provides the best opportunity for Indian club football. I would like to thank the AFC – and its General Secretary – for their contribution in proposing a solution to this unique problem. India is an important country for football in Asia.

“We have to be financially sustainable and take into consideration all commercial and contractual aspects of this plan because commerce is key to football not only in India but across the world of football. We must be cognisant of that fact of football life, that footballing legacy and investment are equally important for the development of Indian football.”

The proposal will now be presented to the AFC Executive Committee and the AIFF Executive Committee. The roadmap is:

  • In season 2019-20, the ISL will attain the status of premiere league competition in Indian football.
  • As a special compensation to India, the AFC will allow the winning ISL club to represent India in the AFC Champions League play-offs, and the I-League winner will get to play the AFC Cup play-off.
  • Another key recommendation by the AFC is to open a pathway for two I-League clubs’ entry into the ISL by the end of the 2020-21 season, subject to the criteria being fulfilled.
  • In addition, starting with the 2022-23 season, the winner of I-League will stand a chance to be promoted to the ISL with no participation fee, basis fulfilling sporting merit and the national club licensing criteria to be set out by the AIFF. There will be no relegation in the ISL at this time.
  • In its recommendation for 2024-25, it is agreed to fully implement promotion and relegation into the top league, and abolition of two parallel leagues.

Fox looking to add virtual fans to broadcast

Virtual fans

Fox in the United States is looking to add fans into their coverage even with empty stadiums, using virtual reality (VR) technology.

According to the New York Post, the media company, along with fellow broadcasters ESPN, NBC, CBS and Turner Sports, are seeking to improve the fan experience at home by bringing in VR technology to enhance their viewing of the game.

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As all sporting events are most likely to only be shown behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is an idea that could serve a valuable purpose for the foreseeable future until it’s safe for spectators to return in mass gatherings.

Fox broadcaster Joe Buck has been adamant in suggesting that virtual fans are something we should expect to see, as broadcasters work out the best way to implement it.

Speaking on SiriusXM’s Andy Cohen Live, the addition of fake crowd noise could add some extra excitement to contests.

“[Virtual fans is] pretty much a done deal,” Buck said.

“I think whoever is going to be at that control is going to have to be really good at their job and be realistic with how a crowd would react depending on what just happened on the field. So it’s really important.

“And then on top of that … They’re looking at ways to put virtual fans in the stands, so when you see a wide shot it looks like the stadium is jam-packed and in fact it’ll be empty.”

The German Bundesliga recently restarted between closed doors, but there was definitely an eerie feeling without the atmosphere.

If you watched the derby between Dortmund vs Schalke, there is potential for crowd noise to be filtered through around the PA systems, as each of Dortmund’s goals were followed by chants by the intimidating yellow wall.

With crowd noise absent completely, it could hinder a club’s dominance at home with familiar comforts, or remove just a little bit of normality during these strange times.

As we’ve seen with Fox, they would just like to make games seem as though it’s like the old times, despite adding the technology being a challenge.

2023 Women’s World Cup: Host to be announced June 25

Australia and New Zealand will find out whether they will host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in under six weeks’ time.

FIFA have confirmed the successful candidate will be announced on June 25, following a vote by their council.

Alongside the joint Australian and New Zealand bid, Brazil, Colombia and Japan are still in the running to host the 2023 event.

“We believe that our proven ability to deliver the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 is a key strength of our bid,” FFA Chairman Chris Nikou said.

“Our world-class infrastructure, modern stadia, high-quality football facilities in both Australia and New Zealand and major event hosting experience ensure certainty in delivering the first 32 team FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“From operational excellence, record-breaking crowds, commercial success, strong government support, a warm embrace from our 200 diverse cultures to a genuine profound legacy across the Asia-Pacific region, Australia-New Zealand offers certainty in uncertain times, as well as impact,” he said.

New Zealand Football President Johanna Wood said: “Our proposal offers FIFA a ground-breaking approach to hosting its greatest women’s tournament.  We are two nations from two confederations, united in proposing a historic and exciting step forward for world football.

“We will be a tournament of firsts. The first ever co-Confederation hosted FIFA World Cup, the first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in the Asia-Pacific region, and the first ever to be held in the southern hemisphere.

“And as important as all of this, we are nations proud of our commitment to equality and fairness and would embody a FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 built on common humanity through football.

“As the world looks to adapt and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, our bid offers an exciting vision to bring the world together As One in 2023 to celebrate women’s football and inspire women and girls around the world,” she concluded.

Stuart Hodge addresses future for Football NSW

Stuart Hodge

Football NSW Chief Executive Officer Stuart Hodge has addressed key topics on the association’s radar in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking on the CDSFA Community Football Podcast, Hodge is keen for the league to restart as soon as it’s safe to do so.

“I certainly think the government have to take in a lot of factors as we’ve seen with the pandemic – anything can change one day to the next,” he said.

“It was a positive step forward that they’ve got the national principles and the government and NSW will now review those and look at guidelines.

“They’ll have to balance that up with other information that they have and state-specific information here in NSW.

“We’re hopeful given that from some of the surveys which we’ve seen that most people are keen to get out and play again.

“The physical, mental and social benefits are well documented, but we have to make sure we do it under the right conditions and that is when the government says it’s okay.”

The flow on effect of the competition’s postponement will be how clubs juggle summer sports with councils if they clash later down the line, something Hodge is aware of.

“It’s a challenge for all of them and we’re in discussions with some summer sports to try and get some principles in place that if we get football resumed, we’ll have some additional time beyond what we normally get,” he said.

“From some associations, the feedback is from councils have been very sympathetic.

“We’ve collectively lost a couple months of the season already so the opportunity to play a little bit later into the year would be welcomed.

“We’re also conscious that we want to try and keep things on track for next year when hopefully we return on time.

“It’s a balance because we appreciate that there’s also participants that are involved in multiple sports so we’re wanting to help them out and not over-burden them.

“Councils also need to turn fields around although I noticed some of them looking magnificent at the moment.

“We’ve had some very big discussions and hopefully it’s just a fair and reasonable approach which is all we’re asking for.”

One of the main issues across all sports due to postponements has been the topic of refunds, with games in professional sport being played behind closed doors.

While there’s still the unknown about when fans can return to grounds in 2020 and beyond, Hodge has clarified how Football NSW will look to navigate through this tricky time.

“I think in the interim if people are facing financial hardship then of course they should be in touch with their club to get a refund,” Hodge said.

“If the season gets underway then we’ll have to redo our modelling and look at what the fee structures are.

“I hope we do get back on the field and we can go down that path – if the season doesn’t get played then everyone will have to sit and remodel what the costs are and things like that.”

Since this podcast was published on 5th May, Football NSW have moved a step closer to resuming training at the very least with the NSW Government confirming an easing of restrictions – taking affect from Friday 15th May including:

  • outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people
  • cafes and restaurants can seat 10 patrons at any one time
  • up to 5 visitors to a household at any one time
  • weddings up to 10 guests
  • indoor funerals up to 20 mourners, outdoor funerals up to 30
  • religious gatherings/places of worship up to 10 worshipers
  • use of outdoor equipment with caution
  • outdoor pools open with restrictions.

In a recent press release, it’s mentioned the Office of Sport is working closely with government agencies about how sporting organisations can safely return to action.

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