Ken Stead departs Macarthur FC following short tenure

Macarthur FC Football Director Ken Stead was made redundant on Wednesday, despite only being in the role since October.

Stead, who has a wealth of experience across the world with the Socceroos, Wellington Phoenix and the Scottish Football Association amongst others, is not the only major figure in Campbelltown to be on the outer in recent weeks.

Executive chairman Rabieh Krayem quit only a few days ago, whilst Lang Walker sold his large stake in the club only last week.

Macarthur are certainly having a tough time and they haven’t even gotten out on the park yet.

However, A-League boss Greg O’Rourke believes that there is no need to panic, yet.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, O’Rourke said that “everything’s fine” and that the departures should be expected following the departure of Lang Walker as a stakeholder.

The property development company is staying on with the club as a major sponsor, as part of a five year deal with the expansion club.

The departure of Stead is certainly going to turn some heads, with the Scot a well-respected figure in Australian soccer circles.

As mentioned, he has filled various roles over the years. But none more well-known than his tenure at the Brisbane Roar.

During a time when Brisbane were dominant in the A-League with former Socceroos and current Yokohama F.Marinos head coach Ange Postecoglou, Stead was one of Ange’s right hand men in that successful period.

He was officially hired in late October last year, before he officially started the role in December.

Former CEO Archie Fraser also left his role only four months in during last year. When combined with the departures of Lang Walker, Krayem and now Stead, things look alarming.

Despite what O’Rourke says, it’s hard not to feel as if something is afoot in Campbelltown. How often do so many important members of a club leave within such a short amount of time, let alone after only just starting in their roles?

The team hasn’t even had the chance to take to the field yet.

The last thing the A-League needs is for its second expansion club to get into off-field troubles. For all of what Western United have been able to achieve during their first season in the league, they are facing some difficulties.

The club has the fifth highest average age in the comp and is one of five teams to have an average age of 26 or over. A lot of reliance has been placed on their older players such as captain Alessandro Diamanti and former teammate at Bologna, Greek international Panagiotis Kone.

Their stadium is supposed to be up by 2021, yet development seems to have been left on pause ala a game of FIFA. Attendance is up there as the worst in the league and many would suggest it would be the very worst in the league, if theoretically, the club wasn’t based in Melbourne.

Currently, Western is second last behind the Central Coast Mariners on both average and total attendance for season 2019/2020. They also hold the record for the lowest attendance of the season.

Just under 3,000 people attended their round 19 loss to the Brisbane Roar. Granted, the game took place at Mars Stadium in Ballarat.

But the point still remains. There is much left to be desired when it comes to Western United’s inaugural season in the A-League.

There is still plenty of time for Macarthur to get themselves ready to go for round one next season and one can hope both them and Western United will turn into strong A-League clubs in the coming years.

What are your thoughts on the departure of Ken Stead from Macarthur FC? Are you worried that there may be a lack of cohesion behind the scenes in western Sydney?

Or are you confident that the A-League and Macarthur are still on track and will be ready for the start of the 2020/2021 A-League season?

Get involved in the discussion on Twitter @Soccersceneau and don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly newsletter to view more articles like this as well as other pieces.

Caelum Ferrarese is a Senior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on micro policy within Australasia and industry disruptions at grassroots level.

Paramount+ secures Premier League deal overseas

A-Leagues broadcaster Paramount+ has secured a three-year deal for English Premier League broadcast rights in Mexico and Central America.

A-Leagues broadcaster Paramount+ has secured a three-year deal for English Premier League rights in Mexico and Central America from the start of the 2022/23 season.

The new partnership will mark the end of pay-TV provider Sky Mexico’s reign as the only Premier League broadcaster in the region.

All 380 English Premier League matches will be streamed live through Paramount+ and ‘PlutoTV’ who is the aggregated streaming platform for Paramount+.

The contract covers Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. It also includes Belize and the Dominican Republic but on a non-exclusive basis.

Paramount+, owned by ViacomCBS, has also secured a Premier League feed for its platforms featuring 24/7 coverage of the competition.

ViacomCBS launched Paramount+ in the US in 2019 with several high-profile soccer rights acquisitions. This included International matches, CONCACAF, UEFA Champions League, as well as top flight football from Italy, Argentina and Brazil.

The Premier League rights deal marks an expansion of operations in Central America ahead of moving into a number of additional territories by 2023, including the UK, Ireland, Germany and Italy.

Premier League Chief Executive Officer, Paul Molnar:

“We are very happy that ViacomCBS views the Premier League and our clubs as a vital part of their live sports offering,” he said.

“ViacomCBS platforms, including Paramount+ and Pluto TV, will be an outstanding home for the Premier League and we look forward to working together to showcase the league to new and existing fans throughout Central America and Mexico.”

Paramount+ has already made their mark in Australia, providing live coverage for A-League men’s and women’s competitions for subscribers to the platform.

ViacomCBS President and Chief Executive, Raffaele Annecchino:

“We know audiences around the world are passionate about sports, and especially about football. This partnership with the Premier League brings exclusive content directly to those fans, live for the first time on Paramount+ in Mexico and Central America,” he said.

“Live sports are an important differentiator for our streaming service, and as we’ve seen in the US and Australia, we are confident this will drive subscriber growth as we continue to offer the best mix of entertainment and now – live sports.”

LaLiga celebrates five years of international growth

LaLiga has celebrated five years of it's very own unique international structure that has driven worldwide expansion of the competition.

LaLiga has celebrated five years of it’s very own unique international structure that has driven worldwide expansion of the competition, turning the Spanish league into a world-leading reference for the sports industry.

The LaLiga Global Network program was launched in early January 2017, and is present in 41 different countries, with 44 on-site delegates and another 11 employees working from LaLiga headquarters in Madrid.

The program also has 11 international offices and two joint ventures in North America and China. The international expansion strategy has covered over 90 different countries, boasting an extreme amount of growth throughout a five-year period.

It is a big reason why more and more people around the world are falling in love with LaLiga football.

LaLiga executive director Oscar Mayo:

“Five years ago, we embarked on an ambitious mission to bring the entertainment and emotion of LaLiga to more fans around the world and to help grow football as a sport everywhere,” he said.

“We are very proud that LaLiga and its main protagonists, clubs, players, coaches, are closer today to more people around the world than ever before.

“That said, this is just the beginning, together with clubs and with the support of our new partner CVC, we will give our international efforts a massive boost.”

The internationalisation strategy has had a positive effect in the growth of the community within LaLiga facts across the globe, as the league now possesses 146 million followers.

LaLiga produces plenty of content, however what is unique is that the content is published in over 20 different languages across 17 different social media platforms, allowing discussions about the league to occur in many different places.

Out of all the top five leagues in Europe, LaLiga has the largest following. Even in recent years, the number of international activations organised by LaLiga has doubled, reaching 1,222 across more than 90 countries.

Mayo continued:

“When it comes to football fans outside of Spain, we always say that we would like to be everyone’s second most popular league, after their local league,” he said.

“National leagues are the true engine of football and that’s why LaLiga is sharing the recipe of its own success with leagues, federations and clubs around the world.

“The growing number of commercial partnerships around the world is a sign of the increasing relevance of LaLiga. Our commercial partner are a very important part of LaLiga fan engagement.”

La Liga has had 247% in the value of the competitions’ international audiovisual rights since 2013/14 and a boost to the value of the LaLiga brand.

The numbers confirm that Spanish football has captivated fans all over the world, whilst attesting to the success of the internationalisation process.

“We are on an exciting journey to entertain people around the globe. We will continue to make bold bets to bring Spanish football fans everywhere great entertainment and to introduce our competition to more people everywhere. We are only just getting started,” Mayo said.

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