La Liga president targets the league restart for June

La Liga president Javier Tebas has discussed the latest developments for La Liga, as he targets the league restart for June.

Speaking on the El Partidazo #VolverEsGanar (#BackToWin) show by La Liga broadcaster Movistar, Tebas addressed that a restart date for the Spanish top-flight will fall in mid-June 2020.

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Following the developments of an easing of restrictions in Spain, it has given La Liga the licence to map out how their restart will work.

“It wasn’t agreed beforehand, and it took us by surprise that the Spanish President announced it when he did,” Tebas said.

“We always knew the announcement would come, though. We’ve been working on this for months with the CSD (Spanish High Sports Council) and now it’s been given the green light by the President of Spain.

“We’re grateful to the Spanish government; as in other sectors they’re looking to kick-start the economy and Spanish football has a key part to play.”

As for when the La Liga restart will likely be, it all depended on what the government decided first and the league could go from there.

“The President spoke about playing from June 8th onwards because the Spanish government puts changes in ‘de-escalation phase’ into effect on Mondays,” Tebas said.

“That Sunday, the country would be in Phase 2, which is when we’d be able to hold matches in stadiums across Spain. Now we need to see what day of the week we start playing.

“We need to link it to each club’s training phases. We’d like to see as much parity as possible in that sense. What’s for certain is that it will start the weekend of June 12th, or even on Thursday June 11th.

“It’s not decided yet; we need to align the phases, meet with the Spanish Football federation and the CSD (Spanish High Sports Council) to finalise everything.”

Tebas has confirmed that La Liga’s preference of the first game back would be Sevilla FC vs Real Betis – the Seville derby.

“We need to bear in mind that different Autonomous Communities are in different ‘de-escalation phases,’ which means certain codes of conduct in certain parts of the country could affect our protocol,” Tebas said.

“If we progress as the Spanish president says, it is possible that we make Thursday June 11th. If not, it would be the 12th, or the 13th. Fingers crossed it will be Thursday 11th at 10pm Spanish time.”

For the league to prepare for the restart, training details have also been revealed.

“Full group training will be from next Monday (June 1st) onwards,” Tebas said.

“This week, players will train in groups of up to 14 and it’s not planned for them to train all together until next week.

“We need to maintain as much caution and care as possible. We’ve gone through some very difficult and complicated moments during this pandemic and we don’t want to jump the gun.”

It was also mentioned that Spain could have high temperatures during the times they’d normally play.

While it’s early days, the La Liga president may need to target different kick-off times to combat the changed conditions in seperate parts of the country.

“Our plan for kick-off times during the week would be to play in the afternoon or evening, between 7.30-8pm or 9.30-10pm,” Tebas said.

“Over the weekend, there would be three slots: 5pm, 7.30pm, 9.30 or 10pm. It hasn’t been decided yet, we’re looking at it with our broadcasters.

“But obviously, we’d plan for those 5pm games to be those played up on Spain’s northern coast where temperatures in June and July don’t exceed 28°C.”

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

Football West CEO James Curtis steps down to usher in new leadership

Football West

Football West have announced that James Curtis will be stepping down from his position as Chief Executive Officer, after more than five years in the role. As he makes his transition, Football West have now commenced their succession planning.

The decision taken by Curtis reaffirms Football West’s dedication as an organisation to fostering long-term growth through the benefits provided by leadership succession.

Football West Chairman Sherif Andrawes praised Curtis’ strong leadership and commitment to delivering a long-term legacy for football in Western Australia, since commencing in the role in 2016.

“James has been an outstanding CEO and his focus on driving long-term growth, investment and community benefit have contributed to a bright future for football,” Andrawes said.

“His commitment to working with all parts of the WA community and government to engage with football and being a leader driving diversity, inclusion and engagement has ensured football is positioned well for the future of the game.

“With significant achievements including funding for the long-awaited WA State Football Centre, securing the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in WA and establishing the Football Futures Foundation, there have been many successes during his tenure.”

Curtis conveyed that it was the right time to step down from the role and to transition leadership, with Football West strongly positioned for leveraging record growth.

“We have built a great team across Western Australia that is well positioned to continue building on our strong foundations. After more than five years in the position and rebuilding from the impact of COVID-19, we are ready for a new CEO to implement and deliver our future strategy,” Curtis said.

“I have enjoyed working closely with our Board and our valued partners across government, corporate and the football community to deliver major milestones for the game in WA and establish strong partnerships across Asia for WA football.

“We have a vibrant and passionate football community that will continue to grow on the back of strong clubs and volunteers and our dedicated Football West team.”

Curtis will continue his involvement with football as a Non-Executive Director of Football Futures Foundation – which is chaired by Nick Tana, and supporting the transition to find the new CEO.

Football West has commenced an internal and external search for the company’s next CEO.

Football Victoria promotion denial set for challenge

Football Victoria has announced that it will only be filling existing vacancies, resisting the challenge from the United Football Group of Clubs to push ahead with promotion and relegation.

Football Victoria has announced that it will only be filling existing vacancies, resisting the challenge from the United Football Group of Clubs to push ahead with promotion and relegation.

Football Victoria announced the cancellation of the remainder of the season in Metropolitan Melbourne on September 3 2021, in which it also revealed that promotion and relegation would not proceed.

Since that announcement, over 40 clubs had joined forces, assembling under the United Football Group of Clubs (United Football) banner, to challenge the decision.

As revealed by Soccerscene last month, United Football made a formal submission to Football Victoria, presenting three options for consideration by the board:

  1. Promotion and Recognition of Champions based on current standings or points per matches played method, with or without relegation.
  2. Restructure of the leagues to achieve the desired effect of promotion/relegation, completed in line with the 2021 Football Australia Performance Gap Report.
  3. Align with Football Victoria principles and fixture the outstanding games between teams who have not played against each other to complete the season and award promotion and relegation. Given the current COVID situation, it is recognised that this may be the least likely scenario.

In its announcement this afternoon, Football Victoria has seemingly turned down all three options.

“Football Victoria (FV) can confirm it will proceed with filling existing and resulting vacancies across our Men’s and Women’s State League competitions, in accordance with the 2021 Rules of Competition,” reads the statement on the Football Victoria website.

“Under item 10.4 in the Men’s State League (1-4) and item 15.7 in the Women’s State League (1-4) 2021 Rules of Competition, the FV Board confirms that vacancies will be filled using the Order of Merit process. Men’s & Women’s State League 5 competition vacancies will be filled by using the New Club Application or Team Entry process.

“With the 2021 season being deemed incomplete, only Men’s and Women’s State League vacancies will be filled in 2022, with NPL Victoria optimal league structures to be considered from the 2023 season.

“Average Points Per Game (total points divided by number of games played) at the point the 2021 season was cancelled will be used to determine final ladder positions in 2021 and inform the Order of Merit. Further detail on the Order of Merit process is available here.”

The ruling means that the current NPL Victoria structure will remain in place, whilst in the State Leagues below, only existing vacancies will be filled.

In the Men’s State Leagues, one team across State Leagues 2, 3, 4 and 5 will be promoted, whilst four teams will enter State League 5 via a new club application process.

In the Women’s competition, one team will be promoted from State League 2 to 1, two will be promoted from State League 3 to 2, three teams will be promoted from State League 4 to 3, four teams will be promoted from State League 5 to 4, whilst five new clubs will enter State League 5 via a new club application process.

The Football Victoria statement sets a deadline of 5pm Monday October 25, 2021 to implement these changes.

The United Football Group of Clubs met last night to discuss the decision, with chairperson Zak Gruevski confirming the clubs intend to take the matter further.

“The Football Victoria statement yesterday effectively dismissed the range of options put forward by the United Football Group of Clubs,” he told Soccerscene.

“As a group, we are very disappointed and believe this decision is not in the best interests of the game, particularly given indications that a restructure of the game was being considered as a reasonable outcome.

“Our clubs met overnight and we are seeking the appropriate counsel to pursue this matter further.”

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