Legends of Australian football inducted into Football Australia Hall of Fame

Football Australia

The celebratory atmosphere sparked by the CommBank Matildas’ 4-0 triumph over world No. 2 Sweden on Saturday at Melbourne’s AAMI Park was further enhanced by Football Australia’s induction of six greats of Australian football into the Football Australia Hall of Fame.

Matildas’ greats Moya Dodd and Collette Gardiner (née McCallum), former Socceroos’ Head Coach Ange Postecoglou, globally revered administrator Brendan Schwab, leading Tasmanian media personality Walter Pless, plus past Socceroo and significant contributor to the Australian game off the pitch, Ted Smith, joined an esteemed list of Australian football personalities in the Football Australia Hall of Fame.

All six were nominated 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 said in a statement:

“The Football Australia Hall of Fame is the highest honour bestowed upon players and participants who have served the game – either on or off the field – with distinction, with no better demonstration of this than our Class of 2022.

“These six highly regarded figures of the Australian football community have not only made significant contributions at a local and national level but in the case of Moya (Dodd), Ange (Postecoglou), and Brendan (Schwab), their impact and influence has been felt on the global stage.

“With Australia to co-host the FIFA Women’s World Cup next year, it’s timely that one of Australia’s greatest female footballers in Collette Gardiner is acknowledged for her pioneering feats, along with former Socceroo Ted Smith who continues to play an important role with our men’s national team, and Walter Press for his unwavering dedication to the promotion of football in Tasmania.”

Since the initial induction of 84 players and participants in 1999, more than 250 male and female players, coaches, referees, administrators, and media representatives have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to our game.

Following the induction of the sextet, Football Australia Chief Executive Officer James Johnson added via press release:

“The Football Australia Hall of Fame is an exclusive club featuring members of our community who have represented Australia with the highest of distinction, have influenced the corridors of power to drive our sport forward, or given tirelessly to support the growth of the game.”

“The six newest inductees are outstanding ambassadors for Australian football, and I would like to provide our warmest of congratulations to Moya (Dodd), Collette (Gardiner), Walter (Pless), Ange (Postecoglou), Brendan (Schwab), and Ted (Smith) on their richly deserved recognition and thank them for their important contribution to our great 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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