Melbourne Victory’s three-year community strategy to improve youth football landscape

Melbourne Victory Community Strategy

Melbourne Victory have released an extensive three-year community strategy with the overall goal to improve the current youth football landscape for Victorians in a multitude of areas.

Caroline Carnegie, managing director of Melbourne Victory, stated that club is with an emphasis on the importance of making football more accessible to the youth.

The executive summary explains: “Melbourne Victory has a proud history of supporting the Victorian community. We are the club for all Victorians, striving to lead, unite, connect and inspire generations through football. Although football is central to everything we do, we are more than football.”

The Strategic Plan has three pillars that centre the whole project and its philosophy:

Purpose: Melbourne Victory has an obligation to ensure football is accessible and empowering to all. We are responsible for stewarding a community that leverages football to positively impact lives.

Vision: Victory is committed to lead, united, connect and inspire generations through football. The Club will ensure every young Victorian has an opportunity to reach their potential whilst enjoying a happy and healthy life.

Mission: Creating a passionate and connected community where all people are welcome and all people belong, Melbourne Victory will actively engage disadvantaged/vulnerable Victorian youth in the development and delivery of meaningful football programs that lead to positive social impact. We will actively reduce the barriers to accessing quality football experiences, improving the overall health, wellbeing and social connectedness of young Victorians

Melbourne Victory also set concrete targets they wanted to be achieved by the end of the strategic plan in 2025. These include:

  • Increase program delivery by 50% (From 70 to 105 total)
  • Increase program participants by 50% (From 15,000 to 22,500)
  • Increase grassroots football club engagement by 10%
  • Increase school program delivery by 100%
  • Increase MVFC football pathway program delivery by 33%
  • Increase female participation by 166%
  • Increase CALD program delivery by 50%

The club also is focusing on four strategic priorities in order to efficiently use their resources and ultimately have the greatest impact they can on the progression of the young kids into adulthood. These are:

Participation

Increasing opportunities for people unfamiliar with the game of football to participate as a coach, player, administrator, volunteer or fan in the club’s attempt to provide an enjoyable experience for Victorian youth.

Education

Melbourne Victory support the development of skills for wider learning, work and life. They will leverage the beautiful game to encourage vulnerable youth to better engage with their education.

Gender Equity

Victory will support representatives of LGBTI+ communities in breaking down cultural barriers and making football a safe environment for all. They will also be providing accessible, welcoming and enjoyable opportunities for girls to play, coach and watch football.

Cultural Diversity

Victory want to celebrate and welcome the many cultures seen in Victoria using football, the global sport. Providing a safe space is important in growing the multiculturalism in the game amongst the youth.

The club in the community strategy suggest that whilst there is a clear rationale for each of the four priorities, they will combine them all in their programs.

Victory are also going to monitor the overall results of their football programs by following seven critical factors. These will be in addition to the targets set already for the three-year span of this project.

  • MVFC club culture and operations embedded in its community programming sector
  • Financial sustainability to help reduce costs for participants to play locally
  • Program design and relationship building with the Victorian community to deliver programs to clubs and areas that need it the most
  • Networking and keeping positive relations with key stakeholders like the federal and state governments, schools and grassroots clubs
  • Program delivery being at an elite standard
  • Workforce capacity amongst the community programs
  • Evaluation through quantitative and qualitative feedback to determine success.

It’s great to see an A-League club like Melbourne Victory take initiative in providing support and resources for the youth and future of football in this state and the country, an area that does need more focus if Australia want to sustain a healthy relationship with the sport for generations.

To see the Community Strategy in full, click here.

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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