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Being a referee is a tough gig. There’s pressure on each decision, screaming fans roaring over every call and constant criticism if things go wrong.
Often we watch a game and look at a referee’s adjudication of an incident without us being offered a chance to see the reasoning behind it. When a decision is made, it sometimes leaves us scratching our heads as to how the referee came to their conclusion.
In Australia at least, it could all be changing very quickly. Experienced referee Jarred Gillett took part in his final A-League match between Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney Wanderers before heading to the Championship in England – and had a microphone to record every decision, player conversion and communication between each of the other officials.
This coverage by Fox Sports was a rare insight into how officiating works and for the world game it’s something that’s innovative.
Other major sporting codes around the world use microphones to give viewers a better understanding for what is going on. With soccer leagues and tournaments slowly converting to Video Assistant Referees (VAR), microphones could be of great use as referees deliberate on their final decision.
Fox Sports and Football Federation Australia should seriously consider paving the way for microphone usage, which should enhance the A-League experience.
The match with Gillett received positive reviews and would be something new to see for the world game if this is pursued further.
In case you missed it, here’s the example of how microphone usage can work:
Proud2Play have announced the launch of an exciting new program for the rainbow community which will see social sport sessions run across five sites in Melbourne.
Funded by a VicHealth Reimagining Health grant, the Proud2Play initiative will provide free and inclusive sporting sessions to marginalised groups in partnership with Football Victoria and Cricket Australia.
Sessions will be completely free and run by community volunteers who have been trained in coaching and LGBTQI+ inclusion in sport. The session locations include the City of Melbourne, Cardinia Shire, Nillumbik Council, City of Monash and Darebin Council.
Football Victoria CEO Kimon Taliadoros spoke about the importance of growing the world game for all communities in Victoria.
“As the governing body for football in Victoria, we acknowledge our responsibility to provide access for every person who wishes to play. The magic of football is occurring in more places, with more people and more often throughout Victoria and Australia,” he said.
Research has shown that 80% of all sports participants in Australia have experienced or witnessed discrimination on the basis of sexuality. Half of all transgender people, a quarter of males and 10% of females are reported to have avoided playing sports they would like to play because of their sexuality or gender identity.
Parklife aims to address these inequities by providing a safe and welcoming environment for community members to be more active, enhance social bonds and strengthen connection to community.
Proud2Play CEO Christine Granger was proud to see the inclusive Parklife initiative announced.
“Sport can be such a powerful tool for inclusion, however, has all too often been an unsafe space for people in our communities. We are excited to be able to offer a space for LGBTIQ+ folks to come together in a social format and enjoy the benefits of participating in sport that so many take for granted,” she said.
“We hope this will help foster a positive relationship with sport for the participants, leading to ongoing involvement into their future.”
Parklife sessions are postponed at the time of publication due to Victoria’s COVID-19 restrictions relating to community sport and activities being prohibited. The lockdown measures are to be continued or eased from Tuesday, July 27 at 11:59pm.
Moreland City Council has released an initial Hosken Reserve Master Plan to the community, in preparation for a final round of feedback before a green light towards the upgrade.
Hosken Reserve serves as the primary ground of Victorian National Premier League team Pascoe Vale FC.
The plan features an upgrade to the two pitches at Hosken Reserve, as well as the development of a hybrid grass-synthetic soccer pitch to be used by Pascoe Vale FC. In addition the clubrooms, lighting and car park are being upgraded.
In December 2020, a report was tabled at the Moreland City Council meeting recommending a new master plan developed through an in-depth community engagement process. Since then, several rounds of development and community consultation have occured.
Pascoe Vale FC President Lou Tonna explains that the plan is a result of years of consultation and it should satisfy all constituents.
“There was a master plan in 2009, and unfortunately a lot of it hasn’t been activated. There was some community pushback in regards to that plan, and it went to community consultation. There were a few things adopted by the council and it went to a refresh group, who aimed to get a reasonable outcome for the entire community,” Tonna said.
“This being the school, the Tennis club, the football club, and also the residents. I believe this master plan has hit the mark.”
In May Moreland Mayor Cr Annalivia Carli Hannan believed the plan would satisfy members of the local community.
“Our community health and well-being is strengthened by sport participation as well as by general community use of open space. Inner metropolitan councils have increasing demands on our limited open space, with competing needs and uses. I want to thank community members, including sports clubs and local residents, for their feedback and contribution,” she said.
Tonna says that the development should be finished within three years and that the outcome is a positive one for the community.
“It’s going out to community consultation, and we are hoping it will be finished in the next one to three years,” he said.
“We’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the refresh group. We are very happy with the outcome of the master plan, and believe it’s great for everyone involved. This isn’t just about Pascoe Vale, it’s about the whole community.”
Knights Stadium is one of the most iconic venues in Australian football – for many it is more than just a stadium.
The ground was built in 1989 with storied history. Melbourne Knights, formerly known as Melbourne Croatia SC, were two-time National Soccer League (NSL) champions and four-time minor premiers at the ground during the 1990s.
The Mark Viduka Stand can seat up to 3,000 people, while another 12,000 can stand around the pitch. The ground represents the largest football-only sporting ground in the state of Victoria – testament to the history and strength of Melbourne Knights FC.
Former Melbourne Knights president Andelko Cimera says he was part of the club while Knights Stadium was becoming a reality.
“We were playing at the old number two pitch at Olympic Park, where the dog track was, and that was virtually our home. We were looking for alternatives and a couple of properties came up – a drive-in in Altona and a drive-in at North Sunshine,” he said.
“We settled on Sunshine because it was a little bit cheaper. I think we paid $180,000 at that time in 1984. 12 months later we started developing the stadium.”
Melbourne Croatia at the time tried to secure the rights to play at Heidelberg United’s home ground Olympic Park and several other venues, before a decade-long donation drive allowed them to raise the money to purchase the land and develop a facility at the current site of Somers Street.
Melbourne Knights FC President Pave Jusup says that much of his childhood was spent at Knights Stadium.
“We only saw the stadium for games. We would always strive to go there, and sometimes the juniors would have an important game that’d let us on the second ground, even the main ground,” he said.
“If you walked into the wrong part of the ground the groundskeeper would grab you and make you be a ball boy, and you’d get a hotdog and drink after the game. It was a whole childhood for a lot of us.”
Jusup adds that Melbourne Knights and the stadium serve as a key pillar within the Croatian community.
“There are a lot of memories that have been created there. A lot of people are tied to the physical place and it is a hub of the Croatian community along with the Croatian club in Footscray and the original Croatian church in Clifton Hill. We are the three constant and long-term fixtures in the community,” he said.
Cimera explains that there were both positives and negatives towards the stadium being community ran and operated.
“There were advantages and disadvantages. It was our property, it was our ground. It was up to us whether it was Sunday night, Saturday afternoon, or Friday night game. It was always available to us,” he said.
“The disadvantages were that everything was up to us. The maintenance of the ground was up to us. The facility became a burden to the Croatian community, which involved all our payments, all our rates which were paid for by the community.”
Both Jusup and Cimera agree that the biggest games were always against South Melbourne.
“It became a fortress for us in the 90s. It was difficult to take points away from our ground for teams,” Cimera said.
“I think our record crowd was when Hadjuk Split was here, that was close to 15,000. I remember when we played South Melbourne we had 12,000 people. The games between South Melbourne and us were always the biggest crowds.”
During the 2000 National Soccer League season, over 11,000 people descended upon Knights Stadium to watch Melbourne Croatia vs South Melbourne Hellas.
“Around 2001, they were top of the table and unbeaten, while we were mid to low-end of the table. We beat them 4-0. That is one game that sticks out in my mind,” Jusup said.
For both Cimera and Jusup, they acknowledge that the supporters and members of Melbourne Knights want to see Knights Stadium and the club feature in a second division.
“It’s not only the Melbourne Knights. It’s the juniors too because they can have a career path. Right now they can’t see a career path. Without promotion and relegation, it makes it very difficult,” Cimera said.
“We’ve got a lot of latent fans who are disappointed in the situation we find ourselves in. There are a lot of people who would put their hands up and into their pockets to help propel the club if given the opportunity. We’ve gone through a period of consolidation, but there’s a new generation of people who want to propel the club into the limelight as their parents and grandparents did,” Jusup said.
If the opportunity to join a second division does arise for Melbourne Knights, then their home ground won’t look out of place on the national stage.