New format to decide Asia’s Women’s Olympic qualifiers

The battle for the final two spots to join hosts and reigning Asian champions Japan, at the Women’s Football Tournament at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 will be decided in a new and innovative qualifying tournament.

The Continent’s remaining women’s sides will learn their fate in the Asian Qualifiers Final Round Draw at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The revamped qualifying format for the 2020 edition will see the eight remaining teams divided into two groups, with the top two sides advancing to the two-legged play-offs to decide the final two Asian qualifiers.

This will give the Continent’s elite teams the opportunity to play their most significant matches in front of their home fans.

After two qualifying rounds of captivating action, the initial cast of 18 was whittled down to three with Myanmar, Vietnam and Chinese Taipei joining Australia, China PR, DPR Korea, Korea Republic and Thailand who reached the final round automatically as the highest ranked teams during the first round of qualifiers.

Following the outcome of the latest FIFA Ranking released on September 27, 2019, the Continent’s top-ranked sides Australia and DPR Korea will be placed in Pot 1, joint hosts for the final round, China PR and Korea Republic are in Pot 2, followed by Vietnam and Thailand in Pot 3 and Chinese Taipei and Myanmar confirming their places in the final pot.

The Asian Qualifiers Final Round will take place from February 3 to 9, 2020 with the two-legged play-off scheduled to take place on March 6 and 11, 2020.

Football at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will commence with the women’s matches on July 22 – two days before the Games’ official opening ceremony – with the men’s competition to begin on July 23. The 12-team women’s tournament will conclude on August 7, with the men’s tournament to conclude the following day.

Asian teams have established a long and proud tradition at the Olympic Games, with China PR (1996) and Japan (2012) winning silver in the women’s tournament, while Japan (1968) and Korea Republic (2012) clinched the bronze medals in the men’s competition.

Staff Writer
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PFA release Matildas report on the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup outlining success

Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) have published a new report on the Matildas and the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup that showcase positive numbers regarding the growth of the women’s game.

After a successful World Cup and a record-breaking A-League Women’s campaign in many areas, this comprehensive report is a guideline to FIFA and the AFC on how to tackle the current problems and challenges.

The report presents four pivotal recommendations that they believe will significantly contribute to the ongoing growth and success of women’s football. These include:

– A-League Women Professionalisation

The report suggests that it is imperative that the A-League Women adopts full-time professionalism as soon as possible to allow players to maximise their potential and produce the next generation of Matildas.

It currently lacks in that department compared to the top European leagues and is under threat from falling behind.

The A-League Women’s league has provided a crucial development platform for Australian football’s most successful, valuable, and powerful assets.

Every Matilda named in the World Cup squad had played in the A-League Women’s competition, playing a combined 1,953 matches prior to the World Cup.

– Equal World Cup Prize Money

Prize money for the 2023 Women’s World Cup was one quarter that of the 2022 Men’s World Cup. FIFA has suggested it intends to equalise prize money for the 2026-2027 cycle, but it has added a caveat that this is contingent on commercial outcomes.

However, the PFA pushes for FIFA to start their commitment now in order to build a foundation that will breed marketing and commercial success rather than wait.

The evidence from this recent World Cup suggests commercial success and potential is there if the funding gets lifted to allow it to grow.

– Increased Club Solidarity Fund

The report’s third recommendation, an increased Club Solidarity Fund, is an urgent call to action.

The Women’s World Cup Club Solidarity Fund for 2023 was US$11.5 million, just 5.5% of the men’s 2022 fund.

A substantial increase to the Women’s World Cup Club Solidarity Fund for 2027 would provide a massive stimulus package to women’s football and unlock investment in the environments where players spend the majority of their time.

The PFA consider this to be an imperative move.

– Player input into Scheduling

As the women’s football calendar expands, the report emphasises the importance of including players in decision-making processes.

In the report, it suggested FIFPRO found that 60% of World Cup players felt they did not have enough rest after the tournament before returning to club duties. Caitlin Foord and Steph Catley played for Arsenal just 17 days after the World Cup final.

Ensuring player welfare and competition integrity will create a sustainable and thriving environment for women’s football.

In the Executive Summary, it outlined many statistics and facts to come as a result of the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

Funding

The tournament generated a significant amount of money for a range of stakeholders. Football Australia (FA) estimated the tournament provided $1.32 billion in economic benefits to Australia.

FA’s Legacy ’23 strategy unlocked $398 million of government funding for women’s sports facilities and programs, of which two thirds would primarily benefit football.

‘The Golden Generation’

The home World Cup aligned with the peak of the Matildas’ golden generation of players. Fifteen of the squad were also part of the 2019 World Cup. The eight players aged between 28 and 30 played 59% of the Australia’s match minutes at the tournament. The data flags that there is a challenging period of transition on the horizon.

A-League Women’s growth

A-League Women clubs have also benefited from an organic increase in attendances and memberships as a result of the World Cup’s success.

This includes holding records such as Average attendance, Total attendance, Most in a single game, and Most memberships in league history.

CBA Competitive Advantage

Nearly two thirds (64%) of the Matildas felt their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) was a competitive advantage at the World Cup. The CBA guaranteed world class conditions in the four years preceding the tournament (equal to the Socceroos).

Great conditions

The player survey found generally positive feedback about the conditions, facilities, and environment during the World Cup camp.

The legacy and impact this World Cup has left this country is immense, with the numbers in the report suggesting many avenues like the future of the Matildas and the domestic league are progressing at an alarmingly high rate.

Conclusion:

The four recommendations made by the FA do suggest change is imperative and the product still has a long way to go before it maximises its commercial and on field growth but overall the report was quite positive.

How Game Plan can navigate clubs to operational success

Australians have sport ingrained into each respective citizens DNA – regardless of ethnicity, gender, age demographic or socio-economic status.

Given the nation’s unmatched diversity, in its existence rests a plethora of diverse sports in which have been introduced into Australian culture.

The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) was founded in 1985 and acts in accordance to the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability act of 2013.

The Australian government agency is responsible for the growth, support and investment within sport across the nation.

In correspondence with the ASC’s mission statement of placing a strategic focus on continuous improvement of sporting organisations across the nation.

The opportunity is provided to all of the nation’s sporting clubs in order to seek government backed development, through the free online platform titled, Game Plan.

Game Plan is an online platform in which enables sporting clubs of all capacities to explore insights into the clubs current capability within fundamental areas of the club.

Valuable administration, participation and financial insights can be accessed by the free online platform.

Through the utilization of the online platform, clubs are able to benefit from gaining unexplored information at no cost, given that the online platform is free of charge.

Clubs now have the possibility of evaluating their personal performance, environment and strengths, while also unearthing areas in which can be managed, improved or untapped.

Furthermore, the performance of club volunteers can be evaluated, club leaders can find easy access to information upon club operations.

Within the findings, the analysis of a clubs current operations status can be reviewed, enabling a club to eradicate any hostile or unsavoury club operations.

Ensuring that viable and swiftly formulated decisions are implemented while developing plans in which will transcend the club within the near future.

In the end it is highly advised that football clubs across the nation utilise the online platform in order to gain an evaluation of the clubs current operational status.

To sign in or register an account, click here

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