Northern NSW Football team up with OFC to provide access to coaching development

NNSWF

Northern NSW Football have announced a landmark partnership with the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) which will see improved access to coach development material.

The agreement will allow NNSWF coaches access to the OFC’s coach development system and content through the OFC Learn Portal.

The portal is a learning community for coaches looking to further develop their knowledge, skills and positive impact on the game.

“This is an opportunity for us to build our network across Asia and the Oceania region,” NNSWF Head of Football Development Peter Haynes said via NNSWF.

“By providing access to this portal to our coaches we can help provide them more learning and development opportunities in their own time and at their leisure.”

OFC E-Learning Development Manager Sean Douglas explained OFC Learn was set up to provide an engaging and accessible approach to education, allowing learners to access information and educate themselves at a time and place that suits them.

“The beauty of this approach is that learners from all over the world can share and learn from each other,” Douglas said via NNSWF.

“That’s why we’re happy to welcome our friends from NNSWF to join the discussions and share their experiences with learners from across the pacific and all over the world. The site has been set up to facilitate this sharing, so it’s fantastic that NNSWF will contribute as part of a global learning community.

“OFC Learn focuses on coaching and refereeing but we are also hard at work creating learning opportunities for club administrative staff and medical staff. Our recent FIFA club licensing webinar for women’s football and our discussion group for physiotherapy are great examples of this.

“There is much more to come. I look forward to seeing NNSWF coaches on the site and engaging with them.”

CPD points for courses completed through the OFC Learn platform will be determined on a course by course basis and attributed to coaches once a certificate of completion is submitted to NNSWF.

NNSWF coaches can access the OFC Learn site HERE.

FIFA+ delivering valuable exposure for Oceania football

The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) is partnering with FIFA’s football streaming platform, FIFA+, to broadcast its international and club competitions for two years.

The deal signifies a major win for the commercialisation and promotion of Oceanian football globally.

FIFA+ is a mobile and desktop application that provides subscribers with live streaming of various FIFA competitions, magazine shows, documentary films, and archived matches from previous tournaments.

The application will televise all major OFC competitions, such as the OFC Champions League (Men’s, women’s and youth), futsal and beach soccer competitions, and the men’s 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.

The World Cup qualifying campaign takes on greater importance this year, as for the first time ever, OFC nations will battle for one automatic spot at the 2026 Men’s FIFA World Cup.

It represents an important moment for Oceanian football, and while there is global scepticism about FIFA’s move to a 48-team men’s World Cup, it is the smaller nations like those in Oceania who will benefit greatly.

Adding OFC’s collaboration with FIFA+ to the mix only incentivises players and coaches further, providing them a platform to build their careers and future pathways.

“This partnership with FIFA+ marks a new era for Oceania football. It’s a monumental step towards realising our dreams and showcasing the talents of our region to a global audience,” OFC General Secretary Franck Castillo said via press release.

“We are excited about the opportunities this collaboration unlocks and the new horizons it opens for our players, teams, and fans.”

The increased coverage will be crucial to OFC’s commercial endeavours and future sustainability as an organisation. General Secretary Castillo paid tribute to the efforts of OFC members to secure this deal.

“In the last five years, OFC has gone to great lengths to grow football coverage across the Pacific and provide quality broadcast production standards to all fans,” he added via media release.

“As a testament to these efforts, our social media following has increased by 110% and live streaming views by 200% since 2019. We have rallied media rights in the broadcast space and expanded our distribution from four regional TV broadcasters to 26.”

“We have also expanded commercially through selling our live streaming, media and data rights for the next two years – 2024 and 2025; this is a major step forward for us in the commercial space.”

Below is the full list of competitions to be shown live and free on FIFA+ in 2024:

OFC Women’s Champions League – Solomon Islands | 10-23 March

OFC Men’s Nations Cup – Qualifying – Tonga | 20-26 March

OFC U-19 Men’s Championship – Qualifying – Vanuatu | 9-15 April

OFC U-16 Men’s Championship – Qualifying – Tonga | 13-19 April

OFC Futsal Men’s Champions League – New Caledonia | 23-28 April

OFC Men’s Champions League – Tahiti | 11-24 May

OFC U-16 Women’s Championship – Qualifying – New Zealand | 14-20 June

OFC Men’s Nations Cup – Vanuatu | 15-30 June

OFC U-19 Men’s Championship – Samoa | 7-20 July

OFC U-16 Men’s Championship – Tahiti | 28 July-10 August

OFC Futsal Women’s Nations Cup – Solomon Islands | 18-24 August

FIFA World Cup 2026™ – Oceania Qualifiers MD 1 & 2 – Samoa | 2-10 September

OFC U-16 Women’s Championship – Fiji | 8-21 September

FIFA World Cup 2026™ – Oceania Qualifiers MD 3 – New Zealand & Vanuatu | 7-15 October

OFC Beach Soccer Men’s Nations Cup – Solomon Islands | 20-26 October

FIFA World Cup 2026™ – Oceania Qualifiers MD 4 & 5 – New Zealand & Papua New Guinea | 11-19 November

Regional stakeholders deliver their feedback in Football Victoria’s Regional Review

Football Victoria (FV) released their Regional Football Review, aimed at giving regional football stakeholders the platform to voice their feedback about the delivery of football in their local community.

FV’s overarching aim for the review is to assess the current health of regional football, and determine its future influence in areas of the regional game, such as governance, participation, infrastructure, and pathways.

These sporting communities battle a unique set of challenges to operate sustainably, but the ultimate goal for FV – like any governing sports body – is to bridge gaps between regional and metropolitan areas.

412 participants took part in the report, including parents, coaches, players and association members (paid and voluntary). In addition, 24 in-depth interviews took place with “key identified” stakeholders.

FV sought the assistance of consultancy company Solucio to independently facilitate the review.

Governance and Administration

Regional Victoria’s football landscape includes 12 associations and leagues, and 130 clubs. Some of these clubs do compete in metropolitan competitions run by FV, but remain based in regional locations.

The governance of most regional associations follow a club representative model, which the report describes as “not in line with current best industry practice,” and leads to inconsistencies in football delivery.

The model is favoured because of the primitive nature of clubs within regional associations, and the assistance associations can guarantee from club members.

However, stakeholders believe that areas such as competition management and future project planning suffer as clubs place their own interests ahead of others.

Administration is also considered a problem area, with paid staff members at regional associations stating that a lack of additional support from volunteers increases their workload into overtime.

When volunteers were surveyed about the health of regional football, 25% of them believed the game to be in ‘very poor’ health.

Yet, over 50% of team managers, association board members and staff, and club committee members say the game is in a ‘fair’ or ‘very good’ state.

A lack of strategic planning, and clear assignment of roles between paid staff and volunteers, is likely causing this disconnect between regional football stakeholders.

Contradictory though it may seem, stakeholders continue to support the club representative model.

Participation and Infrastructure

Participation in regional football is slowly growing again, returning closer to levels of growth prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

A reduced player registration fee for regional areas helps this growth, though, FV asserts that a levelling of regional player registration fees with metropolitan rates would create an extra $1.36 million in revenue.

This could be spent on improvements to the regional game, but a rise in registration fees is not in the best interests of growing football in regional communities.

Regarding female participation in football, there was negative but constructive feedback from stakeholders. Regional associations believe there is a lack of funding and resources to help them lead programs built for growing female participation.

FV is in the midst of its ambitious ‘FootballHerWay’ plan that aims to achieve 50/50 gender participation by 2027. Therefore, it makes sense for the organisation to consider more involvement in the delivery of female football programs to regional areas.

Regional school participation represents an area for improvement for FV, admitting in the report that the Australian Rules model (Auskick) is outperforming its efforts in terms of clinics and programs.

Recent investment in up-to-date football infrastructure, though, has been well-received, with most stakeholders considering future developments in infrastructure to be of less importance, despite the high satisfaction it provides communities.

The report acknowledges, though, that a gap exists between clubs and associations that have received upgrades, and those who have not.

According to regional NPL clubs, this gap is illuminated when visiting the facilities of metro NPL clubs.

Coaches

Coaches represent the most disgruntled stakeholder demographic, with 43% of those interviewed believing the health of regional football to be ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’.

There was negative feedback about pathways for coaches – particularly first-timers – who either do not have the capacity to attend accreditation courses, or are unmotivated to attain their licenses.

Some participants believe the approach to coach education is too metro-centric, citing additional expenses such as travel, food, and accommodation, just to attend a coaching accreditation course.

A wider problem exists in the marketing and promotion of coaching courses, with many regional associations lamenting the fact that courses are often cancelled due to small numbers.

One stakeholder floated a recommendation to subsidise Melbourne-based coaches to partake in regional-based courses to improve numbers.

This issue transcends into school participation, where stakeholders believe opportunities to grow participation are being neglected.

There is an over-reliance on unqualified parents or teachers passionate about the game to pioneer clinics or programs, and whilst participation is higher when this occurs, it is not sustainable in the long-term.

Players

A lack of motivated or accredited coaches inevitably impacts the morale of players, and this trend is consistent with the review’s findings, where 39% of players consider the health of regional football to be poor or very poor.

The pathway to elite football for junior players in regional areas, which is well-documented as being an all-encompassing, often sacrificial experience, that asks players and parents to spend large amounts of time and money.

Most stakeholders surveyed recognise the provision of elite-level football education within their communities as a key area for improvement. This helps to keep players grounded, and less susceptible to burnout at younger ages.

Further to this, Football Australia’s recent unveiling of the National Talent Development Scheme (NTDS) should provide a more level-playing field for players in regional areas to access elite pathways.

Again, better conditions and resources for coaches is recommended to help regional players. Some stakeholders recommend the provision of more metro-based coaches to deliver training to players in regional areas.

For senior players, there is a greater level of satisfaction among regional NPL clubs based closer to Melbourne than those playing in regional competitions.

Short season length (due to a small number of clubs) for regional competitions is cited as an issue in the review, which is likely to dissatisfy players.

Stakeholders suggest alternative competitions could be organised to lengthen the season and further engagement, but this could exasperate association staff members and volunteers.

Referees

Referees are a more satisfied demographic than players and coaches, and this is reflected by an increase in numbers across regional Victoria.

The review acknowledges that whilst this is positive, it stretches association resources for referee development.

Similarly to players and coaches, there is an expectation that more accessible pathways be provided to referees to upskill.

Specifically, existing referees desire more practical education in the form of officiating more metropolitan NPL games. Not only would this improve their ability, it provides more opportunities for mentoring and promotion to the elite.

Beyond the Review

The qualitative feedback provided by participants will be considered for FV’s regional football plan from 2025 onwards. Head of Growth & Development at FV, Lachlan Cole, reflected further on this.

“The engagement and contributions from Regional Victorians have been invaluable in putting the needs of Regional Football at the forefront of this project,” he told the FV website.

“The Discussion Paper and Survey Results provide a real snapshot of our current landscape, from several different perspectives, and will guide the formulation of really positive and meaningful recommendations.”

The Regional Football Review’s assessment of the health of football in rural Victoria shines a light on the difficulties regional football faces across the country.

There is a growing desire for better pathways and programs for players, coaches, and referees, as well as a greater provision of resources to maintain the standard of football delivery for the future.

Whether FV as an organisation chooses to involve themselves more in the governance and administration of regional football associations will be a topic for discussion in the near future.

The Regional Football Review Discussion Paper can be viewed in full here.

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