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Sarpreet Singh to Bayern Munich – why it ticks all the boxes for the A-League

Sarpreet Singh had a breakout year for the Wellington Phoenix.

From losing to state league side Bentleigh Greens in the FFA Cup to the Bundesliga, Singh’s rise has been astronomical.

It’s truly great to see a young star make the move to the big leagues, with the ambition of achieving great things with the reigning German champions.

Singh recently made his first-team debut for Bayern in a 2-1 loss to Arsenal in a pre-season tournament match in the USA. If there was ever a time for the phrase ‘baptism by fire’….

Whilst we are all happy for Sarpreet and his career, it’s hard to overlook how his move to Die Roten impacts the A-League.

It will serve as an example for any young players with high aspirations, that anything is possible with a little bit of hard work.

Sarpreet had been on the Phoenix books for some time, before earning a first team contract halfway through 17/18 A-League season. The Phoenix had struggled in recent years before their return to finals last season, led by Singh and Roy Krishna.

He would’ve had to work his way from the ground up, playing against teams like the Bentleigh Greens and in reserves matches. Nothing is handed to you in soccer.

He earned his opportunity in the A-League, through years of persistence and hard work. The A-League has a knack of attracting older players and the Phoenix were and still are no exception.

Nathan Burns and David Williams, both in their 30’s at the time of signing, came in during last season. It would’ve been easy to take a negative approach and understand that they’re getting paid more and that they’ll play more too.

But no. Singh earned a spot alongside them and helped turn the Phoenix from cellar-dwellars to finalists. Now, he’s reaping the rewards in Munich, playing alongside stars such as Thomas Muller, Robert Lewandowski and Thiago Alcantara.

Whatever becomes of Sarpreet Singh at Bayern Munich or beyond, it’s safe to say he may have set a new benchmark for young Australian soccer players.

Youngsters will take note and be inspired by what he’s been able to achieve in such a small timeframe. And that is why we love soccer.

 

 

 

 

City Football Group expands to India

City Football Group (CFG) have officially welcomed Indian Super League side Mumbai City as a new member of sister clubs around the world.

The owners of Premier League champions and powerhouse Manchester City have now added to their global partnerships with clubs.

Representatives of CFG was recently in India to undertake a trophy tour and have confirmed their deal with Mumbai City. This new acquisition has meant that CFG have taken a majority 65 per cent share in the top-flight Indian club.

The other 35 per cent of the club has gone to former co-owners – Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor and chartered accountant Bimal Parekh.

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This new agreement sees Mumbai City become CFG’s eighth club, who only just recently purchased third-tier Chinese club Sichuan Jiuniu FC.

Mumbai has joined English Premier League’s (EPL) Manchester City FC, A-League’s Melbourne City FC, Major League Soccer’s (MLS) New York City FC, J-League’s Yokohama F. Marinos, Uruguayan Primera División’s Club Atlético Torque and La Liga 2’s Girona FC as all the clubs as part of CFG so far.

“We believe that this investment will deliver transformative benefits to Mumbai City FC, to City Football Group and to Indian Football as a whole,” said CFG Chairman, Khaldoon Al Mubarak.

“City Football Group is committed to the future of football in India and to the potential for Mumbai City FC within that future.

“We are very much looking forward to playing an active role in Mumbai City FC’s fan and local communities, and working with our co-owners to further develop the club as quickly as possible.”

It’s an opportunity now for Indian football to grow as a result of this partnership, which will give Mumbai some added exposure as one of CFG’s new partners.

In conjunction with this announcement, CFG has also moved Damian Willoughby from his role as Senior Vice President of Partnerships to become CFG India Chief Executive. He will be relocated from Singapore to Mumbai in the coming weeks.

The purchase has come in the same week that CFG announced a US$500 million equity investment from Silicon Valley firm Silver Lake in a deal that sees the group now valued at US$4.8 billion.

Football Queensland appoint Jacqui Hurford as State Referee Manager

Football Queensland (FQ) have announced the appointment of Jacqui Hurford as the new State Referee Manager.

As part of the 2020-2022 Strategic Plan for football in Queensland, the appointment of Hurford as State Referee Manager is one of the key initiatives already into affect along with others that are set to be launched in the coming months concentrating on improving recruitment, retention and support for referees in the state.

FQ’s General Manager of Operations Murray Bird spoke about how Hurford’s appointment will help shape the future of refereeing, by building on the number of quality referees and coaches across the state.

“I am delighted to welcome Jacqui to the Football Queensland team; she will bring a wealth of knowledge as a former international FIFA referee, and from her current roles as instructor/assessor for FFA and AFC and Westfield W-League Referee Coach,” Bird said.

“Jacqui’s appointment aligns with a focus on bettering the experience for all involved in the game as outlined in FQ’s strategic plan, and will see her take on a community-focused leadership role.

“We intend to double the number of registered referees by 2022, which will require ongoing consultation and collaboration with regional referee coordinators to ensure we recruit and retain officials to serve and enhance the game.

“We also want to increase the number of women and girls officiating across the state, and Jacqui is a great example for women and girls getting into the game.”

Hurford spoke about the role she will play with the challenges and opportunities she’ll take out of it.

“Football Queensland’s commitment to significant reform in the referee space was something that attracted me to this role,” she said.

“There is a shortage of match officials across the state and I understand that addressing this and driving participation and retention of referees will be a key focus of the position.

“FQ will be employing referee coaches for the NPL/FQPL/NPLW in the coming weeks. My role will entail working closely with those appointments to improve officiating standards in the state’s premier leagues.

“I will also be working hard on bridging the gap between the referee community and FQ’s member clubs and zones.

“We all need to work together and referees are an important piece in unifying the game to ensure that Queensland remains a leader in officiating both nationally and internationally.”

Hurford will officially take her position from Thursday the 9th of January 2020.

Source: https://footballqueensland.com.au/2019/11/29/football-queensland-state-referee-manager-appointed/ 

Football Victoria reveal NPL fixture

Football Victoria (FV) have released the 2020 NPL Victoria fixture for the men’s competition.

The season will open with a clash between 2019 finalists Oakleigh Cannons FC and last year’s runner up Avondale FC.

Also round 1 will open with the traditional derby as South Melbourne FC will host 2019 premiers Heidelberg United FC at Lakeside Stadium in a first-round derby.

Eastern Lions SC and St Albans Saints SC are the two sides who have been promoted to the top tier of Victorian football for 2020. They will both start with home encounters in the opening round.

FV CEO Peter Filopoulos claimed he was looking forward to the start of next year’s competition with the introduction of two new clubs and several strong NPL clubs hoping to improve on last season.

“The NPL in Victoria is clearly a destination competition in Australia which delivers a very high standard of football week-in week-out,” Mr Filopoulos said.

“The competition’s popularity went to another level last year with all games live-streamed and averaging around 30,000 viewers per round. The triple-header Grand Final event also drew more than 110,000 viewers on that one day alone,” he said.

The first-round fixtures are listed below:

Oakleigh Cannons FC v Avondale FC – Thursday 13th February, 7:45pm at Jack Edwards Reserve

South Melbourne FC v Heidelberg United FC – Friday 14th February, 7:30pm at Lakeside Stadium

Port Melbourne Sharks SC v Melbourne Knights FC – Friday 14th February, 7:45pm at JL Murphy Reserve – SS Anderson Oval

Dandenong Thunder FC v Dandenong City SC – Saturday 15th February, 7:00pm at George Andrews Reserve

Hume City FC v Altona Magic SC – Saturday 15th February, 8:00pm at ABD Stadium Broadmeadows Valley Park

Eastern Lions SC v Bentleigh Greens SC – Sunday 16th February, 3:00pm at Gardiners Creek Reserve

St Albans Saints SC v Green Gully SC – Sunday 16th February, 5:00pm at Churchill Reserve

The U20s fixture for the men was also released alongside the senior draw.

Both of the full draws can be viewed here.

 

 

 

 

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