Perth Glory confirm temporary move to Macedonia Park for 2022/23 season

Perth Glory has announced that the club’s ISUZU UTE A-League team will play 10 of their 13 home games of the 2022/23 Season at Macedonia Park, Stirling.

As a result of ongoing stadium renovations at their regular home ground HBF Park, the Glory has been forced to relocate to a temporary home. The side will then return to HBF Park for three regular-season home fixtures beginning on March 10.

“We have been confronted by a unique set of challenges caused by circumstances completely beyond our control,” Glory CEO Anthony Radich said in a statement.

“Being informed so late in the piece of the unavailability of HBF Park for an additional six home games beyond the original four has severely delayed and thrown our season-planning into disarray.

“Our Members and fans were our primary consideration throughout the decision-making process and there is no perfect outcome.

“We have worked tirelessly to ensure that our Members, partners and fans are able to attend games at a venue which is of a rectangular orientation and fit for football.

“As well as needing a rectangular venue, we wanted to avoid having to play “home” fixtures on the east coast given that our Members, partners and fans have been deprived of normality in terms of home games for the past two years.

“Obviously there are major financial implications for our club and we are discussing with the State Government potential compensation for loss of access to HBF Park.

“We’re pleased to say the State Government is looking to provide significant financial support, match day/event and temporary infrastructure support to enable us to host home matches at Macedonia Park.”

A-Leagues Commissioner Greg O’Rourke was quick to emphasise the importance of Glory not being forced to relocate home games yet again.

“The impact of this construction delay is considerable on Perth Glory, its Members, sponsors and corporate partners,” he added via press release.

“It was vital to ensure they were able play in their home city.”

Significant temporary infrastructure improvements will be made to render Macedonia Park fit for A-League football, including the addition of temporary seating to build its capacity, pitch renovation, additional parking and a temporary lighting upgrade and the State Government has agreed to assist in implementing these improvements.

This work, however, will take time to complete and as a result, Australian Professional Leagues (APL) has had to amend the club’s season fixtures.

The original first two home games of the ISUZU UTE A-League Men’s campaign, v Central Coast Mariners on Sunday October 23 and v Brisbane Roar on Sunday November 13, will be rescheduled at Macedonia Park for later in the season, thereby ensuring that the club retains its 13 scheduled home fixtures.

The first home game will now take place on Saturday December 10 at 7.30pm WST against Western United.

The game against Central Coast Mariners on Saturday October 23 will be reversed and played instead at Central Coast Stadium, while details regarding the new scheduling of the Sunday November 13 meeting with Brisbane Roar are to be confirmed.

Premier League continues talks on cost control and EFL funding

Premier League club bosses are holding further talks regarding cost control measures for clubs competing in European football and additional funding for the EFL.

The top flight is examining the introduction of a model along similar lines to UEFA’s squad cost ratio, which by 2025-26 will cap the spending of clubs involved in European competitions on wages, transfer fees and agent costs at 70 per cent of revenue.

It is understood that clubs in the Premier League not competing in European competitions will be allowed more leeway on spending, with a ratio of around 85 per cent of revenue having been discussed. This is potentially to ensure a more level playing field for mid table Premier League clubs who are struggling to break that barrier.

There is a major roadblock, however, in these talks with relegated Premier League clubs still earning parachute payments in their first season back in the Championship and being able to continue working to the 85 per cent ratio whilst the bottom half Championship clubs are working on a much tighter budget, closer to the 70 per cent UEFA mark.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters spoke about these talks advancing and what it means for the future of both leagues.

“We have some proposals out for consultation with our clubs about moving and aligning more with the UEFA system,” Masters said at the Culture, Media and Sport committee.

“Some of the issues that are still at debate between the EFL and the Premier League and internally within the Premier League itself are about trying to find a resolution on exactly how the financial regulatory system will work in the future.

“There’s an area of disagreement between us on how cost controls are going to work. Because obviously if you’re going to put more money into a system, that system has to be properly regulated. That system has yet to be fully agreed on how Championship clubs, how relegated clubs and how Premier League clubs operate a common system.” he concluded.

In terms of the extra funding agreement being discussed, EFL Chairman Rick Parry announced that his competition was prepared to accept an amount that would equate to 14.75 per cent of the two competitions’ net media revenues, which he said worked out at an extra £125million ($240 million) a year.

Whilst this is a huge positive for the footballing ladder in England, there is still a debate amongst clubs and representatives over how the extra funding to the EFL should be paid out.

Recently relegated sides are already working on a bigger budget, whilst sides in the bottom half are struggling to pay player wages with this disparity being completely unacceptable.

So it definitely begs the question, does majority of the extra £125million ($240 million) a year go towards helping bottom clubs compete in the long term? or would that be a stain on the league’s integrity and fair play values?

Votes were not casted in last week’s meetings regarding cost control measures or extra funding, but reports suggest that a conclusion is being made swiftly with both parties eager to agree on a fair deal.

MLS NEXT Pro continues to expand with Connecticut United addition

Connecticut United FC joins MLS Next Pro

Connecticut (CT) United FC will join the ever-growing MLS NEXT Pro League in 2025, in a move that promises to reinvigorate the US state through investment in football infrastructure.

CT United becomes the fifth independent team to join US football’s third-tier national competition, which serves as a valuable development tool for young players at the 27 existing Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs.

It joins teams from Jacksonville, Florida and Chattanooga – who were recently announced by the MLS NEXT organisation.

Chattanooga FC have been competing at state-level for 15 years, allowing it to join the competition in 2024 alongside fellow independent club, Carolina Core FC.

Jacksonville Armada are expected to enter alongside CT United and a team from Cleveland, Ohio, in 2025.

The nucleus of CT United’s football operation will be based in Connecticut’s capital city, Bridgeport, after its Planning and Zoning Commission approved a project for a waterfront football-specific stadium.

The stadia will be a part of a larger infrastructure plan to create a mixed-use destination for retail, residential, and community zones. Bridgeport’s Mayor, Joseph Ganim, says the city is ready to drive the project.

“Bridgeport is in the midst of a renaissance, rebranding from an industrial city to now the capital of arts and entertainment of Connecticut,” he said via media release.

“I am proud to announce that MLS NEXT Pro will join that landscape in providing entertainment opportunities for Bridgeport residents and the region at large.”

The club’s formation represents the first foray into sports ownership for the Connecticut Sports Group (CTSG), an organisation founded and led by Connecticut local and technology entrepreneur, André Swanston.

Though in its infant stages, the organisation relies primarily upon its partnership with the University of Connecticut, and minor investors within the state.

Swanston, 42, becomes not just one of the youngest principal owners of a football club in the country, but also making a difference as one of the few Black sports owners in US sport overall.

“As CT United FC embarks on its MLS NEXT Pro journey, I want to extend deep gratitude to the incredible fans, community leaders and government officials who have embraced our vision – I am confident that, united, Connecticut can compete against anyone,” he proclaimed via press release.

“We are committed to building the infrastructure – from a free youth academy to a state-of-the-art stadium – needed to propel Connecticut to the highest levels of soccer.”

The formation of CT United represents an exciting prospect for the people of Connecticut, who will be eager to see CTSG deliver on its vision to ‘create unforgettable experiences that inspire communities.’

It also showcases Major League Soccer’s continuing expansion, and intent to re-invigorate communities across North America.

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