Professional Footballers Australia publishes Socceroos 2022 FIFA World Cup report

PFA Socceroos 2022 Report

Professional Footballers Australia (the PFA) has released a report which analyses the Socceroos’ 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign.

The report here provides the PFA and the broader Australian football community with insights from the experiences of Australia’s elite players at the pinnacle tournament of men’s football and a benchmark against which to measure the Socceroos’ future participation in international competition.

The report comprises player feedback on the Socceroos’ priorities during the next World Cup ‘cycle’, and insights into the production of the next generation of national team stars, from a player perspective. It also includes an overview of the economic impact World Cup qualification delivers for Australian football.

The release of the PFA’s research arrives at a time where the Socceroos continue preparations for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup (to be held in January/February 2024), Australia’s junior national teams compete in international tournaments in Europe and Asia and the Matildas prepare for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Key findings of the report include:

A world class environment delivers World Cup success

The report reveals a ‘blueprint’ for the ongoing international success for Australia’s National Teams, including insights into the world-class environment provided to the
Socceroos. The same environment will be afforded to the Matildas at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicking off next month through the world-leading Collective
Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed between the players and Football Australia in 2019.

A new generation emerges

The squad selected at the 2022 FIFA World Cup was the Socceroos’ second youngest by average age. Coupled with emerging talent from the A-Leagues and junior National Teams, the face of the Socceroos is set to evolve further during the next World Cup cycle.

The A-League provides a clear pathway to the National Team

Eight players in the 26-man FIFA World Cup squad were playing in the A-League Men when selected, a record high. A further 12 players had played in the A-League previously, with only six players not having played domestically. These selections and recent developments surrounding youth development provide a promising signal that the A-League is capable of providing a pathway into the national team under current settings.

Players’ feedback on the future

Looking ahead to the Asian Cup, the 2026 FIFA World Cup and beyond, the players said they were focused on building on their progress in 2022 with a preference for more matches against the right opponents to maximise their performance. Nearly half the players (47%) believed that prioritising matches in Australia should be a focus. The players also said that issues impacting young children, such as the cost to play, marketing to attract more children to the sport, and more community facilities for kids, as the highest priorities to help facilitate the production of the next generation of Socceroos and Matildas.

Commenting on the report, PFA Co-Chief Executive Beau Busch said:

“This report is unprecedented in its scope and scale. It is designed to help the Australian football community and all our interconnected stakeholders to deeply understand the conditions that deliver success for our National Teams, to support our collective ambition of sustained international success.

“It is also an important benchmarking tool to help contexualise the achievements of the Socceroos over time and provide an evidence-based, objective analysis of our players and team. There’s a ‘boom and bust’ narrative that often clouds the performance of our National Teams and the performance of our sport, so long-term, data-driven evidence provides a better basis for our game to take calculated strategic decisions towards improvement.

“The report reflects the vital role that collective bargaining has played in delivering a world class environment, which is a clear pre-condition for international success. Equally to the credit of Head Coach Graham Arnold and his staff, the players’ assessments of aspects such as the environment, team culture, and tactical preparation, were also very positive.

“Our hope is that this report provides a foundation for dialogue around the key areas of collective focus and responsibility for our players, Football Australia, the A-Leagues and our National Teams as we pursue a competitive edge on the global stage.”

Click here to download the report.

Staff Writer
Soccerscene is committed to promoting, enhancing and growing the soccer industry in Australia. We believe soccer news has captured the attention of grassroots soccer clubs, apparel and equipment suppliers – which extends to governing bodies, club administrators and industry decision makers. Many of the auxiliary products and services support the growth of the soccer industry in Australia and Asia, a passion we also share and want to express through our work.

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.

Most Popular Topics

Editor Picks

Send this to a friend