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State Federations unite together for bushfire relief

A number of state football federations in Australia have expressed their support for those affected by bushfires across the summer.

Football Victoria, Football NSW, Football Queensland and Football South Australia have already released statements and will roll out initiatives to help contribute their donations to the cause.

Football Victoria CEO Peter Filopoulos has kickstarted the campaign by donating $10,000 to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal.

It has also been confirmed that the annual Community Shield matches and Round 1 of the NPL Victoria Men’s season (February 13th-16th 2020) will be a Bushfire Relief Appeal round.

Both Community Shield games will take place at City Vista Reserve, the new home of Caroline Springs George Cross FC.

In the men’s match, 2019 Dockerty Cup holders Hume City FC will take on 2019 NPL Victoria Champions Bentleigh Greens SC on Saturday, February 8, 2020, from 5pm.

The women’s match will see 2019 Nike F.C. Cup winners Calder United FC face NPLW Victoria Runners-Up FC Bulleen Lions on the weekend of March 15, 2020 (exact match date and time TBD).

In a statement by Football NSW CEO Stuart Hodge, the entire federation have expressed their sympathy for the people who have been caught up in the bushfires that have shocked everyone here and around the world, while thanking all the brave firefighters and emergency workers for the selfless role of protecting affected towns and communities.

Football NSW have said they are working with Football Federation Australia (FFA) and other Member Associations and Clubs about how to unite and add to the massive fundraising efforts already on display.

So far, Football NSW have confirmed they will make a donation to the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Appeal and also dedicate Round 1 of the NPL NSW competitions as a Bushfire Relief Round.

Football Queensland have committed to the bushfire appeal by working closely with Football Federation Australia (FFA), Brisbane Roar, regional zones and clubs.

CEO Robert Cavallucci has been involved in engaging the football community through fundraising initiatives and kick-started this with a donation to the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Appeal.

Not only will Round 1 of the NPL Queensland men’s season be dedicated as a Bushfire Appeal Round, but two special charity matches will also take place.

The first is a charity match between Brisbane Roar Legends vs an NPL Queensland Select Team and Celebrity VIP’s. It will be played before the Brisbane Roar v Wellington Phoenix A-League match at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday January 18, 2020.

The second of the charity matches will be The Football Foundation Cup, FQ’s curtain-raiser to the NPL Men’s season. NPL Queensland Premiers Lions FC will take on FQPL Premiers Sunshine Coast Wanderers on Saturday February 1, 2020 at Lions FC.

In a statement by Football South Australia, they have also given their support during this tough time, with more details to be released from them soon.

“Football SA is deeply saddened by the tragedies, losses and suffering that have resulted from bushfires in South Australia and around the nation.

We want to support the community at this time and will provide details in the coming days.

Our thoughts are with all people affected by the devastating events.”

In addition to these vital initiatives, FFA will dedicate the upcoming two rounds of Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League to raise funds for those impacted by the disasters.

If you have been affected by the bushfires and need support, please reach out to Lifeline.

Support is available 24/7 on 13 11 14, or nightly via Lifeline Text.

Lifeline Text is available 6pm – midnight (AEDT) on 0477 13 11 14.

You are not alone. Bushfire Relief tool kits are also available at lifeline.org.au

Liam Watson is a Senior Journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on international football policy, industry matters and industry 4.0

Player sentiment up, average age down: PFA releases annual report

Sentiment is well and truly up for A-League players, according to the annual Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) report.

This time last year, only 33% of A-League players felt confident about the direction of their football careers.

According to the PFA’s latest annual report, that number is now 56%.

Of the A-League’s 312 players, 200 responded to the 2020/21 A-League survey, capturing 70% of the current cohort, with the results proving that even despite the ongoing turbulence and uncertainty of COVID-19, the majority of players feel much more confident about their futures within the game.

The report highlights that Australian players actively want to remain in the A-League, as opposed to seeking opportunities overseas.

The key numbers that demonstrate this include:

  • 55% of players said they would like to stay playing in the A-League next season, up from 45% last year.
  • 56% of players are confident about the direction of their football careers, compared to 33% in 2019/20.
  • Only 4% of players would move to an overseas league even if it was for similar money and/or playing standard.
  • Only 16% of players who would prefer to move to an overseas league would only do so if the money and standards were better.

Other highlights of the report include that the average A-League player is getting younger.

Over the last 14 years, the average age of the A-League player has consistently trended upwards.

In 2020/21, however, this changed and the average age trended downwards, dropping from 27.6 to 25.1.

The number of players utilised in the A-League who were aged 21 and under came in at 107, representing 35% of the 300 players who received A-League minutes during the 2020/21 season.

The youngest squads on average belonged to Central Coast Mariners and Adelaide United, with average ages of 23.6 and 23.9 years respectively.

Another highlight was the fact that of the league’s 312 contracted players, 300 received A-League minutes.

“These reports have been immensely valuable, helping the PFA and the players better understand the industry in which they are employed, monitor the application of high-performance standards, assess technical progress and survey the players’ experience,” PFA Co-Chief Executive Beau Busch said of the report.

“For the last five years, we have been able to utilise these reports to formulate evidence-based positions to improve the environments in which our members work through collective bargaining.

“Promisingly, after a period of significant uncertainty, the players have indicated that they are more confident in the direction of their careers and the future of the competition than this time last year, signifying a positive shift in the perception of the A-League.”

The report also highlights the fact that A-League attendances were the lowest ever in the competition, thanks in large part to COVID-19, with an average attendance of 5,660.

Foreign players in the league reduced by 12 to a total of 51, whilst the average salary in the A-League is $136,791.

Access the full report HERE.

DFL and AWS introduce two new Match Facts to Bundesliga coverage

Bundesliga analysis

The Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have announced the addition of two new Bundesliga Match Facts powered by AWS that will premiere as graphics during broadcasts and in the official Bundesliga app during the 2021-2022 season.

The two new Match Facts – Shot Efficiency and Passing Profile – will bring the total number of advanced statistics to eight, with each of them aiming to give fans deeper insights into the action on the pitch.

The first of the new advanced stats – Shot Efficiency – compares the number of goals that a player or team has scored with how many goals the player or team should have scored based on the quality of their chances.

The second – Passing Profile – provides deeper insights into the pass quality of a player or an entire team. Both of the stats are generated by gathering and analysing the match feeds from live games in real time as they are streamed into AWS.

Both new stats made their debut during Matchday 4 on the clash between German Champion FC Bayern München and the second-placed team of the previous season RB Leipzig.

The two new Match Facts will better showcase the action on the field – giving fans, coaches, players, and commentators visual support for analysing the decision-making of players and teams.

Andreas Heyden, Executive Vice President of Digital Innovations for DFL Group, was excited to further innovate the matchday experience for viewers based both domestically and internationally.

“Bundesliga Match Facts powered by AWS allows us to give fans more insight into the game of football, broadcasters more interesting stories to tell and coaches and teams, more data to excel at their game,” he said.

“Last year, the reception for Bundesliga Match Facts around the world was very positive, and we expect through ML and AI to continue to innovate on these analytics to make them even better.

“These two new stats give fans a view into player efficiency that hasn’t been achieved before, and we are just at the beginning of our relationship with AWS. I’m excited to see how technology will continue to evolve the fan experience and the game.”

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