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Sydney to host Matildas in Olympic Qualifying Tournament

Football Federation Australia (FFA) have announced that Group B of the 2020 AFC Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament will be held in Sydney, Australia.

The Matildas will now play games against Chinese Taipei, Thailand and China PR on home soil, with the tournament set to begin next week.

The Asian Football Confederation decided to change the location of the tournament, following the outbreak of the coronavirus in the original host city of Wuhan.

FFA Chairman Chris Nikou is looking forward to hosting the tournament in Australia, despite the circumstances of the decision.

“FFA is happy and willing to organise this Olympic Qualification Tournament, and we look forward to hosting the women’s senior national teams from China PR, Thailand and Chinese Taipei in February.

“The safety of all players, officials and fans is of paramount importance to Football Federation Australia and the Asian Football Confederation, and we are confident we will host a successful tournament here in Sydney.

“I would also like to acknowledge the support of the Australian Government in enabling FFA to host this event at short notice.”

The tournament will be watched closely by FIFA, who is set to make a decision on the host of the 2023 Women’s World Cup in the coming months.

Australia is bidding to co-host the 2023 tournament with New Zealand, with Japan, Brazil and Colombia also still in the running.

Further details on the scheduling of the matches for the qualification tournament will be announced this week.

Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Rockdale Ilinden FC secure $1.3m for facilities upgrade

Rockdale Ilinden FC

Historic Australian footballing side Rockdale Ilinden FC have announced that the Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre will be receiving $1.3m for the construction of a new pavilion, following a pledge made by the Labor government prior to their Federal election win.

A facilities upgrade has been long overdue for the National Premier Leagues NSW 1 side, with the club’s growing number of women’s teams needing to be catered for. As a result, the pavilion will include women’s change rooms, referees change rooms and a gym, which come at a crucial time in the lead up to the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

The timing of the announcement comes after Football Australia’s “equaliser” campaign was recently launched to ensure clubs have female friendly facilities. It is also a key pillar in the Club’s ongoing push to finally secure a Girls SAP licence, alongside a women’s NPL licence.

In a press statement, the Ilinden club thanked a number of people that made this pledge possible.

“We wish to congratulate the Honourable Anthony Albanese MP and our local member, the Honourable Linda Burney  MP- Member for Barton on their re-election to the Australian Parliament.

“The Club sincerely thanks the newly formed Albanese Government for its commitment to women’s football.

“We also wish to acknowledge and thank the ongoing support of our supportive Bayside Council, our State Members of Parliament and Football St George.”

Project timeframes and expected completion will follow shortly.

New Zealand Football and Good Sports to promote positive youth sporting culture

Good Sports

New Zealand’s national governing football body, New Zealand Football, has teamed up with Good Sports to create positive sporting experiences for children by educating and supporting parents and other adult influencers in youth sport.

A further 15 national and regional sport organisations have signed up to Good Sports, which is an initiative developed by Aktive. This includes nine National Sports Organisations – Badminton NZ, Basketball NZ, Gymnastics NZ, Hockey NZ, Netball NZ, NZ Cricket, NZ Football, Snow Sports NZ, Surf Lifesaving NZ – and six Regional Sports Trusts – Active Southland, Sport Bay of Plenty, Sport Manawatu, Sport Northland, Sport Waikato and Sport Whanganui.

Aktive and Sport NZ will work closely with these organisations to implement Good Sports and develop strategies to better engage and support parents. Good Sports is well aligned with Sport NZ’s ‘Balance is Better’ philosophy and is being used as part of Sport NZ’s national parent approach.

Aktive Chief Executive Jennah Wootten says Balance is Better and Good Sports are complementary and the growing momentum will benefit tamariki, rangatahi and whānau around the country.

“With a number of challenges in children’s sport stemming from adult involvement, Good Sports focuses on raising adults’ awareness about their behaviours and how these impact youth sport. It examines what parents can do differently to ensure children and young people are enjoying sporting experiences,” she said in a statement.

“Together with Sport NZ, we are proud to work with sport organisations to implement Good Sports in their communities. It is fantastic to see the enthusiastic response and the important difference this is making for our tamariki and rangatahi in developing a lifelong love of sport.”

Andy Boyens, Technical Director at New Zealand Football, is excited to join Good Sports and provide even better experiences on and off the pitch.

“NZF are excited to join the Good Sports journey because we know the significant value that our football parents and volunteers give to the development journey of our young people playing the beautiful game across Aotearoa. We want to make sure that those people are well informed and have the knowledge, skill and confidence necessary to support young footballers to enjoy a life long love and enjoyment in our game,” he said in a statement.

The incoming group of organisations will engage in the first of two residentials this year in Hamilton from May 30 to June 1, where they will start in a 12-month accelerated learning environment designed around creating more targeted engagements with parents.

Sport NZ’s national parent approach focuses on supporting national and regional organisations to engage more effectively, support and deliver initiatives to parents and whānau through the provision of tools, resources and research.  Additionally, Sport NZ utilises digital platforms such as the Balance is Better website and Sport NZ social media channels to provide information to help parents grow their understanding of the important role they play in youth sport.

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