The benefits of partnerships in football

A common thread between Dortmund, Villarreal C.F and Celtic F.C is that they all have partnerships with football clubs in Australia – which provide benefits to both the local and international organisations.

There are different types of partnerships in football, such as the sponsorship type partnerships which see sportswear companies become the official apparel partner of a club.

Then there are the academy and football development partnerships, something that many Australian organisations have been taking advantage of. Partnerships with well-known leagues and clubs from overseas are becoming increasingly common.

The University of Canberra and La Liga’s education department, the La Liga Business School announced a collaboration agreement last week – with the intention to professionalise the local sports industry.

The ‘Beyond 2020: Professional Football Strategy – A discussion with La Liga’ webinar was the first event help through the partnership and was attended by many industry professionals including Capital Football CEO Phil Brown and Villarreal C.F. Business Development Manager, Mar Llaneza.

During the event LaLiga’s delegate in Australia and New Zealand, Glen Rolls spoke about La Liga’s international strategy and how the league is also looking to share its knowledge whilst also learning from the Australian football industry.

“We certainly look forward to developing more programs to help … professionalise the industry moving forward,” he said.

Professionalisation of the sports industry is clearly a focus for La Liga, the Director of LaLiga Business School, Jose Moya also referred to it in his statement upon the announcement of the partnership with the University of Canberra.

“This agreement reaffirms the commitment of our organization to professionalise the sports sector and, in line with our slogan, it’s not football, it’s LaLiga, this positions us at the forefront of the industry, not only in terms of sports but also in educational standards,” he said.

La Liga is not the only Spanish football organisation that is bringing its knowledge and expertise to Australian football. In November, La Liga club Villareal C.F expanded its presence in Australia with a Sydney academy.

The new academy sits alongside its Melbourne academy Monash Villarreal, formerly Monash City FC.

Another example of the advantages provided by a partnership is Sydney FC’s partnership with Dutch club, AFC Ajax.

Ajax are known for their expertise in youth development and have been sharing their knowledge with Sydney FC.

Sydney FC’s Technical Director – Youth, Kelly Cross said that the club wanted to learn all it can from arguably the best club in the world.

“As we continue to strive for excellence, it is fantastic to be able to learn from Ajax; we are looking to pick up all we can from a club who are arguably the best club on the planet in terms of bringing young players to an international level,” he said.

“We aim to continue to share knowledge and experience, as well as building the relationship in terms of exposing our players to the Ajax coaches.”

Even the Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspurs launched a Player Development Programme in New Zealand late last month. The Hotspurs are partnering with Scots College in Wellington.

Tottenham has two football development partnerships in Australia with the University of Wollongong in New South Wales and Nudgee College in Queensland.

Head of Global Coaching at Tottenham Hotspur, Andy Rogers said that Tottenham Hotspurs coaching has assisted player development at partner organisations.

“We are delighted to deliver our first ever player development programme in New Zealand, working in partnership with Scots College,” he said.

“Our international model has proven successful in the US, Asia and Australia in developing young players through authentic Tottenham Hotspur coaching.”

“We look forward to working closely with young players from the College and local coaches, helping to drive standards of player development in the region.”

These arrangements can also benefit teams off the field. The main focus of Dortmund’s partnership with Indian Super League team Hyderabad FC is coaching and youth development, however Dortmund is also providing assistance with fan-engagement and technology.

“We therefore look forward towards achieving shared successes, both on and off the pitch, as we continue to build nice stories and special experiences for our fans in India and around the region,” BVB APAC Managing Director, Suresh Letchmanan said in a statement regarding the partnership.

Dortmund also has an Australian partnership with NPL club Marconi FC, although this agreement focuses on coach and player development.

The Australian football industry is a lot smaller in comparison to the scale of the industry in some other countries – partnerships in football with major clubs and league can help Australian football grow.

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Daniel Foley is a sports junior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and micro industry matters.

Newcastle Jets secure A-League future with new owners confirmed

Newcastle Jets have confirmed Maverick Sports Partners as the Club’s new owners. This ownership, subject to final approval from the APL and Football Australia, will launch a “new era” for the Jets under MSP ownership.

This massive announcement comes not long after Australian Professional Leagues chairman Stephen Conroy failed to guarantee Newcastle’s future only three months ago.

The statement said that Maverick Sports Partners have confirmed an agreement to acquire the Newcastle Jets Football Club and are now deeply focused on implementing their plans to bring long term stability and success to this Club.

The Group lead by experienced sports administrator Maurice Bisetto who played a major part in the establishment of Western United FC in the A-Leagues.

Maverick Sports Group is an Australian sports consortium based out of Wetherhill Park in Sydney’s South-West.

Newcastle Jets CEO Shane Mattiske confirmed the significant news.

“Today is a hugely significant day for this Club and this community, as we confirm Maverick Sports Partners as the new owners of the Jets,” said Mattiske in a club statement.

“Over the last three years, we have built a strong foundation for the future of this football club, and it is exciting to be beginning a new era with incoming owners who believe in the opportunity that exists with this Club, with this community and with football as a whole.

“Throughout our process, Maurice Bisetto, the consortium representative, and his partners have demonstrated a deep understanding of football and how to bring success. They also understand this community and their plans are very much aligned with the work that is already underway. I know the Group will bring positive new thinking, new connections and a wealth of experience that will drive the growth of this Club moving forward.

“With this transition to a permanent ownership structure, it is important to acknowledge the support that the outgoing ownership group has provided to the Club over the last three and a half years. These owners believed in the importance of this Club to this community and to the A-Leagues’ competition as a whole.

“They have played a hugely significant role in the history of this Club and on behalf of all fans and stakeholders of the Jets I want to acknowledge the commitment and contribution they have made to us all. Their huge support of this Club will forever be remembered.”

Maverick Sports Partners Director Maurice Bisetto is determined to connect with the Newcastle, Hunter Valley and Northern NSW Community.

“We believe in this Club, the A-Leagues and its players and we’re determined to build success for the Jets and this region,” said Bisetto in a statement.

“We have been impressed by the strength of football here in this region. We know there is a strong historical fanbase and a strong participation base here and we want to bring all of these people together for our Men’s and Women’s games.

“Our team at Maverick Sports Partners are absolutely committed to, and very excited, about the opportunity that exists here at the Newcastle Jets. We see this as the beginning of a new era for the Newcastle Jets and look forward to building a truly great Club with the support of this community.”

This news is huge for the league and the Jets financially, with the club no longer being a financial responsibility for the four other A-League clubs that funded them (Sydney FC, Western Sydney, Western United and Wellington Phoenix).

The Jets can easily recruit players and rebuild to become a stronger unit on the field whilst securing stability off it, and the foundation A-League club with a healthy fanbase and great location can continue to exist.

Iconic Lambert Park re-opens after $2m refurbishment

Lambert Park, home of the APIA Leichardt Football Club, officially re-opened on the weekend after a successful $2m refurbishment.

The extensive investment for the iconic local club includes:

– Replacement of the all-weather playing surface

– Improved drainage

– New concrete edge, stairs and fencing around the perimeter

– Improved access with a new ramp to allow access on the field

The ground is gradually improving to become one of the premier NPL surfaces in the country and this is another one of many recent upgrades helped by the commitment of the Inner West Council.

Currently the ground has two main stands on either side of the playing surface. In the southern stands, there are dressing room facilities, a social club with views of the game, press facilities and media facilities.

On Sunday, the new look Lambert Park was the home for the APIA Leichardt vs Gladesville Ravens NPL Women’s game, and the day was spent in celebration of the refurbishment, as the club organised an event.

The event included an official ceremony by Inner West Council pre-game, free ice cream and activations which drew a decent crowd to the game.

APIA posted an update regarding Sunday’s re-opening.

“Lambert Park was filled with Maroon and Blue as over 400 predominantly female footballers celebrated the $2 million Lambert Park upgrade,” APIA confirmed on their social media accounts.

“The day was filled with some fantastic football and some great activations and enjoyed by all.

“The clubs would also like to thank local clubs Balmain & District Football Club, Leichardt Saints and opponents on the day Gladesville Ravens Women’s NPL football for supporting the day.

“It was a special day for football in our community.”

Lambert Park is an iconic ground that has seen some of Australia’s best names start their careers there since it was first used in 1954.

APIA Leichardt Football Club has produced more Matildas and Socceroos than any other club in Australian history.

The ground gets another much deserved upgrade and will continue to host NPL NSW matches across all age groups in both men’s and women’s competitions.

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