The considerable challenge facing Asia’s coaching elite

Ange Postecoglou

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is home to a litany of successful, transformative and triumphant coaches, many of whom have left an indelible mark on the region for years to come. However, the extensive measures put in place by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) leave these coaches facing a monumental effort in their attempt to progress their career – coaching amongst the elite of European club football.

The documented challenges faced by Socceroos Asian Cup winning coach Ange Postecoglou in taking on the managerial role at Scottish powerhouse Celtic FC is a significant example recently. Postecoglou’s Australian Pro coaching license – which is the highest level of coaching qualification in Asia – was not recognised as an equivalent to UEFA’s Pro coaching licence, a requirement for coaches in the continent.

In Postecoglou’s case, the appointed Celtic Head Coach was recognised by the UEFA Coaching Convention for his prior experience and success and pro diploma in the AFC, with the clutch that he had to undergo a Recognition of Confidence procedure to determine his aptitude. Following this UEFA convention process he received a ‘certificate of competency’ that now allows him to coach Celtic parallel to completing his UEFA Pro licence.

Ange coaching

Such a process is no doubt unnecessarily extensive, particularly for a coach of Postecoglou’s calibre. Moreover, it is an even greater toil of a process for AFC coaches who lack Postecoglou’s years of experience. As even though an AFC Pro Diploma relates to the UEFA A License, it is not the UEFA equivalent.

FIFA’s efforts to establish a cross-confederation recognition of coaching licences have gained little traction within the UEFA confederation to date.

Coaches with non-UEFA credentials are forced to undergo a process whereby they are assessed by a bureau of the Jira Panel – the body responsible for the developing and fostering of coaching and coach education across Europe – on a case-by-case basis and on request. There is no official agreement between UEFA and other confederations regarding the mutual recognition of coaching qualifications.

An initiative led by Head of Football Education Services at UEFA, Frank K. Ludolph in October 2019, represents the most recent effort to amend the UEFA Coaching Convention in support of non-UEFA coaches seeking recognition of their respective confederation’s pro licence by UEFA.

Among other recommendations, the initiative suggested that for recognition of non-UEFA coaching qualifications to be considered, the coach would need to have at least five years’ experience coaching a team of the club or the national team of a FIFA member association at the relevant training level and the relevant coaching qualification which meets UEFA’s minimum criteria.

“The procedure determines whether these competences are ‘recognised’. This means coaches will need to compile supporting documents for the procedure, go through the assessment and convince the assessors (expert panel) that they possess the required competences,” Ludolph stated in his letter address to the Jira Panel.

“If the assessment is successful, the coach will receive an official UEFA Recognition of Competence certificate, not a UEFA diploma/licence. This certificate will be valid for three years and will be renewed if the coach in question completes 15 hours of further education with a UEFA member association in that time, in accordance with the further education requirements applicable to UEFA licence holders. Recognitions of competence will remain transferable between UEFA member associations that are parties to the UEFA Coaching Convention.”

Postecoglou and many Australian coaches – including Bristol City’s Tanya Oxtoby and the recently announced Juventus coach Joe Montemurro – befit the aforementioned recommendations, however change has been a slow and laborious process with little eventuating from these recommendations.

Tanya Oxtoby Bristol City

The challenging circumstances that Australian coaches have found themselves in overseas have been well-documented, but it is often out of a sheer desire to make the step up that leaves coaches trapped in complicated and indefinite contracts.

Speaking at a Football Coaches Australia (FCA) webinar last year were international lawyers Josep Vandellos and Susanah Ng and Australian lawyer Peter Paleogolos. Their inclusion in the webinar was essential in shedding light on the at times vague and difficult contract situations faced by coaches overseas.

FCA CEO Glenn Warry, who facilitated the webinar, said that the following key issues emanated from the experts’ presentations that focused on how a coach’s role can be defined within their coaching contract overseas according to their qualifications.

“Ensure your role as coach and other appointments such as football director and head of football are clearly defined in the contract,” he said.

“Only football coaches and clubs will have the standing to stay in proceedings before the FIFA legal bodies. Therefore, it is crucial that the designation of a ‘coach’ is included on the Contract (and that the job scope at the very least refers to some coaching duties) if the coach is to be appointed in a dual role.

“The object of contract represents the work that the coach engages to render in favour of the club. It is important to make sure the job for which the coach is recruited is accurately defined as: Head Coach, Assistant Coach or Goalkeeper Coach.”

The struggles experienced by Australian and Asian coaches in attempting to progress their career are inherently stifled by guidelines that appear to act as a preventative, rather than as a method to ‘upskill’ coaches who would no doubt be capable of matching it against the very best if given the role. Warry elaborated further by stating: “Australian coaches who wish to coach in Europe should carefully plan their professional development and coach education pathway. For Australian players who play in Europe, or coaches with dual nationality, the UEFA Coach Accreditation pathway may be more appropriate.

Montemurro Coaching

The appointment of Postecoglou and Montemurro to the Celtic and Juventus roles respectively is pivotal for not just the recognition of Australian coaches, but coaching professionals right across the AFC. And, dependant on the success that comes Montemurro’s and Postecoglou’s way, it may be the instigator of change that the region is crying out for.

Football Tasmania launches Coaching for Women Scholarship program

Football Tasmania Scholarship

Football Tasmania has announced the launch of their Coaching for Women Scholarship program, an initiative which reaffirms the state’s recent focus on female participation within the sport. The program is an important step towards growing participation across all areas of the game for women and girls.

The Scholarship aims to address the lack of female representation within the state and wider country’s coaching ranks, with women from clubs and associations with states encouraged to reach out and apply.

At least five female coaches will be provided with Scholarships and the subsequent opportunity to complete the Football Australia ‘C’ Licence course. This will consist of at least one participant from each region – North West, Northern Tasmania and Southern Tasmania.

Each Scholarship includes a $1,200 contribution towards the course fee for the FA ‘C’ Licence course. Additionally, successful applications will have their attendance to the 2021/22 coaches conference included in the Scholarship.

Going forward, coaches will receive continuous support from Football Tasmania’s Coach Development Manager, David Smith, and Female Development Officer, Debra Banks. The successful Applicants will be required to complete the Scholarship within 18 months and attend the 2021/22 Football Tasmania State Coaching Conference.

Furthermore, an opportunity will be potentially offered to participants of the Scholarship program to travel interstate as an assistant coach at the Girls National Youth Championship in 2022.

Plans to increase participation across all areas of football are what is driving the initiative behind Football Tasmania’s Women’s Scholarship program.

The state’s governing footballing body is seeking to increase female participation to at least 30% total, whilst raising the number of active coaches and referees with accreditation by 15%.

With this program, Football Tasmania have recognised the significance of the raising awareness of and strengthening of the pathways for players, coaches and referees. As a result, strong and effective relationships with clubs can be better maintained in order to deliver tangible value for all stakeholders. Moreover, initiatives that subsequently recognise and reward achievements and successes in the game at all levels can champion the game for the state as a whole.

For those interested, the application form can be accessed here.

AFC locks in exclusive media rights deal with CBS Sports

The AFC has announced a multi-platform agreement with CBS Sports, making Paramount+ the exclusive home of AFC competitions in the US.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has announced a multi-platform agreement with CBS Sports, making Paramount+ the exclusive home of AFC competitions in the United States of America.

Coverage will start in September and run through to 2024. Paramount+ will stream AFC’s world-class competitions exclusively, including the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar Final Round, AFC Champions League, AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.

Paramount+ will show live club and national team matches, between 2021 and 2024 – including coverage of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar Final Round, where Asia’s top 12 nations compete to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Additionally, Paramount+ will cover the remainder of the 2021 AFC Champions League from the Knockout Stage matches through to the Final in November. The service becomes the home of the AFC Champions League each season through to 2024.

CBS Sports Digital will deliver extra coverage and original programming, featuring highlights across social channels and CBS Sports HQ, the 24/7 streaming sports news network.

AFC General Secretary Dato’ Windsor John:

“The AFC is delighted to enter into this partnership with CBS Sports, which represents another progressive step towards increasing the visibility and consumption of the AFC’s competitions beyond our Continent.

“We look forward to working with CBS Sports in growing the fanbase of the AFC’s world-class competitions in the vibrant North American market as well as in the AFC’s territories in Guam and Northern Mariana Islands and we thank them for believing in the future of Asian football.”

CBS Sports’ coverage of the upcoming AFC Women’s Asian Cup, that serves as the qualifiers for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia/New Zealand 2023, begins from 2022. Coverage of the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 begins in June that year. Additional broadcast details will be announced ahead of each respective competition.

Executive Vice President and General Manager, CBS Sports Digital, Jeffrey Gerttula:

“The addition of Asian Football further elevates our extensive lineup of live soccer coverage on Paramount+, highlighted by elite club competition and some of the top national teams across both the men’s and women’s international game.

“Offering matches from this expansive region provides even more value by delivering year-round soccer coverage at a time of day where the sport traditionally isn’t offered to American fans.”

Board Member and CEO at Football Marketing Asia (FMA), Patrick Murphy:

“We are thrilled to welcome CBS Sports to the family of AFC media partners. This partnership marks another important step on our mission to bring Asian football to ever bigger global audiences; hence we are proud to see the AFC’s national team and club competitions soon being available across the U.S. and Canada.

“We are looking forward to working with CBS Sports to provide an exciting experience for its viewers, and to continue to grow the audience of Asian football fans in North America.”

The agreement includes rights in Canada and Bermuda, as well as certain overseas US territories, such as the AFC Member Associations, Guam and Northern Mariana Islands.

Paramount+ is a leading destination for U.S. football fans, now featuring more than 1,600 live matches each year with the addition of AFC competitions.

The extensive portfolio of football properties now includes UEFA club competitions; NWSL; Concacaf national team competitions (Men’s World Cup Qualifiers, Women’s World Cup Qualifiers, Men’s Nations League, and Women’s Nations League); Italy’s Serie A; Argentina’s Liga Profesional de Fútbol; Brazil’s Campeonato Brasileirão Série A; and AFC competitions (AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar, AFC Champions League, AFC Women’s Asian Cup and AFC Asian Cup).

Football Coaches Australia and XVenture announce John Moriarty Football scholarships

In National Reconciliation Week 2021, Football Coaches Australia is pleased to present FCA XVenture Essential Skills program scholarships to Tiffany Stanley and Bryce Deaton, who both coach for John Moriarty Football.

In National Reconciliation Week 2021, Football Coaches Australia is pleased to present FCA XVenture Essential Skills program scholarships to Tiffany Stanley and Bryce Deaton, who both coach for John Moriarty Football (JMF).

Australia’s Reconciliation theme for 2021 is ‘More than a word’. Reconciliation takes action, action which urges the reconciliation movement towards braver and more impactful progress.

Providing Tiffany and Bryce with this FCA XV scholarship opportunity will support them to achieve their goals on their coaching journey.

In awarding the FCA XV scholarships FCA Glenn Warry said: “FCA strongly believes that much more can be done to encourage and support Indigenous Australians to become qualified coaches. At the moment, there are very few Indigenous coaches in the Australian football ecosystem. This is a concerning reality and one we would like to help address now and in the coming years.”

JMF is Australia’s most successful and longest-running Indigenous football program. A transformational skills mastery initiative for 6–18-year-olds, JMF uses football for talent and positive change, improving school attendance and achieving resilient, healthier outcomes in Indigenous communities.

Each week JMF reaches nearly 2,000 Indigenous children in 18 communities across four regional hubs in Dubbo (NSW), Kuranda (QLD), Tennant Creek (NT) and Borroloola (NT).

JMF Co-Founder and Co-Chair and the first Aboriginal to be selected to play football for Australia, John Moriarty, said: “We are very proud of Tiffany and Bryce and their achievements. One of JMF’s biggest strengths is our local coaches of which 63 percent are Indigenous and 40 percent are female.

“Local employment and capacity building is at the heart of what we do and Tiffany and Bryce are wonderful ambassadors for us. Both have achieved a great deal and it is because of their hard work we’ve been able to change the lives of so many Indigenous children and their families,” Mr Moriarty added.

A key focus of JMF is “building local staff capacity through mentoring, education and skills development to access best practice ideas and experience”. These scholarships will support that focus.

Wiradjuri woman Tiffany Stanley is a Community Coach at JMF’s Dubbo hub and is currently the holder of the AFC/FA C License.

“I’ve been coaching for almost two years and I believe it’s only the beginning for me. I want to become the best coach I can be and I believe that this scholarship will give me the opportunity to better myself, help my football coaching knowledge and to help me achieve my educational and coach career goals which are to have a positive mindset and attitude,” she said.

“I want to become a great leader and role model for young Indigenous kids. My biggest goal would be to become the first Indigenous woman to coach the Matildas.”

Aniwan man Bryce Deaton is Head Coach and Mentor at JMF’s Dubbo hub and is currently the holder of an AFC/FA Youth C License.

“This scholarship would give me the opportunity to expand my understanding of how I can improve the way I interact with players and coaches to ensure that I am able to give them the best support they need to succeed in what they want to do, especially in football,” he said.

“I am a huge advocate that coaching has evolved where we are no longer coaching a team, but a group of individuals, where everyone learns, strives, and understands at completely different levels, and as coaches we need to ensure a player is developing continuously.

“I would love to continue through my Coaching Qualifications (including GK levels) to strengthen my contribution to regional NSW football and then on to the elite club level as a GK coach. My biggest goal would be to develop elite programs to continually produce the next players to bring success to the national team.”

Founder of XVenture Mike Conway works with, and mentors, elite players and coaches worldwide.

“We are delighted to be able to support the future of Australian coaching talent with these scholarships for the John Moriarty Foundation. Their work is so important,” he said.

“The more we can provide positive learning, growth and development opportunities for young coaches, the brighter their lives and the future of our game will be.”

© 2020 Soccerscene Industry News. All Rights reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

Most Popular Topics

Editor Picks