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Two-time Women’s World Cup winner Tony Gustavsson to lead Matildas

FFA has tonight announced Tony Gustavsson has been appointed as the 14th Head Coach of the Westfield Matildas.

The Swede has enjoyed a storied 21-year coaching career, including winning two FIFA Women’s World Cups as Assistant Coach of the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT).

Gustavsson was formally welcomed to the role on Australian soil on Tuesday, visiting Australia House in London.

“I am extremely proud and happy to have been appointed Head Coach of the Westfield Matildas. I feel that my 21 years of coaching experience has put me in the position to be ready for this,” Gustavsson said.

“I have always said that the Matildas have the potential to be one of the best teams in the world and that is one of the reasons that I wanted to get on board with this job. I have been in the pressure cooker a lot of times and in an environments that demand success. These experiences will be beneficial as we do this together with the fans, the stakeholders, the players, and the staff as a team.”

The 47 year old has also enjoyed success at club level, leading Swedish club Tyresö FF to the domestic title in 2012, runner’s up in 2013, and to the UEFA 2014 Women’s Champions League Final in 2014.

FFA Chairman Chris Nikou was thrilled to welcome Gustavsson to the role, which in addition to the World Cup in 2023 will involve leading the Matildas to two Olympic Campaigns and the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup in India.

“We are delighted to have secured the services of Tony Gustavsson, who has been appointed following a robust and well-governed process, which was administered by a selection panel with strong football acumen and expertise in the women’s game and sport more broadly,” Nikou said.

FFA Chief Executive Officer James Johnson was also pleased to announce the appointment, saying that Gustavsson’s intimate knowledge of global football, experience at major tournaments, and strong history of success would be invaluable factors to lead the team forward.

“Tony arrives at the Westfield Matildas and FFA boasting a wealth of experiences in the international game and a strong track record of success,” Johnson said.

“Having worked closely with some of the best female footballers and coaches in the world and, through his time with the USWNT, he has developed an excellent understanding of what it takes to prepare for and perform in the intense, high-expectation environments of major international tournaments. We believe that in Tony, we have appointed a coach who will not only surpass the benchmarks and criteria we set as an organisation, but the standards that are expected by our players, football community and fans.”

“Throughout the process it was evident that Tony is eager to buy in to what we are working to build with the Westfield Matildas – an uniquely Australian team with a strong identity that is recognised as world class both on and off the pitch. We want to elevate our Westfield Matildas even further as a unifying symbol of the game to inspire all Australians, young and old. We believe that the combination of Tony’s persona and his experience make him the right person to help us do this. Importantly, Tony has also demonstrated a strong desire to positively influence the broader Australian football landscape by working closely with elite Australian coaches including Mel Andreatta, Rae Dower, and Leah Blayney to enhance their skillsets and help bring the next generation of female players through the development pathway over the crucial four year period ahead.”

 

Football Victoria cancels competitions in Melbourne for 2021

The City of Greater Geelong has engaged with Football Victoria to further plans for a regional soccer centre.

Football Victoria (FV) have announced the cancellation of all metropolitan Melbourne competitions for the remainder of the 2021 season.

In a letter to the football community, FV CEO Kimon Taliadoros and FV President Antonella Care explained that the decision was made in the best interests of those who make the game what it is in Victoria.

“FV’s vision is to provide Football For All, Anywhere, Anytime, and alongside the valuable feedback of our stakeholders, this has continued to shape our decision making process. Importantly though, the safety of our community sits above all else, as our most important consideration for all football decisions throughout the pandemic.

“Our NPL and Competitions teams have worked day and night to produce an extraordinary body of work, planning multiple scenarios for every competition. This work is detailed, well-considered and milestone driven.

“We would like to express our gratitude to our football community, who have engaged in roundtable discussions, completed surveys and provided direct feedback to the team, all of which has been absolutely essential for us to best align with the needs of our community.

“Many of the planned scenarios have been eliminated in recent weeks, due to the key dates passing with extended lockdowns across the state.

“Unfortunately, the most recent Government announcement means our options to complete the 2021 season for our metropolitan Melbourne competitions have now reached an end.”

“We know this news is disappointing, particularly following last year’s abandoned season.

“Winter sport has borne the brunt of lockdowns and in turn, the impact on our football community has been immense. Our Clubs, Associations, Officials, Administrators, Volunteers and Players have bravely weathered the storm, rallying through each round of restrictions, showing a resilience that I know will keep our community strong through yet another challenge.”

As a result of the cancelled competitions in Melbourne, there will be no outcomes in regards to promotion and relegation between divisions. No premiers or champions will be crowned as well, as a result.

FV are still optimistic of a return to football for participants in Regional Victoria, subject to the easing of government restrictions and the governing body’s outlined conditions.

The organisation will also engage with clubs involved in the NIKE F.C. Cup and Dockerty Cup finals, to determine whether these games are able to be completed by the end of the year.

More information in regards to FV’s Fee Refund Policy will be sent out to the community by Friday, 17 September.

For further developments and to access other resources visit: https://www.footballvictoria.com.au/

W-League set for expansion ahead of 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup

The W-League is set to grow by three teams in time for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023.

The Australian Professional Leagues announced plans for expansion to Australia’s premier women’s football competition, with Central Coast Mariners, Western United and Wellington Phoenix set to join ahead of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, set to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

The expansion will be the competition’s first since 2015 when Melbourne City joined, with the exact timeline for the addition of these teams to be confirmed in the coming weeks by the APL, and will take the number of teams competing in the competition to 12.

Central Coast Mariners and Wellington Phoenix have aggressively pursued a W-League license for a number of years, whilst Western United, who joined the A-League in the last expansion of the men’s competition, have always earmarked their commitment to entering a team in the W-League as well.

The expansion means that the W-League Final Series will have an additional final – a Preliminary Final – which will reward teams finishing first and second with a ‘second chance’ on the road to the Grand Final.

Sarah Walsh, Head of Women’s Football at Football Australia, welcomed the news.

“Women and girls now have more choice than ever when it comes to selecting a sport to play in Australia. It’s imperative that Football continues to progress and evolve when it comes to providing greater access and opportunity for women and girls in football,” she said.

“With the W-League entering its 14th season and a commitment to broader expansion of the league, I am confident that we are taking the right steps forward as a game to ensure that football is the number one sport of choice for women and girls as we strive for 50:50 gender balance by 2027.

“Football has always provided women in football with a clear and accessible pathway to play for the Commonwealth Bank Matildas and junior women’s national teams. W-League expansion not only broadens these existing pathway opportunities, it additionally strengthens our national team aspirations for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 and beyond.”

The expansion will deliver greater commercial opportunities, as well as playing opportunities, for football in Australia, according to APL Managing Director Danny Townsend.

“This is just the beginning of a sustained investment programme in women’s football – we announced unbundling just 8-months ago, and are already bringing more games, more players, better broadcast, improved employment conditions and enhanced footballing pathways,” he said.

“We want to unleash football’s potential in Australia and this is a significant step forward in delivering the future that the game deserves.”

A long-term collective bargaining agreement was also announced, to be finalised between the APL and the Professional Football Association, much to the delight of PFA Co-CEO, Kate Gill.

“The expansion of the competition is an important step forward and illustrates the confidence in the women’s game and the solid foundations that have been built,” she said.

“The players have been vocal advocates for the growth of the competition and positively APL’s women’s football strategy will not only provide additional employment opportunities and match minutes for our talented players but delivers a healthy boost to the W-League in the lead up to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.”

In addition to the new teams and expanded competition, the APL will also launch a new “Club Championship”.

The Club Championship will reward the club (not the team) with the most combined points at the end of the men’s and women’s seasons.

The new trophy is designed to bring together fans of the men’s and women’s games together.

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