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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.”

 

The Football Coaching Life with Alen Stajcic: “I knew that I had more to give back to the sport”

Alen Stajcic

Football Coaches Australia is delighted to present the latest episode of the ‘Football Coaching Life Podcast’, with Gary Cole interviewing former Australia Women’s National Team and Central Coast Mariners A-League Men’s coach Alen Stajcic.

Alen is currently Head Coach of the Philippines Women’s National Team. The side, nicknamed the Malditas (yes that’s correct!), are being prepared for the 2022 AFC Asian Cup held in India. The Philippines will play in a group with Indonesia, Thailand and of course Australia (the Matildas).

Alen’s Serbian background led him to Bonnyrigg White Eagles in Sydney’s west, but a knee injury shortened his playing career and as a teacher he began coaching.

Staj has had a remarkable coaching journey that began at the Hills Sports High School and at New South Wales Institute of Sport, coaching the Sapphires in the Women’s National Soccer League. Both of these institutions saw teams achieve repeated successes with championship wins, but Alen learned that success comes in many ways.

He had an early taste of coaching the Matildas in an Assistant Coach role with the Young Matildas at the 2006 World Cup in Russia, before becoming the inaugural Head Coach at Sydney FC Women, which saw them win two championships and two premierships, as well as third place at the FIFA International Women’s Club Championship.

Then followed five fantastic years as Head Coach of the Matildas, during which they beat Brazil and World Champions USA for the first time, changing the belief of the players and achieving successes at the Asian Cup, Olympic Games and World Cup.

Alen’s ‘One Piece of Wisdom’ was: ‘It’s got to be fun; you’ve got to enjoy it because it’s a tough job. Coaching can be a lonely experience, so you’ve really got to find the enjoyment, fun and reward and the connection to what it is you want to achieve. If it’s not fun it’s just too tough a job!’

Please join us in sharing Alen Stajcic’s Football Coaching Life.

Economic returns predicted for biennial FIFA World Cup

biennial FIFA World Cup

Two independent studies have suggested that FIFA’s economic situation would be dramatically improved if both men’s and women’s FIFA World Cups switch to a biennial format.

The findings, from Nielsen and OpenEconomics, were presented in front of 207 of a possible 210 of FIFA’s member associations (MAs). The presentation took place at the FIFA Global Summit and was staged as the ‘latest step in the future of football’.

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino:

“We have been advised by independent experts that a switch to a biennial FIFA World Cup would provide a combined additional USD 4.4 billion in revenue from the first four-year cycle, with these funds being distributed across our 211 member associations,” he said.

“This additional revenue would allow solidarity funding to move from the current level of USD 6 million per cycle to up to potentially USD 25 million on average per FIFA member association in the first four-year cycle, with the actual distribution being subject to FIFA’s governance principles.”

Based on the findings, the following economic boosts would occur:

  • A USD 3.5 billion (4.9 billion AUD) solidarity fund would be established with revenues to be distributed to all MAs, to inject an average of up to USD 16 million (22 million AUD) to every MA, while also retaining a capacity to mitigate against any financial shortfalls suffered by any MA due to the international match calendar changes.
  • FIFA’s Forward distribution for every MA would increase by 50% to USD 9 million (12 million AUD) per cycle.

  • The overall uplift for world football would be in the region of USD 6.6 billion (9.1 billion AUD) in the first four-year cycle.
  • A biennial cycle for the men’s World Cup would produce a gross domestic product (GDP) gain of more than USD 180 billion (249 billion AUD) over a 16-year period, while generating two million full-time jobs.

FIFA Chief of Global Football Development, Arsene Wenger:

“FIFA’s commitment to the future of football remains resolute, as we want to give every talent a chance, and to create the right environment to deliver on that promise through our competitions,” he said.

“We want to reorganise the international match calendar, especially to promote and improve football, while respecting all stakeholders – and that begins with the players themselves, by introducing a mandatory rest period.”

As part of his plan, national-team fixtures would be grouped together under a new international match calendar, leading to less travel for the players.

FIFA is planning for more consultations with confederations and MA’s early this year, with the opportunity to explore the idea in further depth.

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