Wanderers Fives Facility now open to boost talent development

Wanderers Fives

Western Sydney Wanderers have taken another exciting step to become a leading club in Asia, with the opening of a multi-million dollar training facility.

In what will be a key influence in talent development, the facility features nine all-weather five-a-side FIFA grade synthetic turf pitches to provide an integrated high performance facility for not only the Wanderers but also the entire the Western Sydney community.

The NSW Government pledged a $5 million grant which includes a clubhouse with an office function room and also player change rooms. Additionally, the funding includes new amenities building, landscaping and supporting infrastructure.

Western Sydney Wanderers Chairman Paul Lederer signified the importance of the Wanderers Fives investment for the local football community.

“Our brand-new Wanderers Facility will be the centrepiece of our community engagement with an expected 200,000 visitors per year,” Lederer said in a statement.

“There is a significant football facilities deficit in Western Sydney and Wanderers Football Park shows our club is playing a major role to sustain and grow football in our community.”

Minister of Sport Alister Henskens added that the new training facility will be dedicated to the overall development of Western Sydney football talent, as well as other home competitions.

“The Western Sydney Wanderers have a brief but highly successful history,” Henskens said via press release.

“The new Wanderers Five Facility will ensure the Wanderers continue to develop players that dominate not just the A – League but Asian and World football just like the current Socceroos stars and former Wanderers players Keanu Baccus, Mitch Duke, and Aaron Mooy.

“Featuring dedicated female facilities, Wanderers Fives will also help break down barriers in women’s sport and support the success of the Wanderers Fives will also help break down barriers in women’s sport and support the success of the Wanderers A League Women’s team.”

Geoff Lee, the Member for Parramatta, officially opened the training facility on behalf of the NSW Government. This project is going to produce a 1 billion-dollar sports facility construction boom across NSW.

“The NSW Government sports facility infrastructure program is creating thousands of construction jobs and providing an economic boost to our economy,”  Lee said in a statement.

Western Sydney Wanderers CEO Scott Hudson thanked the NSW Government for their support and overall belief of the newly opened facility.

“We’re delighted to open our Wanderers Fives Facility at Wanderers Football Park today with support of the NSW Government,” Hudson added via press release.

“Our vision for Wanderers Fives has always been to make football more accessible as it addresses the significant football facility deficit here in Western Sydney.

“We’re excited for Wanderers Fives to be a home ground for diverse multicultural groups, local clubs, and associations for years to come.”

The project was funded through the second round of the Greater Sydney Sports facility – awarding $39.95 million across 22 projects for new and the existing facilities to improve the quality and quantity of sports infrastructure for all sections of the community – including women, people with a disability and multicultural communities.

FIFPRO Asia/Oceania report of AFC Champions League assesses the cost of competition for players and clubs

FIFPRO Asia/Oceania has published a report on key financial findings from the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) flagship club competition, the AFC Champions League (ACL).

The report, AFC Champions League Analysis Report: Counting the cost for players and clubs, was produced alongside sporting intelligence agency Twenty First Group (TFG).

This analysis is in response to the announcement of AFC Champions League Elite (ACLE) commencing in July this year, as revealed by the AFC in December 2022.

Based on TFG’s analysis, insights and feedback from participating players and clubs, the report addresses the feasibility of running ACLE with key factors including on-field quality and competitive balance, attendances and fan engagement, economics for clubs and players, travel and workload, competition design, and football development outcomes.

The research undertaken focusses on the value of introducing ACLE, based on the current operations of the ACL.

“This report analyses the merits and drawbacks of the current AFC Champions League based on various data and the results indicate that the merits do not outweigh the drawbacks for most players and clubs, making it an unsustainable system,” FIFPRO Asia/Oceania Chair Takuya Yamazaki outlines in the report.

“However, this does not mean that the future of football in Asia is bleak. On the contrary, we believe that this economically significant region can lead a discussion for truly sustainable competition formats.”

The report is the most comprehensive public analysis of the ACL and includes recommendations for what the AFC should be implementing.

“For players, the development of competitions is central to their employment conditions and future opportunities. As its primary workforce, the players are determined to play their role to shape a sustainable and innovation-driven future for the football sector in Asia,” Yamazaki added.

World Leagues Forum is involved in representing professional football leagues on a global level. General Secretary Jerome Perlemuter explained that collaboration between all stakeholders in the Asian region would help shape and deliver sustainable competitions.

“FIFPRO’s contribution to shaping the future of Asian continental competitions is most welcome,” Perlemuter said.

“Sustainable football development requires confederations, leagues and players to work together with a common objective to shape high potential continental competitions in a consistent global calendar. In this context, it is important to consider economic, geographical and cultural specificities. We look forward to continuing these discussions with FIFPRO and all stakeholders.”

To see the report in full, you can do so here.

Wellington Phoenix team up with Chinese outfit Tianjin Tiger

Wellington Phoenix have partnered with Chinese Super League team Tianjin Tiger to boost football growth in both nations.

As part of the Wellington Phoenix Tianjin Tiger Sister City Friendship, the clubs have agreed to hold an annual encounter between their men’s first teams.

The inaugural Wellington Phoenix F.C. vs. Tianjin Tiger F.C. Sister City Shield match is set to take place in Tianjin this September, with the second in Wellington next year.

The strategic collaboration was formed after Phoenix general manager David Dome visited Tianjin in September as part of a business delegation headed by Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau.

The club hosted a delegation from Tianjin, and the two sides signed the Memorandum of Understanding at the Mayor’s office.

Phoenix general manager David Dome was thrilled with the partnership going through.

“The mayoral delegation to China last year was invaluable and I’m thrilled about this partnership with Tianjin Jinmen Tiger, which will be of benefit to the club on multiple levels,” he said via press release.

“Not only will the men get to play a Chinese Super League side as part of their A-League pre-season each year, but the academy will soon benefit from an influx of footballers from Tianjin.

“We’re looking to grow our academy to have an international component and Tianjin Jinmen have committed to sending some young players to Wellington to attend training camps in July and we’re discussing the possibility of their juniors being part of a new international academy annual programme.

“International students are essential for the secondary and tertiary education sector in Wellington and we are evaluating how an elite international academy focused on football can be part of New Zealand’s international education offering.”

Wellington mayor Tory Whanau added that the city is excited about the opportunity. 

“I’d like to congratulate David Dome and the wider team for the work they’ve done on this MoU,” he stated via press release.

“I’m beyond stoked that the delegation last September has resulted in this MoU between the Wellington Phoenix and Tianjin Jinmen Tiger. 

“The development opportunities for both the clubs will be invaluable to not only football but also our cities.”

The Phoenix are enjoying a successful A-league campaign where they currently sit top of the table 18 games into the season.

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