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Winner of FFA Cup to qualify for AFC Champions League

Football Federation Australia (FFA) today announced that any team who wins the FFA Cup from 2021 will be granted entry to one of the AFC Champions League preliminary round slots among key changes to Australia’s largest annual club-based sporting competition.

After Covid-19 halted proceedings this year, the FFA Cup will return in 2021 with adjustments made to improve and enhance the excitement associated with the competition, particularly as clubs from all levels have the chance to make their mark against Asia’s best.

Here are all the details for the 2021 FFA Cup:

  • Preliminary Rounds to be held between February and July next year, with the Final Rounds planned to be played between July and November – match details to be confirmed.
  • FFA Cup Semi-Finals & Final earmarked to be on stand-alone weekends for the first time. Final to be played at neutral venue.
  • FFA Cup Final Rounds will feature an open draw for the first time – generating more competitive tension and uncertainty.
  • FFA Cup 2021 winner to be awarded a preliminary round slot representing Australia in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League*.
  • FFA Cup Final Rounds Slot Allocation for A-League clubs and Member Federations to remain unchanged.
  • FFA Cup Final Rounds Play-Off matches between the bottom four (4) placed A-League clubs from the A-League 2020/21 season will be played to determine the final two (2) A-League teams to enter the Round of 32.
  • Wollongong Wolves (NPL 2019 Champions) will be granted entry into the FFA Cup 2021 Final Rounds. Wollongong missed out in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Principle IV of our XI Principles speaks to the ongoing optimisation of Australia’s competition structures and ensuring that Australia’s football pyramid is aligned and connected,” FFA Chief Executive Officer James Johnson said.

“The FFA Cup is unique amongst all other sporting competitions in Australia in that a team of builders, electricians and office-workers might get the chance to compete against five-time A-League Champions Sydney FC.

“These changes to the FFA Cup from 2021 onwards demonstrate FFA’s commitment to not only enhancing the FFA Cup for the enjoyment of our football community, but to provide players and clubs at all levels of the game with the opportunity to aspire to represent Australia on the global stage.

“Playing the FFA Cup Final on a stand-alone weekend will enable the FFA Cup Final to develop its own identity within the national football calendar, and we envisage that an array of events – such as a national football conference or a national football weekend festival – can in the future be held in parallel with the FFA Cup Final.

“Furthermore, we believe that by connecting the FFA Cup Final with a variety of supporting football-focused events, we can engage a wide cross-section of the football community and make the event an increasingly attractive proposition to host cities and Governments.”

765 clubs had registered for the 2020 version of the FFA Cup and Johnson is confident these clubs will return.

“Next year’s FFA Cup Preliminary Rounds will be held much like in years gone by, however we are moving to adjust the structure of the Round of 32 – where professional A-League clubs enter the competition – into four geographic Zones,” he said.

“These Zones will promote local rivalries and competitive tension, and for the first time will feature an open draw to determine matches.

“The open draw will continue to feature right through to the semi-final stage, ensuring that there’s absolute uncertainty when the draw for each round of the competition is staged.” 

Liam Watson is the Managing Editor at Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

Optus Sport to stream Football Victoria’s Nike F.C. Cup Final

Nike F.C. Cup

Football Victoria have made the exciting announcement that Optus Sport will yet again stream the Nike F.C. Cup Final in 2022.

Optus Sport have been the home of the English Premier League in Australia since 2016, and are also home to LaLiga, the Women’s Super League, K-League, J-League and the EURO’s.

The Cup Final will be held on Sunday afternoon, when South Melbourne takes on Calder United at Valley Park Events Centre, Broadmeadows.

Football Victoria CEO Kimon Taliadoros applauded Optus Sport’s commitment and acknowledged their continued support of the local game in a statement released by Football Victoria.

“The appetite for women’s football is growing exponentially and we thank Optus Sport for their elevation of the Nike F.C. Cup again in 2022,” he said in a statement.

“We are thrilled that subscribers across the nation can experience the quality football that the two teams will deliver on Sunday.”

Match coverage starts at 3.30pm AEDT, with the final kicking off at 4pm this Sunday.

Coverage will also be provided for non-subscribers on NPL.TV and Football Victoria’s Facebook and YouTube.

Customers can watch Optus Sport on their favourite screens and devices via Fetch, Apple TV, Android TV compatible Smart TVs, LG Smart TVs, Apple Airplay, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox, compatible Samsung Smart TVs or desktop, or on-the-go via tablet, mobile, or laptop.

FC Bayern and Adobe partner to power the club’s digital transformation

Bayern and Adobe

FC Bayern, one of the world’s most historic and successful football clubs, have announced a multi-year partnership with Adobe to power the club’s digital transformation.

The agreement will bring new, personalised experiences to its millions of current and future global fans – both on and offline – while driving greater efficiency and more sustainable business practices through Adobe’s enterprise solutions.

With a rapidly growing global fanbase, FC Bayern is passionate about connecting fans to their favourite club in new ways. Adobe’s technology will provide FC Bayern the ability to better understand its fans to create more engaging and individualised sports experiences.

Adobe Experience Cloud, including Adobe’s customer data platform, will help FC Bayern create fan profiles to better understand how supporters engage with the brand and ensure they enjoy a more personal relationship with their favourite teams. This means the overall matchday experience will be enhanced for fans, giving supporters real-time notifications at their fingertips including merchandising discounts, video content and last-minute ticket availability.

With more digital experiences across platforms, channels and devices, FC Bayern fans will never miss a moment whether they are at the Arena, on the go or in the comfort of their home. For example, when a goal is scored fans will receive content on their preferred channel to celebrate the moment in real time, as well as post-match video commentary and highlights.

FC Bayern will also use Adobe Document Cloud, including Adobe Acrobat Sign, to digitise collaboration with fans, employees and partners. With Document Cloud, activities like signing up for memberships or executing player agreements will be quick and secure, while reducing environmental impact.

“Today’s FC Bayern fan is digitally savvy and craves new ways to get closer to our club and players, which is why we aim to create sustainable and lasting interactions that bring matchday excitement to our millions of passionate fans across the world,” FC Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn in a statement.

“We’re investing in a long-term digital strategy with Adobe’s breadth of enterprise applications at the core of our technology, to deepen how our fans engage with the club and to inspire the next generation of fans for years to come.

“FC Bayern has millions of fans around the world, and they are at the forefront of revolutionising fan experiences,” said Anil Chakravarthy, president of Digital Experience Business at Adobe. “With this partnership, FC Bayern will create more personalised experiences to enable fans to celebrate the passion and heart of the club wherever they may be.”

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