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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.” 

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Liam Watson is a Senior Journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on international football policy, industry matters and industry 4.0

Football Coaches Australia present ‘The Football Coaching Life Podcast’ #2 with Gary Cole interviewing Tom Sermanni

Football Coaches Australia (FCA) features Tom Sermanni, Head Coach of the Football Fernsin the  ‘The Football Coaching Life’ podcast with former Socceroo, host the series, Gary Cole. 

The podcasts highlight the stories behind the journeys of Australia’s football coaches, from current and former Socceroos and Matildas managers to those who coach at a community football level.   

Cole, a member of FCA’s Executive Committee, believes the information and insights that can be gathered throughout the conversations in the podcast will be extremely beneficial for up-and-coming coaches, as well as the wider football community. 

Episodes of the podcast will showcase Australian coaches in a way that isn’t usually explored. I think it’s very important for coaches to hear these conversations,” he stated. 

 “Understanding why it is so important to know why you want to do this, learning how important developing resilience is for coaching longevity and understanding what success looks like. I’ve been around Australian football for fifty years and I have been amazed at how much I have learned from these fantastic conversations. 

The first instalments of the podcast has seen the former Socceroos assistant coach speak with some of Australia’s most successful coaches.  

“The first episode was an amazing conversation with arguably Australia’s most successful coach in Ange PostecoglouHead Coach at Yokohama F. Marinos. He was very generous with his time and this conversation was open, honest and filled with his great passion for our game,” Cole said. 

In Episode Two Tom Sermanni has a very relaxed and humorous style and talks about his growth and development as a coach.  

 Tom is arguably one of Australia’s most successful coaches. He has been to five FIFA Women’s World Cups, three with the Matildas (1995, 2007 and 2011), one with Canada as an assistant coach (2015) and the fifth with New Zealand in France (2019). He has won the Algarve Cup (2013) with USA, the Asian Cup with the Matildas (2010), he was also named AFC Coach of the Year (2007) and is all set to take New Zealand’s, Football Ferns to the delayed 2020 Olympic Games. 

The wisdom in these two conversations is incredible! Both Ange and Tom have been to twelve FIFA World Cups between them, they are both still striving to improve their players, their teams and themselves. 

Making Media Australia directorRalph Barba, who specialises in film and radio production, has supported Cole in delivering the project. 

The podcast, with Tom Sermanni, can be listened to here.   

Podbean:

iTunes:

Google Podcasts: 

Spotify:

Amazon/Audible:

 

Football Coaching Life Podcast Recap: Episode One with Ange Postecoglou

Football Coaches Australia released the first episode of their new podcast “The Football Coaching Life” last week, with Ange Postecoglou as their opening guest on the show.

In a wide-ranging chat with former Socceroo Gary Cole, Postecoglou detailed his extensive coaching journey in the hour-long podcast.

Postecoglou touched on his current time in Japan, the coaches he was exposed to when he was younger including Ferenc Puskas and Frank Arok, the role his father played in influencing his coaching, how his coaching has changed over his career, what exactly coaching is and why he does it, as well as much more.

Key Quotes in Episode One

On his relationship and influence of his father

“Football was a connection to my dad. It was the only thing that allowed me to get close to my father.”

“I would try and put out teams that he would enjoy watching.”

On his analytical nature after watching South Melbourne games as a youngster

“I’d be sitting around and listening to these old men dissecting every part of the game, I didn’t want to go outside and have a kick…I would just sit there and listen…I was always thinking about every aspect of the game even when I was younger.”

On his opportunity to coach the South Melbourne senior side after Frank Arok was sacked with two games left in the season

“I was the assistant and they said look we want you to take over for the last two games… I took the phone call at the bank and I literally put the phone down and quit the bank job and said (to myself) this is not going to be for two games. I was determined that this was my chance…25 years later I’m not back at the bank mate.”

Advice for up-and-coming coaches

“For every young coach, your number one task should not be to be successful, your number one task should be to have a career. How can you stay in the game, how can you stay in the job for 20-25 years?”

“No one is perfect.”

When quizzed on what has changed in his coaching throughout his journey

“My beliefs haven’t changed.”

“Those beliefs I have, have stood both the test of time and the different circumstances I have been in.” (Points to his success at an NSL, A-League, J-League and international level)

Final piece of wisdom for coaches

“Find the core of why you want to coach, you’ve got to find out why you want to coach. What is it at the core of why you want to do this? Because as we’ve already said, it’s not going to be a happy carefree existence.”

 

Football Australia recognise Female Football Week achievements

Football Australia are celebrating the achievements and contributions of women and girls in football as part of Female Football Week 2021.

Football Australia are celebrating the achievements and contributions of women and girls in football as part of Female Football Week 2021.

From March 1 to March 8, Football Australia are publishing a variety of digital content highlighting the important role of females in all levels of the sport. In addition, a range of educational factsheets and panels will be shared to assist the growth and development of female coaches, referees, administrators, volunteers and clubs.

Football Australia’s Female Football Week 2021 concludes on International Women’s Day on Monday March 8, following the release of Football Australia’s FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Legacy ‘23 plan at Parliament House in Canberra last week. It aims to deliver immediate and long-term community benefits and economic impact from Australia’s co-hosting of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 – the biggest sporting event on Australian soil since the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

“Female Football Week 2021 is as important as ever given the stated and sharp focus that Football Australia has on women’s football and the development of women and girls in football,” Football Australia CEO James Johnson said.

“Many of our initiatives throughout the coming week are aligned with key measures in our XI Principles for the future of Australian football and support our efforts to demonstrate to stakeholders the importance of creating a more supportive and inclusive environment for women and girls in football in Australia.

“Football Australia is targeting continued growth and 50:50 gender balance in participation by 2027. We believe Female Football Week provides the game with the platform to accelerate growth and achieve that target by recognising the important role women, together with men, play in delivering women’s football, and by showcasing that football is an inclusive and welcoming sport for women and girls from all communities, ages and abilities.”

Female Football Week 2021 content will be accessible on Football Australia’s digital and social channels.

“Over the next week the Female Football Week campaign aims to provide the community with the platform to celebrate the achievements of players, coaches, administrators and officials,” Sarah Walsh said, Football Australia’s Head of Women’s Football, Women’s World Cup Legacy & Inclusion.

“Excitingly, Female Football Week 2021 will conclude with three online panels to celebrate International Women’s Day and Female Football Week 2021.”

The panels are hosted by Stephanie Brantz, focusing on leadership and development in the modern era. They feature international and domestic executives, coaches and match officials.

The executive panel will feature Sarai Bareman, Chief of Women’s Football at FIFA, Karina LeBlanc, Head of Women’s Football at CONCACAF, Amanda Vandervort, Chief Women’s Football Officer at FIFPRO, and James Johnson and Sarah Walsh from Football Australia.

The coaching panel will feature Emma Hayes, Head Coach of Chelsea FC Women, Tony Gustavsson, Head Coach of the Westfield Matildas, and Mel Andreatta, Assistant Coach of the Westfield Matildas.

And the match officials panel currently features Kari Seitz, FIFA Head of Refereeing – Women, Kate Jacewicz, FIFA & Football Australia Referee, and Esfandiar Baharmast, former FIFA Referee and FIFA Referee Instructor.

“As an organisation that aspires to think local but act global, we’re thrilled that we can produce content with, and access insights from, change agents at the highest levels of football to share with Australia’s passionate football community. This is an important part of our mission for Australia to become the centre of women’s football in the Asia-Pacific region,” Walsh said.

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