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General Giant

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Stajcic review will have to wait until A-League's independence war ends

By Vince Rugari

June 24, 2019 — 6.41pm

Football Federation Australia is set to iron out the details of an independent review into the sacking of Matildas coach Alen Stajcic - but it will have to wait until after the A-League's long-running battle for independence is resolved.
As the dust settles on Australia's disappointing campaign at the Women's World Cup in France, the immediate attention of FFA powerbrokers will revert back to the professional game ahead of a looming deadline for talks on Sunday.

It's understood the FFA board will meet within the next week or two, when the particulars of a proposed investigation of Stajcic's sacking are to be discussed.
No external person or group has been identified to conduct the review, nor any terms of reference drafted, but there is a thirst for answers about exactly why Stajcic was removed just six months out from a major tournament, and how FFA could bungle his removal so badly.

Ending the impasse at the heart of the professional game, however, remains the absolute priority. There is less than a week to go until June 30, which was the targeted date for the end of negotiations over a new operating and governance model for the A-League and W-League.

Multiple sources close to the discussions have told the Herald of a cordial, collaborative and collegiate approach that has been taken by all parties in recent weeks, which is markedly different to the adversarial nature of the FFA congress war. There is widespread hope - if not confidence - that a suitable deal will be reached, but similarly, a sense of apprehension that won't fade away until it is formalised.
Sources suggest A-League clubs will be transferred ownership of their intellectual property, which had previously been the domain of FFA. In return, the state federations will receive certain payments from the A-League clubs to help fund other aspects of the game, such as junior national teams.
These payments include 10 per cent of any transfer fees from the sale of players to overseas clubs, 10 per cent of the licence fees paid by new A-League clubs, and 10 per cent of the gain in value from the change in ownership of existing clubs.


The Herald also understands the A-League's separation from FFA control will most likely occur in two phases. The first is a 'transition' phase that will run until the end of the current broadcast deal in 2023 - partly to help ensure Fox Sports will have no legal opportunity to seek a reduction in the value of the contract, which is worth nearly $60 million per year to the sport.
After that the new entity that will run the A-League and other professional competitions will become much more detached from FFA, having entrenched its own operations.

The next round of negotiations - to occur on the phone, via email and in person over the next week - will focus on the financial specifics of A-League independence, which stakeholders have agreed to resolve together. The clubs have vowed to ensure that FFA will be no worse off financially under the new arrangements, although the core business of the federation will change dramatically once the professional league is spun away. Nearly $3 million in 'stranded costs' must be accounted for.
Club owners have long argued that they cannot invest with confidence when they do not have a say in how the A-League is run. With the competition's key metrics rapidly declining, it is hoped that indepdendence will give the sport the jump-start it so desperately needs.

The Matildas' poor performance in France has also underlined that the women's game is in need of attention. European nations are on the rise, with increased expenditure paired with existing football infrastructure leading to rapid improvements which have been evident at the World Cup.
Australia is at risk of falling behind unless similar investments are made in women's football, including the W-League, which runs for only 12 matches. Most corresponding competitions in Europe run for double that length. The Heraldunderstands the next W-League season could be extended by an additional two rounds, but only if a suitable free-to-air television partner can be found.
 

giggler99

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This will be touch and go! Deadline isn't to far away, my gut feeling is it wil be delayed till 20/21 season.

It's a matter of when not will through.
 

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giggler99

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Studs Up: Time ‘men in suits’ parked own interest
David Davutovic, Herald Sun

Australian football leaders, it’s time to park your personal interests at the door and thrash out a deal that can propel the game to the next level.
The universal popularity of the women’s World Cup, the fact that global stars like Samir Nasri and Fernando Torres (last year) remain interested in coming to Australia, the release of the second division white paper which edges us closer to promotion-relegation and the rising grassroots participation numbers highlight that the game’s potential is as great as ever.

Yet we are on the verge of another delay, with a prevailing attitude of “what the game can do for me” rather than “what can I do for the game” from some of the men in suits.

The June 30 deadline is days away and we are yet to agree on the terms for an independent A-League, which is the most critical issue in Australian football.

Any men’s or women’s national team that has international success usually does so off the back of a burgeoning domestic competition.

Australia’s dithering World Cup performances are a direct result of A-League and W-League stagnation, at a time the game should be growing rapidly.


(L-R) Mariners CEO Shaun Mielekamp, Victory chairman Anthony Di Pietro and A-League clubs’ representative Greg Griffin in previous talks. Pic: Mark Evans
The stakeholders — A-League club owners, state federations, NPL clubs representatives, the players union, the women’s council and FFA — are still negotiating commercial terms.

But at this rate, there will be little cash to squabble over as the A-League is at crisis point.

If the A-League continues to decline, it will have a cascading effect on the state league and the women’s game.

While the game has been fractured due to the lack of respect shown to the National Soccer League clubs, to suggest that they are not interlinked is foolish.

Wanderers Chairman Paul Lederer has taken a leading role among the A-League clubs. Pic: Getty
If anyone remains unsure of the consequences or forgets who they are serving, perhaps they should reflect on the hundreds of teenagers whose parents will spend over $20,000 in registration fees over their junior career in search of the promised pathways, which at the moment are not there.

 

giggler99

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FFA to surrender control of the A-League to clubs | The World Game

An impasse over creating an independently-run A-League has been broken with Football Federation Australia (FFA) to soon cede control to clubs.
A new entity will manage the A-League, W-League and youth league in Australia, with a transition from FFA control next season.
The FFA has reached in-principle agreements with football hierarchy in a move which also seemingly assure Wellington Phoenix's long-term future in the A-League.
The Phoenix, whose A-League licence was set to expire at the end of next season, will now effectively become co-owners of the competition under the fresh governance model.
The model had been hotly debated by the FFA and club chiefs but will now be settled by August 1 this year.
The New Leagues Working Group, the body mandated by the FFA in October last year to determine the independence model, on Monday announced a raft of in-principle agreements.
They include a governance structure for the leagues overseen by an independent chairperson and representatives of each of the club license holders, with two additional representatives from FFA.
FFA will get a minimum of $4.5m annually from leagues revenue, earmarked for national teams including the Socceroos and Matildas and grassroots initiatives.
But that payment will be waived for the next four seasons, with the monies invested back into the leagues.
"This recommendation will see FFA re-invest its licence fee in the Australian professional game in order to help ensure longer-term sustainable returns," the working group said in a statement.
Other terms also include FFA to receive 10 per cent of any international transfers of A-League players and 10 per cent of any future sales of club licences.
FFA will also keep a one-fifth equity share in the new management body.
"Importantly, if a portion of the leagues are ever sold in order to generate investment funds for further growth ... then 20 per cent of those proceeds would be allocated to FFA for investment," the statement said.
The club-based new management entity would also be given full intellectual property and commercial rights.
FFA chairman Chris Nikou said in-principle agreements would "serve to align and unite Australian football's interests like never before".
"Clubs would have greater control over the strategic and commercial direction of the leagues, in turn triggering significant new investment in the quality and marketing," he said in a statement.
"And FFA would be able to focus its energies and resources on the national teams, grassroots and the overall strategic direction of the game."
FFA would also retain certain veto rights by having a so-called 'Good of the Australian Game' share in the new management body, he said.


They cut in fine but finally a deal! Will this be the best possible outcome for 'Soccer' in Australia?
 

craigos

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Am actually genuinely excited this has happened. This may well not work out but I feel it was the only chance of the game ever growing and arresting the stagnation that we're currently stuck with.

No doubt it's too late for this year but I feel this will open up a lot more clubs to signing a bigger marquee name than in the past. Financially they're going to be able to be across the potential returns on investment a lot more. I do hope they still have a marquee fund but it's weighted towards the clubs who can't afford it as much as a Sydney/Melbourne can.
 

Zidane98

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Will this have a similar effect to when the FA in England turned control over to the clubs for top flight football and rebranded it the English Premier League?

Grass roots football (juniors especially) are effectively funding higher levels of football in Australia. That needs to stop, far too many talented footballers are priced out of playing the game. Only a select few are taken on board by clubs on a scholarship basis. A colleague of mine has kids playing U16 NPL football and its 2k a season. That's not right, in the UK talented players pay very little, when they are moved on their clubs then receive compensation. It's all because money flows to the top level of the game (NPL / A League).

Elite AFL juniors don't pay anywhere near as much AFAIK. The reverse happens with the AFL - they take money from the top level of the game and subsidise junior football with it. It will take a long time but that's where we should be aiming for long term.
 

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giggler99

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FFA, A-League clubs reach agreement on separation
Michael Lynch

Football Federation Australia and the A-League clubs have finally ended years of haggling and come to an agreement over the future direction of Australia's elite soccer competition.
The clubs will take control of the A-League before Christmas, which they have been angling to do for several seasons, ever since the end of the war within the game which saw Steven Lowy ousted as FFA chairman two years ago.


The clubs will take control of the marketing and commercialisation of the A-League and will be able to lead the drive for outside investors. With several clubs facing massive financial pressure as a result of the coronavirus pandemic fresh capital is crucial in the short term.

They will also be responsible for drawing up the fixture in conjunction with FFA, which wants the competition to move to winter so that it runs in tandem with the rest of the lower-tier leagues in Australia.


FFA will become the regulator, and will have the final say over issues like the introduction of promotion and relegation, and expansion.
Many within the game are pushing for promotion and relegation to eventually be implemented after the institution of a national second division, but there are disputes over the timing of its introduction amid some concerns over how it might affect the viability of some A-League clubs.
FFA chief executive James Johnson said discussions over several months have now produced a resolution.
"We are the final stage of the unbundling process and have reached an agreement with the clubs and member federations," he said.
"The unbundling is now being operationalised and will come into full effect for the start of this coming A-League and W-League season.
"The clubs will become the league's owner and operator and the FFA will become the regulator of the Australian professional game."


Tough period for A-league owners to be making these decisions on the future of the league but a body that had to be made.

Will also post in the General thread.
 

giggler99

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Blue skies ahead for the A, E, W and Y Leagues

They came, they spoke, and they pretty much conquered.
That's how the Chatham House appearance of the deputy Chairman of Melbourne City Simon Pearce and Sydney FC CEO Danny Townsend at the Football Writers' Festival can be summarised.
Pearce - who is widely acknowledged as the behind-the-scenes leader of A-League clubs since he hosted them in Abu Dhabi for the 2014 Grand Prix - and Townsend spent just on two hours on Sunday responding to questions from moderator Simon Hill and Festival attendees.
It's fair to say they had an answer to almost everything and almost everyone walked out of that room feeling more positive about the long-term future of the A-League and the other competitions the A-League clubs have control of - the W-League, the Y-League and the E-League, the latter of which has enormous potential.
The duo explained why the battle for changes to the Constitution were necessary. Simply, the clubs were putting in lots of money, they owned nothing, and they were getting nothing back. They collectively realised they may well have been insane to sign the club license agreements in the first place, but they knew they had to change the Constitution.
Pearce and Townsend didn't say it, but it's worth noting that when the A-League clubs first sought a bigger voice in the governance of the game locally, they were seeking only three places on the FFA Congress and one on the FFA Board. But they were blocked at every turn by the then Steven Lowy led Board, backed by the less progressive elements amongst the state federations. That intransigence led to the 'Congress Wars' and, according to the A-League clubs, it was they who delivered Australian football to democratic principles - something they also paid for, not FFA.
One might quibble on the 'democratic' model they have come up with but there is no doubt that having more people in the room to pontificate on the big issues in Australian football is better than the previous closed shop model of a mere ten people, nine of which were state federations.
The model we will have - fingers crossed - as of 1st December is one where the clubs are commercially independent, but subordinate to FFA which remains the regulator.
Fingers are 'crossed' because we were told that it was as if they were about to move into their own house for the first time. The contracts are drawn-up, the key provisions agreed, but final contracts are yet to be signed and exchanged, and they don't have the keys. An important step will be tomorrow's annual general meeting of FFA where the FFA Congress is expected to sign-off on the new arrangements after extensive negotiations.
FFA CEO James Johnson continued the housing analogy later in the day when he described the situation as being like “your children moving out of home for the first time. They'll always be welcome back.
The welcome news was that, while the A-League clubs have been quiet - almost deathly so - since the interrupted season was completed in August, there has apparently been lots going on behind the scenes. ACity Football Group executive is leading a marketing and communications blitz that is ready to spring into action once the keys are received as part of a shadow organisation that has been operating for some time. This starts today with the release of the fixture list for the 2020-21 season.
It is clear that the clubs see great opportunity for an OTT broadcast service, along the lines of that proposed by The Golden Generation in May, noting that football was actually in a good position as it has maximum flexibility. By that they meant that the share of revenue from broadcasting was relatively low, so they were not tied to particular requirements or scheduling. For example, 60% of Sydney Roosters revenue comes from broadcasting, compared with only about 20% for Sydney FC.
Instead, if the arrangements had not changed, the game would have been tethered to a drowing man because sports can be broadcasters but broadcasters can't be sports.
The new organisation being established by the clubs is known as Australian Professional Leagues which will be granted all commercial and IP rights and will be solely responsible for the operation and promotion of the leagues. Shareholders of the new entity will be:
  • the 12 existing A-League clubs - who were jokingly dubbed the 'Dirty Dozen' by Simon Hill;
  • FFA with both a 'carry' share and a 'good of game' share equivalent to 20% of the value of the entity; and
  • investment shares (more on this later).
The clubs made a pact earlier in the year that they would come out of COVID with what they went into it with. The consequence of this 'all for one, one for all' approach is that clubs who are not performing, either on or off-the-field, will be held accountable by other clubs. Thus far, any non-performing club has been only answerable to FFA.
For those keen to have a national second division and promotion and relegation, don't expect it anytime soon. The current 12 clubs have a license in perpetuity because those who invest in a football club need to know they will get something out of it. At one stage, we were told that we already have a national second division called the NPL, but this position was clarified during the course of the discussion to being that the A-League clubs are committed to the implementation of a national second division and promotion and relegation, but they haven't seen anything about it.
The A-League clubs see the ideal size of the competition as 16 teams with all clubs expected also to have a W-League, Y-League and E-League teams. Special provision has been made for Canberra United for the time being (which is run by Capital Football) with a faint suggestion that Canberra may well be near the front of the queue when it comes to expansion.
The forthcoming season is a transition season with the clubs intent on changing the narrative and focussing not so much on numbers, but the quality of engagement. A large chunk of the $40 million being contributed by clubs this year is expected to be spent on digital platofrms and engagement, as well as infrastructure improvements.
The clubs believe they will be successful for three reasons.
  • They have stuck together for five years, most of which have been in the face of the full force of the pro-Lowy, anti-change brigade, which shows a unity of purpose.
  • The best way to advance an individual club owner's interest is to advance the game.
  • The business is football and football is global. A New York bank that they are working with to look at inwards investment opportunities suggests that the competitions have unrealised and untapped potential.
One week till the shackles come off.

 

giggler99

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Australian Professional Leagues to be unbundled from Football Australia

Football Australia and the newly formed Australian Professional Leagues (APL) today announced that terms have been agreed to ‘unbundle’ the A-League, Westfield W-League and Y-League (‘Professional Leagues’) from Football Australia. As part of the unbundling, the APL will also obtain the exclusive right to use the intellectual property rights associated with the E-League brand.
Paul Lederer, Chair of the APL said:

“This is an historic moment for the future of football in Australia – for the fan, for the player, for the whole game.
“It’s now time to earn and deliver the future our game deserves.
“The handbrake on the game is off; owners can finally invest in what they own and create value for the entire footballing ecosystem.
“Players can plan their careers in Australian football, fans can reconnect with the game that they love, and clubs can create meaningful moments for the whole Australian Football Family.”
Chris Nikou, Chair of Football Australia said:
“There is unprecedented unity amongst football’s key stakeholders with the Football Australia, Clubs, and the Members of Football Australia, being the group making up the NLWG, that paved the way to the unbundling of the A-League, W-League and Y-League from Football Australia.
“Football Australia will now focus its energies and resources on the regulation of the professional game, national teams, grassroots and the overall strategic direction of the game as outlined in the XI Principles for the future of Australian Football, the new 15-year vision for the sport and strategic agenda.”
“All parties are committed to ongoing cooperation and collaboration and we look forward to working closely with the APL this season as we transition to the new model, and more broadly, the future of professional football in Australia.”

 

Zidane98

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Salary cap has to stay or you'd say goodbye to half the teams.

The rest should be a given.
Salary cap needs to be looked at. Too many A League players chasing big dollars in competitions that aren't a step up over the A League. Ideally we shouldn't be losing any players to Asian clubs.
 

hey shorty

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Salary cap needs to be looked at. Too many A League players chasing big dollars in competitions that aren't a step up over the A League. Ideally we shouldn't be losing any players to Asian clubs.
That's fanciful IMO.

Australia is not a big country and the bulk of its money in a sporting sense goes toward NRL, cricket, AFL and netball. Football, while still charging ridiculous money for junior fees will always be back in the pack.

We will always lose players to Asian leagues because they have bigger enconomies.
 

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