Monthly Archives: March 2017

Olympiacos and APOEL farewell Europa League 16

The Red’s performance was disappointing, while APOEL put the pressure on too late

Olympiakos suffered a 4-1 defeat at Besiktas on Thursday night to get eliminated with a 5-2 aggregate score.

Even though the Turkish team played with only 10 of its men for almost 55 minutes after a straight red card shown to Vincent Aboubakar, the Reds’ performance was disappointing.

Let down by its defence and its keeper, Olympiakos let two goals in from the Turks during the first 22 minutes, first through Aboubakar and then via Ryan Babel.

The Piraeus team bounced back for a moment with a spectacular volley by Tarik Elyounoussi that hit the back of the net, and gained a man’s advantage on the 39th when Aboubakar hit Panayiotis Retsos offering the Greek side a 2-1.

While the Reds needed one more goal to go through, the closest they got was Costas Fortounis’ go at the net with the ball hitting the frame.

It was on the 75th minute that Babel scored his second goal and Besiktas’s third with the final score being work of substitute Cenk Tosun, six minutes before the end.

On the Cyprus front now, Substitute Frank Acheampong scored with his first touch to seal a 1-0 second-leg win for Anderlecht as APOEL were beaten 2-0 on aggregate in the last 16 of the Europa League.

Early openings came and went for Lukasz Teodorczyk and APOEL were fortunate to head into the interval still level as goalkeeper Boy Waterman was worked time and time again, fourfourtwo reports.

The visitors’ improvement in the second half was minimal, though, while the Ghana international’s impact was immediate.

Pieros Sotiriou and Lorenzo Ebecilio snapped APOEL’s first notable efforts off target while Teodorczyk missed another headed chance and Waterman scrambled across his line to stop Hanni’s shot, but the deadlock was finally broken with 25 minutes remaining.

Hanni drove into the area on the left and delivered a centre that Waterman could only help towards the waiting Acheampong, who had the simple task of converting into an empty net.

APOEL rallied, with Ruben Martinez saving well from Kostakis Artymatas, but the pressure came too late for the visitors as they crashed out.

Source: Neos Kosmos

NPL clubs across Australia press for seat at FFA Congress

This period marks a critical juncture in the history of the game Down Under, and the NPL clubs know it.

NPL clubs across Australia are on the march sensing a critical juncture in the history of the game in this country. A newly formed association, representing 90 per cent of the 110-115 NPL clubs nationwide, has convened an inaugural meeting in Melbourne this Monday to elect officials and prioritise its objectives.

Spokesperson for the Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC), Thomas Kalas, says the meeting is expected to draw 60-70 representatives from all over the country.

Impetus for the formation of the group was the FFA’s recent announcement of the need to develop a new model of ownership and structure for the A-League and W-League, following its analysis which revealed that expansion under the current model would lead to unsustainable losses.

The announcement set off alarm bells for the NPL clubs. As Kalas explained to Neos Kosmos, “The NPL clubs have been starved for way too long. We’ve locked the money in the top tier of football, A-League, and FFA headquarters in Sydney, and we’ve starved the rest of the football landscape in Australia to the point where everyone is struggling and has had enough, to be frank.

“Football is where it is today because we’ve been following a flawed strategy. The FFA came out publicly two weeks ago, where they said the financial model is wrong for football. After that came out, we were extremely alarmed, because that has massive repercussions for the football landscape. We need to get involved and we need to help.”

With the FFA under pressure from FIFA to change its constitution and governance structures, the formation of the AAFC is a timely move by the NPL clubs to have a stronger voice and become involved in the decision making.

Kalas told Neos Kosmos that the AAFC has already notified the FFA that it wants “a seat at the congress that is scheduled at the end of the month alongside the A-League Clubs and the PFA (Professional Footballers Association), where they will determine the voting structures for the change in the constitution.”

The AAFC has also briefed FIFA of its intention to pursue direct representation at the forthcoming FFA Congress and direct representation on the FFA board.

“We represent over 30,000 players across Australia. I hope they (FFA) understand we have a lot of expertise. We have a lot of insight. Obviously what they’ve rolled out these past years, has not worked, so we need to help, for our membership. We need to focus on that area. If we don’t invest in infrastructure, facilities and fund that tier of football, Australia’s football future is in very dire circumstances.”

“Football in Australia is funded from the bottom up. We need to change that mechanism and what model we decide, will be determined on the table, but we need to be there to argue the case and to explain and to educate, because sometimes people are a little bit too removed from the coalface, from what their decisions have repercussions and impact on.
“It’s not just asking for money. We have to change the model of football. What we did in Australia over the last decade, we tried to build football without building a football culture… to fill stadiums with deep football culture will take two or three generations. In the interim, we need to invest, develop, and grow the football clubs in the tiers under the A-League, because that’s the engine for football growth.”

It’s not yet clear what the AAFC’s preferred model would look like, but it’s reasonable to assume it would involve the introduction of a second-tier national competition at some stage. Kalas says the AAFC will commission a study to help build a model.

“We can’t do this quickly. It’s not going to be next month or next year. We’ve got to make sure we get it right this time. We’re going to build a football model for Australia. This time we’ve got to do it right.”

Source: Neos Kosmos