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Studs Up: FFA Cup’s future secured with sponsors getting behind the new knockout competition

THE FFA Cup’s future has been secured without a ball being kicked with Westfield headlining an impressive list of blue-chip sponsors who’ve backed the competition. google_ad_section_end(name=story_introduction) // .story-intro google_ad_section_start(name=story_body, weight=high)

Westfield was today unveiled as the inaugural naming rights partner joining British sportswear giant Umbro - a brand synonomous with the FA Cup - Harvey Norman and NAB as among four new sponsors announced for the competition which kicks off on July 29.

They join Fox Sports as foundation partners, with the deals understood to be worth over $12m.

All sponsors have agreed to three-year deals, with the $4m-a-year underwriting FFA’s extensive travel costs.

While commencing as a 32-team competition, in excess of 600 teams across Australia are likely to be branded under the FFA Cup banner in 2015.

Most state leagues are deep into their Cup competitions, with the official FFA Cup kicking off in late July when the 22 state and territory-based teams join the 10 A-League clubs.

ACT is the only one of the eight state and territories whose participant has been confirmed, 2013 winner Tuggeranong United.

Meanwhile FFA has commenced a search for a technical director to replace outgoing Han Berger.

However the new role will focus on the elite player pathway up to the age of 16, including overseeing the National Premier League (NPL) competitions.

While undertaking a global search, there’s a strong push for a local appointment and former AIS guru Ron Smith will be considered, along with former Perth Glory coach Alistair Edwards and former Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond.

“The review of the national teams and technical department conducted by Luke Casserly has identified youth technical development as a key area for improvement,” said FFA CEO David Gallop.

“The new structure will see a technical director with particular focus and responsibility for elite player development up to 16 years of age for males and females and coach education for those working in these age groups.

“From 17 years of age onwards, the national teams will have the primary role in close consultation with the technical department of developing elite players who will ultimately represent the Socceroos and Matildas.

“This will broaden the scope of Ange Postecoglou’s role and the same for the long-term Matildas coach.

“This structure gives us a lot of confidence that Australia will produce generations with the right technical development.’’

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