Vidmar targets A-League role after Centre of Excellence closure

Australia under-17 coach Tony Vidmar is eyeing an A-League coaching role with the Centre of Excellence (CoE) to close in August.

Tony Vidmar

Tony Vidmar watches over the Joey's training session Source: FIFA

Football Federation Australia on Wednesday confirmed the closure of the CoE at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, where Vidmar has been head coach since 2012, in favour of a club-based academy system.

The decision to close the youth development program for talented under-16 and under-17 players came after months of deliberations about its future, with FFA deciding the $1.6 million per year cost to run the program could be better spent.

The closure will also mean under-17 Joeys players will be developed through a program of camps and tournaments similar to the other junior Australian teams going forward.

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Vidmar, who will remain Joeys coach, spent a year as the youth team assistant coach at Adelaide United in 2008-09.

He said he has yet to decide what the next step of his coaching career will be but would be all for another stint in the A-League. 

"I'm keen to continue coaching," he said.

"I'm not exactly sure what the future holds but a return to the A-League is something I would consider.

"I'm just going to let this (the CoE closure) sink in for a while."

The CoE, which has been in operation since 1981, has produced Socceroos the likes of Mark Viduka, Lucas Neill, Vince Grella, Mark Bresciano, John Aloisi and Josh Kennedy with current stars like Trent Sainsbury, Robbie Kruse, Matt Mckay and Nathan Burns also among the alumni.

However, the FFA claim the CoE has produced poor results in recent years with less than half of scholarship graduates going on to a professional career in sport.

Vidmar refuted the FFA's claims and said during the past five years 44 of 66 CoE scholarship graduates have gone onto professional clubs, with even more earning contracts in the past four months.



The FFA have yet to disclose how the $1.6 million will be used.

Former Socceroos defender Vidmar said $600,000 of the program annual cost would remain as funding for the Joeys, while he was unsure how the other $1 million would be reallocated.

In March Vidmar told The World Game he and CoE technical director Peter De Roo were not included in discussions about closing down the program and believed its premature end would be a major set-back for youth development in Australia.

FFA now plans to move the focus of youth development onto A-League, W-League and National Premier Leagues club academies.


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3 min read
Published 27 April 2017 at 4:45pm
By Nick Houghton