1 Jul 2016

Sport: Vanuatu football champions Amicale FC eye revenue boost

12:36 pm on 1 July 2016

Changes to the Oceania Champions League football competition have been welcomed by one of the region's leading clubs, who says the previous structure was unsustainable.

Vanuatu champions Amicale FC have previously criticised the $NZ10,000 entry fee imposed on teams and the decision to play the tournament in one central location, denying club's the chance to play at home and boost revenue.

From next year, a record 16 teams will take part in the group stage, in four groups being contested at four different venues, with the semis and final to be played home and away.

Amicale's Adam Dickinson celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal of the match.

Amicale's Adam Dickinson celebrates a goal during this year's OFC Champions League. Photo: OFC via Phototek

Amicale technical director Anthony Pisano said the chance to play in front of their home supporters is well overdue.

"That's something that we've been pushing for for the last couple of years because it's very important that we are able to give something back to our fans and our sponsors and have the opportunity to generate revenue. The O-League has a lot of interest here in Vanuatu and this move gives us a lot of good marketing opportunities, especially if we are able to host games locally here."

Amicale owner Andrew Leong has spent heavily in recent seasons recruiting players from Europe, South America and the Pacific.

Argentinian striker, Diego Nadaya is one of Amicale FC's many foreign imports.

Argentinian striker, Diego Nadaya was among Amicale FC's many foreign imports in 2016. Photo: Facebook / Amicale FC

Anthony Pisano said that would not be able to continue without some assistance from OFC.

"To be honest with you it's not sustainable and I think we're at the crossroads now where we won't be able to continue to be putting personal funds into the campaign so unless we're able to generate revenue we won't be able to continue in the same vein as previous years."

The 2016 Champions League was held before small crowds in Auckland, New Zealand, with match-day revenues kept by Oceania Football.

Anthony Pisano said if Port Vila was able to host part of the group stage or a playoff match next season there would be no issue filling the stands.

"Locally each weekend you get up to three or four thousand people at the local matches, so that's quite good for a small stadium, and for an O-League match for the main stadium here you'd get up to eight or nine thousand people squashed into the stadium," he said.

"If we had a bigger facility we'd be confident of getting 15 or 20 thousand people watching an O-League match here, so we welcome the opportunity to host local matches here because one of the other benefits from a marketing point of view is it also assists us in trying to generate some finance in trying to upgrade facilities and training facilities and club facilities, which is severely lacking here in Vanuatu."

Anthony Pisano said they would like to see the group stage shared throughout different countries, which would create more interest in the Champions League competition throughout the Pacific.