Emma Highwood to leave Football Federation Australia

Football Federation Australia (FFA)’s Head of Community, Football Development and Women’s Football, Emma Highwood, today announced she would be leaving FFA at the end of August 2019.

Highwood’s announcement comes following 10 years’ service to FFA and having overseen significant growth and development in the game at the grassroots level and across women’s football.

“The anticipated restructure of the leagues presents the ideal time for me to leave FFA and to pursue new challenges and opportunities. I’m both satisfied and proud of what has been accomplished in football development, at the grassroots and in women’s football during my time.”

“I am proud of the outcomes we have been able to deliver in an often-complex stakeholder environment and with tight resources. There is a real opportunity now for the game to pull together and align under a new governance structure and I wish the FFA Board and stakeholders all the best as they move into this new era for Football,” said Highwood.

Highwood implemented changes that positively impacted the game at many levels and in many ways, including:

  • Overseeing an overall increase in participation, in particular ALDI MiniRoos which has grown from 170,00 to 230,000 individual participants, and the establishment of FFA’s first schools strategy.
  • Facilitating and advancing the rapid growth of women’s football, including the development and implementation of the ALDI Miniroos for Girls program; raising organisational focus on the Westfield Matildas and playing an integral part of the first Collective Bargaining Agreement for the Westfield W-league to deliver gender equality in minimum pay and conditions.
  • Overseeing major change in the player development pathway, including the development and implementation of Hyundai A-League Club Academies and the establishment of the revamped National Premier Leagues which elevated the significance of state-based leagues and increased the role of clubs in the pathway.
  • Leading the original rollout of the first digital registration system for the grassroots (MyFootballClub), which revolutionised the way FFA and the game engaged with participants.

FFA Chief Executive David Gallop AM congratulated Highwood for her distinguished service to Australian football.  

“Emma has been a champion for both women’s and community football in Australia. She has always demonstrated both a love for football and a desire to help it grow, develop and reach its potential. It’s not easy to manage participation in the largest participation sport in the country, but Emma was able to do so with great passion and innovation.

“Emma rose through the ranks of FFA to be a valued member of the senior management team and an inspiration to female employees in the game. I thank Emma for her dedication to FFA over many years and wish her the very best for the future,” said Gallop.