Football Federation Australia (FFA) has today announced a three-year partnership with the Commonwealth Government and John Moriarty Football (JMF) to expand its Indigenous football program to 12 new centres across New South Wales and Queensland.
FFA will provide senior coaching staff, mentoring, training and education for children involved in the program, and will identify and support pathways to national football programs.
FFA Chief Executive David Gallop said he was delighted with the decision to expand the program from the two current sites in the Northern Territory.
“FFA has been a keen supporter of John Moriarty Football for several years, with Westfield Matildas Head Coach Alen Stajcic visiting Borroloola and scouting Shay Evans back in 2014.
"We’re delighted this announcement will enable us to greatly increase our involvement and help achieve our vision of involving more Indigenous Australians in football, as players, coaches, referees and administrators.
“The reality is that football’s ability to make an ongoing impact in Indigenous communities has been inconsistent over the years, but our strategy of building strong, meaningful partnerships with the Commonwealth Government is producing dividends and will ensure our efforts are sustainable into the future.”
Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, the Honourable Ken Wyatt AM MP was in Sydney for the announcement, and said: “This is a game-changing move for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, designed to help children between two and 16 to reach their full potential in football, in education and in life.
“We have seen the success in the remote Northern Territory centres of Borroloola and Robinson River which have been involved in the program since it was established in 2012, with more than 90 per cent of children in Borroloola now participating.”
Gallop added: “We would like to thank Minister Wyatt for his continued encouragement and engagement, resulting in this fantastic announcement that will have a huge impact on the lives of Indigenous Australians.
“We look forward to working closely with John Moriarty Football to generate significant health and community benefits while offering a pathway for Indigenous footballers to emulate the success of Westfield Young Matilda Shay.”
John Moriarty Foundation Managing Director Ros Moriarty said: “JMF is extremely grateful for this very significant funding commitment. We look forward to replicating our model of football as a powerful tool for wellbeing, supporting resilient, healthier outcomes for young players, their families and communities.”
The Federal Government is funding the $4.5 million expansion, and the announcement follows the recent establishment of the FFA Multicultural Program, another partnership with the Commonwealth, which offers ALDI MiniRoos football for new arrival refugees across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.