Football Federation Australia (FFA) today secured $500,000 in Federal Government Funding and an additional $162,000 has been granted to Northern NSW Football (NNSWF) to increase female participation and further build football’s capability as the sport works towards gender equity.
FFA Chief Executive Officer David Gallop AM said that, in partnership with Member Federations, football will use its influence to extend the principles of equality and fairness beyond the field by building inclusive environments that support women and girls to play and be involved in the sport they love right across the country.
“Our aim is to ultimately increase female participation in the game; players, coaches, administrators and referees to reach 50:50 participation by 2027,” Gallop said.
“This funding boost, via the Move It AUS program managed by the Australian Sports Commission, will help FFA and Member Federations all over Australia provide additional resources to increase female participation by a further five per cent.
“This will include delivery of training and workshops to build national and state capability when leading cultural change and addressing the barriers for participation by women and girls.”
Member Federations will be supported in developing resources to meet the needs of their community including, templates, marketing materials, workshops, and auditing tools.
The funding will be directed at three safe, inclusive and social football programs; 'Soccer Mums', 'Kick On' and 'Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Women and Girls'.
Head of Community, Football Development and Women’s Football, Emma Highwood, said the funding will be used to extend programs which are already run by FFA and Member Federations across Australia, so more women and girls have the opportunity to participate in football.
“We need to enhance football's understanding of gender equality and the workforce's capacity to remove barriers for women and girls through education and training, and this funding will assist with this important work,” Highwood said.
“Football is well placed to increase the physical activity levels for women and girls across Australia, through adapting our sport to become more accessible.
“We will build on the best practice models across Australia, working closely with our nine Member Federations to create a more inclusive environment in football while also creating accessible programs and opportunities.”
The programs which are set to be implemented across Australia are:
Soccer Mums: an initiative of Football Victoria, supported by VicHealth. An introductory football program designed specifically for women, where participants have fun, meet new people and learn basic football skills without knowing it. A no-judgement and no-experience-required program.
Kick On: an introductory program, currently managed by NNSWF, which is planned in line with school terms to support women with children and (Youth) 13-17 years. The weekly session allows women and girls to get active in a confidence-building environment, while learning the basic skills and rules of the game. Facilitators are provided basic football knowledge and training, and play a major role in acting as community influencers and advocates.
The Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) program will see FFA partner with specialist agency Settlement Services International to design specific football programs for women and girls within CALD communities. The program format, delivery and marketing will be designed to eliminate the unique barriers that these communities (particularly women and girls) experience when participating in physical activity.
NNSWF also received $162,000 for its Kick-On for Women program, which is an introductory football program in partnership with FFA offering a more social and accessible version of football specifically modified for women in metropolitan, regional and remote Northern NSW. It is a low-impact, football-based program which provides physical and mental health benefits and social connectedness, alongside the promotion of the benefits of regular physical activity.