The round ball game pioneering again with the launch of Women in Football Comments Off on The round ball game pioneering again with the launch of Women in Football 237

Women in Football

The mere fact that groups and associations with an intention to promote inclusivity even exist, says a lot about their importance.

Without awareness, action and activism things rarely change. Just as an acute and improved understanding of the complex issues surrounding men’s mental health and the newfound and fitting determination to address violence against women are important and poignant challenges in a modern and well-functioning western democracy, the empowerment of women in sport is critical.

For some time there has been something of a comfortable status quo in existence, where more and more women have become involved in organised competitive sport, yet their self-determination within it has remained limited.

Much back-patting and congratulatory sentiment has circled around increased participation and success in women’s sport, however, it has stopped well short of allowing women to become more involved in informing and driving the briskly developing and ever changing narrative.

As is so often the case, the metaphor of football can be a catalyst for change.

June saw the Matildas showcased on the world’s biggest footballing stage in a dramatic World Cup Round of 16 loss to Norway. The fervent energy and enthusiasm around the team saw thousands travel to and focus on France and the gripping group matches against Italy, Brazil and Jamaica.

Television viewership around the globe skyrocketed, achieving astronomical numbers in comparison to previous tournaments and the standard of both the individual and team play was impressive.

Yet just 37.5% of those charged with leading their squads into battle in a managerial/coaching role were women. That is testament to an ingrained perception and existing infrastructure that still sees women’s sport as something of a novelty, an add on if you will.

Achieving a stand-alone identity without the need for delineation between the sexes when discussing competitive play is sporting nirvana. It is also something that needs to and will, be achieved.

Australian football has made its stand on the issue with the formation of the Women in Football Association.

NSW Minister for Sport, the Hon John Sidoti MP launched the initiative at Parliament house last Wednesday. The FFA has given its full endorsement and aims to work collaboratively with and in support of the new group.

FFA Chairman Chris Nikou categorically verbalised that support. “From my perspective, anything that encourages and supports more women to get involved in our game, the better,” he said.

The Women in Football Association has similarities to the United Kingdom’s model, with aims to promote and support gender equality. That not only means a continued effort to expose young girls to the game and encourage participation but also to establish a network of connectivity that benefits players, coaches and officials alike.

Women in Football President and international football reform advocate Bonita Mersiades cited the long standing “under-representation of women in football”, even though it was a sport that attracted women of all ages at all levels as volunteers, administrators, players and fans.

Mersiades and her fellow committee members are unified in their belief that a national association with a focus on “networking, collaboration and professional development from grassroots up, is long overdue”.

The committee has eight members and a considerable and divergent group it is. The secretary of Brunswick Zebras Carole Fabian, President of South Hobart FC Vicki Morton and the director of Heartbeat of Football Elia Santoro are three respected voices in the game.

CEO of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation Lesley Podesta, journalist George Donikian and Western Sydney University Associate Professor Jorge Knijnik also bring an array of skills and knowledge to the committee.

The eighth member is former Matildas coach Alen Stajcic, a man with potentially as much knowledge as anyone when it comes to the inner workings of the women’s game.

Not only will Women in Football support the players, managers and the peripheral women in the game, it will also compile a definitive and accessible professional contact list, in an attempt to advocate for increased employment opportunities for female football professionals.

That network aims to provide federations with a resource to identify suitably qualified women, appoint them and address the existing imbalance via improved professional development and opportunity.

It looms as a ground breaking initiative, both for the women and girls involved in the game as well as Australian football in general.

The journey to true inclusivity and equality continues, with Women in Football now likely to accelerate that rate of change and advance the women’s game another step in the short to medium term.

Membership of the Association is just $25, open to men and women and the relevant details can be found at womeninfootball.org.au.

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Refined inclusivity principles for club identity released by FFA Comments Off on Refined inclusivity principles for club identity released by FFA 49

Today is a new step forward by Football Federation Australia who have announced the release of new Inclusivity Principles for Club Identity to replace the National Club Identity Policy.

The changes have been made to preserve club ethnicity and will promote multiculturalism.

Here are the key points from a recent media release by FFA:

FFA INCLUSIVITY PRINCIPLES FOR CLUB IDENTITY 

Creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for participants from all cultural and linguistic backgrounds. 

Football in Australia has a rich and diverse history which FFA wishes to acknowledge and celebrate. Many clubs were formed and have developed from particular local communities who have made significant contributions to the growth and reputation of the sport of football as a whole. These communities are reflective of the multicultural nature of Australia and the vast reach of the love for the “World Game”.

FFA celebrates diversity and multiculturalism in our game and wants to ensure that football in Australia is open, accessible and embracing of all participants from all cultural backgrounds. Every person should feel welcome, safe and included at their local football club.

The way a club identifies itself to the community (including through its name, logo, principles and actions) can have a significant impact on whether a person feels welcome and included at that club. It can also affect the broader reputation of the game.

Following consultation with independent industry experts, FFA recommends that clubs embrace broad identities that are not tied to a single specific culture. FFA understands the importance of clubs being able to respectfully recognise their heritage and the specific communities that were instrumental in establishing and developing such clubs. At the same time, clubs that celebrate diversity, promote inclusion and make people feel like they belong regardless of their cultural background are more likely to succeed.

FFA has developed the following Inclusivity Principles for Club Identity to provide guidance to clubs on how they can be more inclusive in the way they identify themselves as well as the practices and actions that clubs adopt in engaging with their members and the broader community.

Importantly, these Principles are only a part of the development of a broader FFA Inclusion and Diversity framework which will encompass other matters that are fundamental for our sport to create an open and inclusive environment, such as promoting gender diversity and accessibility for people with a disability (to name just two examples). The Inclusivity Principles for Club Identity also provide guidance on how clubs may wish to recognise their heritage in ways that are not inconsistent with these fundamental objectives.

Inclusivity Principles for Club Identity

(a) These Inclusivity Principles for Club Identity are not intended to be enforceable, strict regulations. Rather, they are guiding principles for clubs to refer to in seeking to be inclusive to people from all cultural backgrounds.

(b) Clubs are encouraged to consider various ways to recognise and celebrate their heritage while still respecting and welcoming people from all backgrounds. Clubs that identify themselves in an all-embracing and inclusive manner that is open to all participants may be perceived as more welcoming than clubs with branding that is targeted to one single culture.

(c) Club names that reflect the local geographical region they represent and do so in a way that is welcoming to people from all cultural backgrounds are encouraged.

(d) Clubs may be more attractive to a broader range of participants if their name is:

(i) in English rather than a foreign language; and

(ii) of broad appeal rather than solely associated with a particular cultural, political or religious group.

(e) Clubs are encouraged to celebrate multiculturalism and diversity and make it clear to the community that they welcome people from all cultural backgrounds. Club names that reference another country or region (outside their locality) may indicate to the community that only people from that country or region are welcome (or are more welcome) to participate at that club.

(f) Clubs are encouraged to use symbols and words in their logo or emblem that are of broad appeal to make it clear to the community that they welcome people from all cultural backgrounds.  Clubs that adopt a logo or emblem with a dominant reference which is associated with a particular culture, religion, or political group may cause people who do not associate with that background to feel less welcome.

(g) Milestone years for clubs present an opportunity for them to recognise their heritage and show the journey that the club has been on. This heritage could be acknowledged by displaying a temporary commemorative version of their old logo alongside their new current logo in marketing and promotional materials and on the club’s website.

(h) In seeking to acknowledge their heritage clubs should have regard to the FIFA Laws of the Game and relevant regulations in relation to playing kit which the club must adhere to, including any prohibition on political and religious slogans, statements and images.

(i) Clubs should be aware of their obligations under federal, state and territory discrimination laws (including but not limited to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth)) and never give preference to one player over another on the basis of their cultural background or religious or political beliefs. The FFA Statutes (including the National Member Protection Policy and National Code of Conduct) also prohibit discrimination on these grounds.

(j) Clubs should encourage positive, welcoming and safe support at (and in connection with) Matches and take all reasonable steps to discourage rivalry with another club on the basis of any actual or perceived cultural, political or religious affiliations to that club, including in relation to their supporters.

Discrimination and other prohibited conduct

To be clear, FFA has a zero-tolerance policy in relation to discrimination, vilification, hatred and violence on all legally recognised grounds including race, nationality, ethnicity, religion and political views. FFA strongly encourages anyone who becomes aware of these behaviours, including by any club, to immediately report these incidents to their competition administrator. There are also applicable federal, state and territory discrimination laws that clubs must adhere to at all times.

Any incident of this nature may be dealt with by the appropriate body in accordance with applicable rules and regulations including any local or FFA rule or regulation, such as the National Code of Conduct. Clubs should note that, under the National Code of Conduct, they may be held liable for the actions of their supporters.

Accordingly, clubs have an important role to play in ensuring that football matches in particular are played in an open, safe and welcoming environment for all participants and spectators.

https://www.ffa.com.au/news/ffa-releases-inclusivity-principles-club-identity

Football Victoria to roll out new app to stamp out abuse towards referees Comments Off on Football Victoria to roll out new app to stamp out abuse towards referees 120

As from next week, Football Victoria will be rolling out an Australian-first technology scheme to allow soccer referees to blow the whistle on abuse.

All first-year referees will be given access to technology that can register offensive or violent behaviour, as well as track their mental and physical wellbeing.

This comes as Football Victoria has taken a stand against referee abuse, from both on and off the field (not dissimilar to the AFL and their Behavioural Awareness Officers initiative).

A smartphone app will allow referees to formulate a post-match analysis that will detail how the teams behaved, as well as being able to measure their own performance.

It will feed into a statewide register that is being monitored by the game’s governing body. Action will then be taken when it is deemed that the behaviour is of an anti-social manner.

Football Victoria and Melbourne-based technology business RefLive have teamed up in an attempt to give an opportunity to those who need it most.

At least 40% of referees and umpires throw their whistles away every season. Data analytics will be used to improve retention and performance.

Football Victoria referee manager Luke Brennan explained that referee turnover is “one of the biggest issues in football’’ and he is hopeful that this new system can swing the tide and help referees feel more comfortable.

“This could be rolled out to many more refs in other sports.’’

“It allows us to have real-time data to proactively support first-year referees who are the group most likely to leave due to a negative experience.’’

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