Disney+ and the Matildas to showcase Australian sporting spirit

The Walt Disney Company and Football Australia have announced a new Australian-commissioned Disney+ Original which will tell the story of the Australian women’s national football team – the Commonwealth Bank Matildas – as they prepare for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ on home soil alongside co-host New Zealand.

The six-part docu-series – yet to have its title revealed – will go behind the scenes of the popular Australian national sporting team, the Matildas, and track the rise of women’s sport through incredible and immersive storytelling. It will chronicle the highs and lows as well as extraordinary teamwork, trust and spirit – as the squad looks to create history and leave an unrivalled legacy for the sport in Australia and abroad.

Off the field, the series will highlight how the Matildas are pioneering change, as well as covering their experiences during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup. The series will also explore the influence of head coach Tony Gustavsson, and the special connection the Matildas have with their fans. Overall, it will capture how the Matildas are able to unite Australians in the lead up to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.

Production of the series is underway, led by Executive Producers, Steve Bibb (Inside the Sydney Opera House, Shipwreck Hunters Australia) and Christopher G. Cowen (Decades Series, College Football 150, State of Play) with Katie Bender Wynn (The Will To Fly) as Director. Fremantle and Boardwalk Pictures will lend services to this global production.

The series will launch on Disney+ locally in 2023 and be available on Disney+ globally at a later date.

The Walt Disney Company will reveal its 2022/23 scripted and unscripted Disney+ Australian commissions in the coming weeks, adding to the Matildas series.

Senior Vice President and Managing Director of The Walt Disney Company in Australia and New Zealand, Kylie Watson-Wheeler:

“The Matildas are game-changers for women’s sport in Australia and around the world. This Australian narrative details the impressive skill, determination, commitment, and stamina it takes in the lead up to the World Cup in 2023. The series transcends football and celebrates the true Australian spirit of the Matildas.”

Football Australia Chief Executive Officer James Johnson:

“The Commonwealth Bank Matildas represent Australia on the world stage as global ambassadors and are an inspiration to many, both young and old. This docu-series is an incredible opportunity to share their story not just locally, but globally, and at a time of rapid evolution in women’s football, we are proud to be working with the world’s best story-telling company to bring the Matildas spirit to life.

“In partnering with The Walt Disney Company, Football Australia has chosen a partner that focuses on stories with inspirational and aspirational themes. Together, we hope that this docu-series will inspire the next generation of footballers, girls and boys, around the world, and our players are excited by that challenge.”

Director Katie Bender Wynn:

“The Matildas have broken through massive barriers for women in sport, yet their story has never properly been told. I’m thrilled that Disney+ is shining a light on this inspiring group of women whose stories are worthy of the biggest platform. On its surface, this is a classic tale about a team of women preparing for the greatest tournament of their lives; but at its core, it’s an intimate portrait of a sisterhood that transcends the game.”

Executive Producer Steve Bibb:

“As a documentary maker and an inquisitive football fan, it’s a privilege to be given the opportunity to tell the Matildas’ story in this special moment in time. The behind-the-scenes access allows us to bring this story to the world as we chart the journey of these inspiring women writing the next chapter in their story on the road to the 2023 World Cup.”

Executive Producer Christopher G. Cowen:

“Disney+ and Football Australia have given us the opportunity to tell the inspiring story of the Matildas to the millions of young female and male football players around the globe, and that is a responsibility that our entire team takes on with great zeal.”

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Federal Budget commits $97 million investment for sport programs

The 2024-25 Federal Budget, which was released on Tuesday night, includes more than $97 million over two years to the ASC to extend Sporting Schools, the Local Sporting Champions, and Local Para Champions programs, and participation funding to help more Australians get active.

This two-year extension runs until 30 June 2026 and helps kids of all different sports afford an opportunity to play at a local level if they come from and under privileged background.

Football Australia is a part of the Sporting Schools program, with each state offering participation Officers and local clubs that are ready to implement in-school and after-school programs for students of ages up to Year 8, plus all abilities programs.

Football Australia use this program to link local football clubs with schools to facilitate an ongoing relationship and provide further opportunity for students to continue their football journey outside of school, whether that be MiniRoos Kick Off, MiniRoos Club or Junior Football.

More than 24,000 young Australians will be supported with the Local Sporting Champions (LSC) and Local Para Champions (LSP) grants programs continuing for a further two years.

These are fantastic programs that have supported Australia’s best athletes including many Matildas like Courtney Nevin, Cortnee Vine, Alex Chidiac, Teagan Micah and Clare Hunt.

World Cup veteran’s Caitlin Foord and Ellie Carpenter also rose to success with assistance from the LSC program throughout their junior careers.

Australian Sports Commission CEO Kieren Perkins OAM mentions the importance of this investment to continue critical national sporting programs.

“Once again, I want to thank Minister Wells and the Australian Government for their continued support and investment in Australian sport,” Perkins said in a statement.

“This funding extends critical sport participation programs like the Participation Grant program and Sporting Schools which provides free and fun sporting opportunities to more than two million students each year.

“This follows last week’s announcement of $249.7 million to upgrade the AIS Campus to ensure our athletes have access to the world’s best testing and training facilities, and accommodation ahead of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

This is a fantastic initiative that will benefit football amongst other sports and has a history of helping kids of all skill levels play in their respective sport.

The Federal Budget have put in almost $350 to improve sport, mostly around the 2032 Olympic Games but it is great to see some investment in the world game after the huge success of the Women’s World Cup last year.

The biggest Female Football Week to date draws to a close

Female Football week is at its climax across the country with each respective state firmly involved in what has been a monumental year of growth and perseverance with one of the hottest topics amongst the sporting plethora across the nation.

Symbolising the significant strides in which female football has made down under, off the back of its maiden World Cup hosting tenure.

Football Queensland throughout the grand occasion were busy shining a spotlight upon the continuous growth of participation, encouraging women of all ages to become involved and immersed within the global game.

Football Victoria – Commentary

Football Victoria (FV) celebrated women’s football week in style.

Round 8 of the National Premier League Women’s (NPLW) competition within Victoria was unique throughout its coverage, with every match throughout the round featuring a female commentator.

A monumental feat spearheaded by the FV Commentary team, this was the first time an all female commentary round was executed.

Football Queensland

FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci disclosed his appreciation for the momentous occasion via the FQ website.

“While celebrations like FFW serve as a crucial milestone in FQ’s journey towards achieving 50/50 gender parity by 2027 and helps to further reinforce our commitment to enhancing accessibility and inclusivity, our support is not confined to this week, as we remain dedicated to prioritising our female football community year-round.”

Football Queensland – Award Ceremony

Paying homage to Referees, Club Volunteers, Players and Community Champions of the year was conducted through awards up for grabs.

FQ showcased an award ceremony towards multiple facets of football throughout the state.

A nice incentive dedicated to the recognition and appraisal of the hard work undertaken by different areas of football.

The Female Football Week club of the year was awarded to Central Football Club following their extraordinary contribution to female football within Queensland.

Displayed throughout the clubs commitment to female football, the club are fully dedicated to the advancement of women’s football.

Harvesting a fostering environment throughout the club, alongside the nourishment of young promising female footballers has been symbolised by FQ.

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