Federal Government announces $3.1 million investment into women’s football

The Australian Federal Government has announced an investment of $3.1 million over two years to encourage greater participation of women and girls in football, to expand the MiniRoos for Girls Program (for girls aged 6-12 years) and the Girls 12+ Football Your Way Engagement Experience Program.

In Tuesday’s Federal Budget, the Government emphasised the importance of maximising the social, economic and sporting outcomes of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023™ – the single largest women’s sporting event in the world – and the unique opportunity it presents to leverage significant legacy initiatives.

The funding forms part of Football Australia’s ambitious Legacy ’23 plan to deliver enduring benefits as a result of co-hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023™, including gender parity by 2027, which would see an additional 400,000 female participants.

Football Australia Chief Executive Officer James Johnson acknowledged and thanked the Federal Government for their continued support of Football Australia and Legacy ’23.

“Football Australia has undertaken extensive planning and modelling for Legacy ’23 and we are thrilled that the Federal Government have reviewed these plans and continue to show their support for the growth and development of our game at all levels, but particularly at the grassroots,” Johnson said.

“Widely recognised as Australia’s largest club-base community sport, we are also determined to become the centre of women’s football in the Asia-Pacific region. This funding will ensure we can continue this journey of transformation and provide more women and girls with access to football – on and off the pitch – in the lead up to and beyond the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™, which is now just 16 months away.”

Minister for Sport, Richard Colbeck, added:

“This will be the largest ever women’s sporting event and it is a privilege for Australia to co-host the event with New Zealand,” he said.

“The event will strengthen Australia’s world-class reputation as a global leader in women’s sport and is part of a green and gold decade of major sporting events to be hosted in our country.

“The Federal Government’s $3.1 million investment in FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 legacy programs will be critical to ensuring community level football around Australia is further strengthened particularly with more women and girls participating and engaged.”

This recent commitment to assisting in driving the future growth of women’s football at the grassroots level follows last year’s backing of Football Australia’s National Club Development Program as well as High Performance to the tune of $12 million.

In 2019, after the eighth edition of the tournament in France, football participation grew by more than 850,000.

Scottish football receives infrastructure grant for grassroots clubs

Grassroots clubs in Scotland can look to a brighter future thanks to £6 million ($11.62 million AUD) from the UK Government to develop 40 infrastructure projects across the country.

In particular, funding will assist the delivery of 20 3G artificial pitches to various clubs around the country, whilst further facilities planned for construction include changerooms, clubhouses, and floodlights.

Scottish football has a unique battle with the elements owing to its location in the North of Europe. Not even a winter break protects professional and semi-professional clubs from extreme weather, which often results in match postponements for frozen, waterlogged, or snow-covered pitches.

Though many experts debate the existence of 3G artificial pitches at professional level, there is very little debate against their importance to grassroots clubs, where artificial surfaces are indispensable to their operations.

Furthermore, the Scottish Football Association (SFA) has evolved its project delivery to increase participation in football for women and people with disability.

Poignantly, UK Government Minister for Scotland, Malcolm Offord, discussed the grant at Glasgow Girls and Women FC – a football club that has typified efforts to build inclusivity and participation in the Scottish game.

The club boasts six youth sides from under-eights to under-18s and a senior women’s team who play in the 2nd league of the Scottish Women’s Premier League. They will be one of several clubs to benefit, with development of a new, state-of-the-art pitch.

Offord linked the recent success of Scotland’s national teams to its continuing investment in grassroots football.

“The achievements of Scotland’s men’s and women’s football teams are in no small part down to the dedication of those at grassroots level. Providing high-quality facilities the length and breadth of Scotland that are accessible to all is vital,” he said via media release.

“These 40 projects will nurture the talent of the future, encouraging everyone in the community to have fun, be active and embrace all the benefits that brings for physical and mental health.”

The SFA’s Grassroots Pitch & Facilities Fund has already delivered significant projects to lower socio-economic areas of Scotland. UK Government Sports Minister, Stuart Andrew, believes the grant is symbolic of these efforts to promote physical activity in Scotland.

“Sport and physical activity is vital to our mental health and wellbeing, and each year thousands of people make a New Year’s resolution to exercise more,” Andrew added via press release.

“We know that one of the major barriers in getting active is access to high-quality sports facilities, which is why we are delivering 40 new projects in Scotland.”

Finally, SFA President Mike Mulraney highlighted his organisation’s success in delivering its vision.

“One of the priorities for the Scottish FA is ensuring that local communities across the nation have access to facilities, so it is wonderful to see the UK Government’s commitment to investing in our national game through the Scottish FA’s Grassroots Pitch & Facilities Fund,” Mulraney said via press release.

“It is vitally important for the nation that we continue to make our national game accessible to all and we are extremely grateful to the UK Government for helping us to do so through this investment.”

In 2024, the following projects are included in the round of investment:

  • Glasgow Girls FC – brand new artificial grass pitch.
  • East Kilbride United – brand new artificial grass pitch.
  • Blairgowrie and Rattray Community Football Trust – new changing pavilion.
  • Newtongrange Star Football and Social Club in Dalkeith – solar panels improvements.
  • Glasgow City Council – new floodlights at Knightswood Secondary School.

This grant represents an important moment for a football-loving nation like Scotland, and further demonstrates the value of building partnerships with government agencies to support football expansion.

MG Motor UK backs Arsenal as Official Automotive Partner

Arsenal confirmed a multi-year agreement with car manufacturer MG Motor UK who is the Official Automotive Partner.

Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, MG will be there for Arsenal’s men’s and women’s teams, and supporters will see their brand showcased on LED boards and screens at Emirates Stadium and Meadow Park.

A key component of this partnership is that both parties will work together to create engaging content designed to engage the club’s global supporter base. This is the most direct way to build up both brands and increase exposure which is the ambition of both organisations.

It becomes the third current car sponsorship in the league after Man City & Nissan as well as Man United and Chevrolet. Interestingly, it is only the seventh time ever a car company has sponsored a Premier League club, making it a rarity in this space.

MG Motor UK Commercial Director Guy Pigounakis spoke on the company’s focus on sports and in particular growing the women’s game.

“Joining Arsenal in our centenary year marks a significant chapter in MG’s story. We’re not just supporting a world-famous club; but aiming to drive forward the future of football by championing the growth of the women’s professional game and showing our passion for the greatest game on earth,” he said via www.arsenal.com

Juliet Slot, Arsenal’s Chief Commercial Officer, explained how congruent both organisations were with each other’s long-term plans.

“We’re delighted to welcome MG to our family of partners. It’s a brand renowned for its history and heritage, but they also bring a forward-thinking mindset that aligns with our club’s ambitions,” she added via www.arsenal.com.

“In their centenary year, we’re excited that MG can become part of our own long-term growth journey, and we look forward to working with them to promote their range of leading sustainable electric vehicles.”

This is MG’s second partnership with a club in the Premier League after first announcing their collaboration with Liverpool in 2016. The manufacturer however is this time covering both the Gunners’ men’s and women’s team with their vision of playing a role in the growth of women’s football in the UK.

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