Females in football celebrated through She Can and the World Cup

She Can

With the widely anticipated 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup just around the corner, it is becoming ever so more important to teach, support and empower young Australian females about their rightful place in sport.

It is acknowledged that being involved in sports can assist in breaking down gender stereotypes, improve the self-esteem of women and girls, and add to the advancement of leadership and strategic skills.

However, with all the positives of female participation in sports, it is a shame to see that young girls aged 11-17 in Australia have a lower retention rate in sports compared to their male counterparts of the same age.

Tackling this problem head-on, the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, hosted jointly in Australia and New Zealand, is expected to be a celebration of women’s football in both countries.

Showcasing the footballing talent of females all across the globe, the World Cup is bound to supercharge women’s football in Australia and New Zealand. The hope is to increase future female participation, starting in grassroots programs.

Proactive in addressing this same issue, Sydney FC has recently unveiled its new grassroots initiative, the ‘She Can’ program.

The She Can Program was developed by Sydney FC to break down barriers to sports faced by young girls across the country. It involves both practical and theoretical elements that hope to provide participants with skills and a more in-depth understanding of their own support networks. The program acknowledges that barriers to participation can be overcome as they arise and encourages girls to continue to play their chosen sport in the future.

Rolling out the program in late 2022, students from Illawarra Sports High School were the first to take part in She Can.

The female participants discussed many important topics that young girls could potentially be too nervous or afraid to talk about, such as confidence, leadership, menstruation, body image, and relationships.

A young female participant expressed her gratefulness to the program in a statement:

“She Can has allowed me to open up and talk to the girls about things I wouldn’t normally talk about.”

Mirroring the same gratification, another participant added:

“I have also been able to learn more about who to talk to if I have issues with different things that might put me off taking part in sport.”

The Director of Sport at Illawarra Sport High School, Amy Child, was excited about the opportunity her students had to take part in the program. She spoke about the importance of the program via press release:

“It’s really important for girls to be involved in programs like She Can so that they remain in sport, and also become engaged in lifelong activity and start to overcome and think about the barriers to dropping out of sport.”

Sydney FC Foundation Chair, Jenny Abood is proud of the ‘She Can’ program, addressing her club’s pleasure in a statement:

“Sydney FC is a club known for supporting and developing champion women footballers. We are proud of what our women have achieved domestically and offshore over the last 15 years and now to roll out the She Can Program to keep young girls playing sport is fabulous,” she said.

“Our Board appreciate the importance of such a program, especially given the heightened interest in the beautiful game as we approach the Women’s World Cup this year, hosted in Australia.”

Sydney FC’s Premium Partner Under Armour supported the program by providing participants with a sports bra each to use during and after the program.

Currently, across the globe, different initiatives are designed to support and empower women. Similar to the ‘She Can’ program of Sydney FC, ‘Supporting Her Education Changes a Nation’ (SHE CAN) was developed in 2011. This initiative is aimed at building global female leadership by equipping and empowering talented low-opportunity women from post-conflict and climate-challenged countries with the education, mentorship, and leadership skills needed to change their nations and the world.

The Australia and New Zealand 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup begins on July 20, with record crowds expected to attend.

Football Victoria choose INTIX as exclusive ticketing provider

Football Victoria have confirmed a new and exciting partnership with ticketing and membership company INTIX, which will commence in 2024 in time for next season.

INTIX will become the exclusive ticketing provider for all FV-managed events and will be the preferred provider for events at The Home of the Matildas.

This collaboration will also make FV’s event management more efficient and improve communication with fans and sponsors through their CRM systems.

INTIX is an Australian owned and operated company that specialise in event operations, ticketing and marketing specifically for sporting events.

The company was established in 2017 by Alex Grant with an ambitious goal to provide the best ticketing platform available to event organisers, clubs and venues.

INTIX partnered with Melbourne Victory to provide digital ticketing for all its corporate hospitality functions, and they have worked many high-scale football events.

The company also has experience in the NBL with the Tasmanian JackJumpers and in 2021 worked with AFL Victoria to supply ticketing services to metropolitan leagues and clubs.

This partnership for FV scratches the surface for what is the possibility in the future for NPL and A-League matches that have completely different systems. The expensive processing fees of Ticketek and Ticketmaster have left many fans frustrated at the process of purchasing their ticket and success with this collaboration could see INTIX expand inside the sport of football.

FV Executive Manager of Commercial, Chris Speldewinde, spoke about the improvements to matchday operations that will be made through this collaboration.

“We are thrilled to join forces with INTIX. Their state-of-the-art ticketing and CRM solutions will not only optimise our operations but also elevate our engagement with fans and sponsors. This collaboration signifies an exciting new chapter for Football Victoria,” he said in a statement.

INTIX’s advanced ticketing system will simplify the purchasing of tickets to these events and be readily available to fans online, reducing wait times to provide seamless access into events.

As the Home of the Matildas begins to stage bigger events, this partnership importantly professionalises the experience of getting to the seat and helps FV manage big crowds a lot easier.

It’s a collaboration that allows FV to focus more on strategic growth initiatives and delivering a better experience for fans and stakeholders.

Uncertainty looms around National Second Tier’s future

The highly anticipated National Second Tier (NST) in its proposed format is set to be postponed by Football Australia, with the body looking to find alternative ways to include these NPL clubs into a similar structure that would be more financially viable.

Vince Rugari of the Sydney Morning Herald broke the news on Tuesday claiming the highly ambitious second tier was likely going to be put on hold after the original plan was to have 10 to 14 foundation clubs forming a separate league, without promotion or relegation to start.

There was a very high financial threshold that the eight foundation clubs needed to reach in order to be granted a licence and unfortunately with rumours of some in the eight sceptical of its viability, other NPL clubs with a proposal in the original plan have backed away from the idea for the time being.

For what is meant to be a ‘national competition’, having clubs from NSW and Victoria only is quite restricted but the search for a financially strong club outside of the two states, willing to take that massive financial risk, is a task that is too difficult in the country’s current state of football affairs.

There has been a lack of a clear message from Football Australia across the past 12 months. The eight foundation clubs were left on standby about important information like the correct format, whether it was going to expand to 10 or 12 teams that Football Australia promised multiple times, or when the league would actually kick off in winter of 2025 or beyond that considering the shaky A-League finances being the main subject of discussion surrounding the initial success of the NSD.

After the A-Leagues controversial call to reduce initial funding of top tier clubs to $530k a year from its usual $2m a year, a properly run second division seems like a task too far down its priority list despite the positive feedback it has received from fans and clubs about implementing a ‘transformative’ system mirroring European football.

An idea being floated around as a possible solution to the unviability of a separate league is to add existing A-League teams to the ‘Champions League-style’ second division, which would essentially be a more exclusive version of the existing Australia Cup.

Football Australia CEO James Johnson told The Asian Game exclusively that “we will have a (national) second tier it will exist,” but the home and away format played during the winter is a long shot and the foundation clubs are left in limbo wondering what their immediate futures are considering the heavy financial investment they will have to make if it goes ahead.

This whole saga has been a case of Football Australia pushing away the problems that quickly arose from this ambitious idea and being too reactive when it comes to finding a solution that would be fair for the foundation clubs financially.

The NSD must wait and not force itself into a fragile Australian football landscape that has many more issues it must worry about in the top flight before building a second division that could financially damage some of the most historic clubs in Victoria and NSW.

In a world where Australian football needs authority and structure, the collapse of the original idea of the NSD proves there is a long way to go and communication towards the clubs and fans involved has to improve.

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