FFA Announce Growth in Female Participation in 2019

In a recent statement, the FFA have revealed nearly two million women and girls across the country played football in 2019.

An 11% increase was made across all seven states and territories, with Victoria achieving a rise of over 50%.

“Our growth is testament to everyone connected with our great game. It’s due in no small part to the progress we’ve made as a sport over the past 24 months and the way our clubs and volunteers have responded and contributed to this achievement,” said Peter Filopoulos, CEO of Football Victoria.

“We have a shared aspiration for our sport to continue to grow and develop, and I’m certain we’ve not even scratched the surface as to the continued growth of our game.

“Our firm agenda to support the ongoing growth and development of our game in Victoria continues through our strategic plan, FootbALLways, which was announced last year.  The plan is about uniting, inspiring and enabling Victorians of ALL backgrounds and abilities to live and love football, for life.”

Women’s sports in Australia has been on a steady incline in the last few years, thanks in part to various different sports all doing their bit.

The AFLW, introduced in 2017 has been a massive influence for young girls, as well as the success of our women’s national cricket team.

They recently captured the ICC T20 Women’s World Cup in a thumping win over India, showcasing them as one of the country’s most successful international sides.

Foxtel also recently used channel 507 as a pop-up channel for women’s sports only called FOXW. It was only a temporary change however, one would suspect it’s something that is being seriously considered down the line as permanent.

The quality and success of Australia’s national women’s soccer team needs no explanation.

FFA CEO James Johnson and FFA Head of Football Sarah Walsh both commented on the census results, stating that they couldn’t be happier.

“I’m particularly pleased that this hard work has resulted in large increases in the numbers of both coaches and volunteers, as they add tremendous value to our game, and I’d like to thank everyone involved for their commitment to our sport.”, said Johnson.

“I’m delighted that more women and girls than ever are now playing football,” Walsh said.

“FFA is committed to increasing diversity and inclusion in football, and we have seen a number of female-football initiatives in the past year that have proved very popular.”

Walsh went on to talk about the importance of the Women’s World Cup bid, something that has been gaining traction for many months now.

“There’s still a long way to go for female football in this country and a lot of growth to be experienced in the coming years. We are aiming for 50:50 gender parity by 2027 and hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023 in Australia and New Zealand would fast track our push to reach this target.”

50/50 gender parity as Walsh calls it is perhaps the greatest challenge facing the FFA. Whilst the women’s game is getting the push it fully deserves, there will still be detractors.

2027 seems like a long time away, but unless the FFA can successfully bid on the Women’s World Cup as well as successfully develop our brightest up and coming female players, time will fly by.

The results of this census are certainly promising and that would be mostly down to the success of our elite players.

Yes, there is a huge gap between the community and elite levels. But the two will always be connected, especially when it comes to younger aspiring players.

Do you think that the FFA can reach 50/50 by 2027? Furthermore, how much of an impact do you think the Women’s World Cup would have on that 50/50 goal if the tournament was held here in Australia?

Get involved in the discussion on Twitter @Soccersceneau. Don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly newsletter for more articles just like this delivered to your inbox every Friday.


Caelum Ferrarese is a Senior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on micro policy within Australasia and industry disruptions at grassroots level.

Global Institute of Sport and former Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor launch ‘study and play’ academy in Dubai

Global Institute of Sport (GIS) has announced an expansion into the Middle East by partnering with leading football performance specialists The Player, co-founded by former Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor.

Aspiring footballers from across the globe can now study a GIS university degree and immerse themselves in an elite football environment with the stunning surroundings of Dubai.

The new ‘Study & Play: Dubai’ initiative provides footballers of all levels with an unprecedented opportunity to train and play in state-of-the-art facilities under the guidance of UEFA A licenced coaches. Alongside their football, students studying a specialist GIS online sports degree will receive local academic support, as well as be part of a global cohort of GIS students studying the same degree course.

Open to students from across the world to move to Dubai, successful applicants will be able to immerse themselves in the Middle East’s emerging football market, gain cutting-edge skills and apply for sports work placements that will shape their future both on and off the field.

The Player Co-Founder and former Newcastle United player Steven Taylor commented:

“This partnership with GIS offers a fantastic opportunity for young athletes. Education is one of our four main focuses at The Player, and we’re able to offer high level performance training alongside this education.”

Fellow The Player Co-Founder and UEFA A licenced coach Sam White added:

“We’re really proud to be introducing this partnership with Global Institute of Sport, and being able to offer young professionals and talented young athletes the opportunity to study a degree and play or work within the world of football in Dubai at the same time.”

GIS President and CEO Sharona Friedman stated:

“GIS was founded with the intention of bringing the best learning and education from the world of sport together so that students are able to graduate with a holistic understanding of best practice from around the globe.

“We are delighted to partner with The Player to provide an additional immersive opportunity for students to study and train in an elite football environment, whilst also bringing our education model to a new region, which will be at the forefront of sports business and performance for the decades to come.”

The GIS degrees available to study as part of this opportunity are:

All programmes are delivered entirely online with the exception of MSc Football Coaching & Analysis, which is largely online plus two residential weeks in either London, Miami or Melbourne.

For more information on Study & Play: Dubai, you can visit the link here: www.GIS.sport/dubai.

FIFA implement measures to protect female players and coaches

FIFA has announced several amendments to the current Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP). These changes have been approved by the FIFA Council by May 2024 and have been brought into effect from June 1.

These changes are majorly focused on women and the impact that menstruation and pregnancy have on their careers.

A meeting of key stakeholders and FIFA members resulted in these new regulations advancing the women’s game.

These include:

  • FIFA female players and coaches can now receive a minimum of 14 weeks of paid maternity leave.
  • A minimum of 8 weeks of paid absence for female coaches and players who adopt a child under the age of 2.
  • Also, a minimum of 8 weeks paid absence from the birth of the child if they are not the biological mother (for example same-sex parenthood).
  • Players are entitled to full remuneration if they are absent from training or games due to menstruation or pregnancy health reasons.
  • There is increased support for female players in contacting families during national team contexts to ease pressure on children and mothers.

FIFA Chief Legal & Compliance Officer Emilio García Silvero has commented on the recent changes:

“FIFA is committed to implementing a dynamic regulatory framework that is sound and suitable for the increasing needs of female players and coaches,” he said via media release.

“In order for the game to further flourish, it’s key that we have a holistic approach towards player well-being, including the legal aspects.”

This is a huge advancement in the game’s equality mission as FIFA has recognised and actively planned to ease the physical, psychological and social dimensions of pregnancy and menstruation for women athletes.

These regulations fit Goal 2 in FIFA’s Strategic Objectives for the Global Game: 2023-2027, which describe the organisation’s commitment to exploring and implementing further safeguards for player and coach welfare.

FIFA Chief Football Women’s Officer Dame Sarai Bareman outlined the importance of placing women’s physical health in the legal and mainstream dialogue of the sport.

“When you’re playing sport for a living, and in a professional environment, we have to factor in that the female menstrual cycle can also impact on your ability to deliver within your role,” she added via media release.

“So, it’s important that we protect … those that are affected by their menstrual cycles in a way that it doesn’t put at risk their employment situation with their club and, ultimately, their ability to earn money.”

This announcement shows the players are becoming the major stakeholders in laws and regulations around their welfare.

This is an important strategy for the equality of the game by making sure that women’s sporting careers are not put on hold or impacted by their natural body function or raising a child.

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