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FFA seeks to bring AFC youth women’s qualifiers to regional Australia

Football Federation Australia (FFA) has submitted a second bid to host Asian Football Confederation (AFC) youth women’s qualification fixtures in Australia in 2021.

Round one of qualifiers for the AFC U-20 Women’s Asian Cup 2022 are scheduled to take place in March next year.

FFA has already bid, along Cessnock City Council, to host a round one qualification group for AFC U-17s and furthermore partnered with Greater Shepparton City Council with the aim of hosting a round one qualification group for AFC U-20s.

If FFA’s bid is successful, three or four Asian nations would join the Young Matildas in regional Victoria for a tournament that would inject significant investment into the local economy.

“We are excited to have partnered with Greater Shepparton City Council to submit another bid to host AFC youth women’s football content in Australia next year,” said James Johnson, FFA CEO.

“This bid – alongside our submission with Cessnock City Council announced in August – aligns with our vision to host more national team matches on home soil, particularly in the lead up to our hosting of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023.”

Johnson added that FFA remains acutely aware of the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines in Victoria and nationally, meaning any event FFA event would only be held in close cooperation with authorities.

“We recognise and acknowledge Greater Shepparton for their foresight to work with us on this bid, which may result in some of the potential stars of 2023 featuring in regional Victoria just two years prior to the FIFA Women’s World Cup on our shores.

“The tournament will be a wonderful opportunity for our future stars to showcase their talent in front of friends and family. Football is a global game and we want to create more opportunities for our communities, particularly in regional Australia, to see international matches and connect with the game,” he said.

Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor, Cr Seema Abdullah, said the potential hosting of the qualification tournament would help her region on its road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Council is very excited to partner with FFA to bid for such a prestigious international women’s tournament. Securing an event of such calibre would be a real coup for Australia and our region,” Cr Abdullah said.

“Our community has a proud football history and it would be great for the promotion of the sport in Australia and so inspiring to see our country’s best junior women’s footballers go up against Asia’s best, in our own backyard at the Shepparton Sports City precinct.”

“Local businesses in our visitor economy are doing it tough right now and if the tournament is secured and safe to go ahead it would be a real boost to our business community.”

City of Hobart begin $1.3 million project to support women’s football

Football Tasmania

A $1.3 million City of Hobart project to help level the playing field for young women and girls has kicked off at the home of the New Town White Eagles Soccer Club with a major overhaul of the team’s change rooms and sporting pavilion.

The significant upgrade will see the old, separate toilet block demolished and replaced by new public toilets attached to the new sporting pavilion.

The project is expected to take up to five months to complete and has been partly funded through the Tasmanian Government’s Leveling the Playing Field Grants Program, which provided $450,000 for the project.

The City of Hobart is contributing another $850 000 to the project as part of its commitment to levelling the playing field for young girls and women and people with disabilities.

“Participation in women’s sport is surging across Australia, and the number and quality of sporting facilities plays a key role in encouraging and sustaining this growth,” City of Hobart Acting Lord Mayor Helen Burnet said in a statement.

“The New Town White Eagles Soccer Club, which calls Clare Street Oval home, is no exception, but the ability for more girls and young women to get involved with the club is hampered by the current condition of their change rooms and sports facilities.

“The current change rooms, which were built in the 1970s, have no accessible toilets or lockable showers and are poorly lit.

“This project will create a new, beautifully designed sports pavilion with four modern change rooms, two accessible toilets and ten lockable shower cubicles – it will also see two separate change rooms created for umpires with their own showers and toilets.

“The City of Hobart encourages greater participation in sport by everyone who wants to play and the upgrades to the Clare Street Oval change rooms will support this.”

Clare Street Oval is home to the New Town White Eagles Soccer Club, and is used by Sacred Heart School, New Town Cricket Club and the local community.

“Some young sports people, including girls and people with disabilities, may have felt excluded previously because of less than welcoming facilities,” Burnet added via Football Tasmania.

“Everyone deserves safe and secure sporting facilities that help them be the best they can be at their chosen sport.

“The City of Hobart is pleased to partner with the state government to level the playing field for everyone.”

Significant trio joins Football Australia Legacy ’23 Ambassadors line up

FA

Football Australia has announced the addition of Elizabeth (Liz) Broderick AO, Special Rapporteur and Independent Expert to the United Nations, Paralympic champion Kurt Fearnley AO, and Tourism Australia Managing Director Phillipa Harrison to the Legacy ’23 Ambassador Program.

The brand-new additions are set to bring their unique expertise to the program, particularly in the areas of international advocacy and diplomacy, tourism, plus diversity and inclusion. The trio will speak to the wide range of ambitions highlighted in Football Australia’s bold and innovative Legacy ’23 plan in the lead up to and beyond the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023.

In her former role as Australia’s longest-standing Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Liz Broderick AO has played an integral role in helping to break down structural and social barriers faced by women and men and has cemented herself as a globally recognised leader and advocate for diversity and inclusion.

Through her influential work with the United Nations and the Champions of Change Coalition, focusing on the rights of women and girls, Liz will use her Legacy ’23 ambassador role to help drive conversations around how gender equality in sport can influence other industries and progress international diplomacy.

Of her role, Liz said via a Football Australia statement:

“I hope that through Legacy ’23 we will see the sport become a catalyst to help our nation achieve gender equality for the next generations of women and girls here in Australia and across the world. What we know from all the research is that greater levels of gender diversity, build performance and capability, and that’s the great opportunity that exists off the back of 2023.”

Having grown up in the regional New South Wales town of Carcour, three-time gold medal-winning Paralympian, Kurt Fearnley AO, knows first-hand the importance of having advocates to support an individual’s progress and access to equal opportunities.

Of his role, Kurt said via Football Australia:

“Being a Legacy ’23 Ambassador is about making sure I can continue to play a role in ensuring that people with disabilities are visible and accepted within the community. The acceptance of the community was integral to my journey to becoming a professional athlete, and without it, I may never have been able to realise my potential. So, I hope that through Legacy ’23 we can further level the playing field and create pathways for athletes of all ages, all cultures and abilities.”

For Phillipa Harrison, hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 represents an incredible moment for the Australian travel and tourism industry to showcase the world-class experiences the country has on offer and reinvigorate the local economy after a challenging two years. Phillipa is also excited to be able to leverage her role as a Legacy ‘23 Ambassador to celebrate the rich diversity of our First Nations people across all corners of Australia.

Beyond her passion to show the best of Australia to the world, Legacy ’23 also represents something quite personal for Phillipa, saying via Football Australia:

“As a mother of two young daughters, it’s really important that they see the possibilities of what they could be, and I would love to think that by having this global event in our own backyard, a whole generation of Australian girls can set their sights a little bit higher on what they can achieve now and into the future.”

Football Australia CEO James Johnson added via Football Australia about the new appointments:

“Our Legacy ’23 Ambassador program set out to represent the rich diversity of our community and with the addition of Liz, Kurt and Phillipa we are one step closer to achieving that. We believe in the ability of this program to influence change at a policy level, but most importantly at a societal level, and all of our ambassadors will be integral in supporting us with our ambitions to drive meaningful and lasting change in our game.”

Previously announced ambassadors making up the Final XI include:

  • The Hon. Julie Bishop, Chancellor of Australian National University
  • Julie Dolan AM, Matildas cap #1
  • Azmeena Hussain OAM, Director Football Victoria and social justice advocate
  • Narelda Jacobs, NIAG Member and Network 10 Presenter
  • Kate Jenkins, Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner
  • Awer Mabil, Socceroo

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