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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.”

Football Queensland’s Girls United to encourage female participation

FQ Girls United

Football Queensland have announced the establishment of Girls United programs to inspire greater female participation in the world game across the state.

Girls United will involve a series of targeted programs aiming to encourage women and girls’ participation in football throughout Queensland.

The range of programs will include Development Holiday Programs, social football programs and sessions designed specifically for older women and multicultural communities.

The Girls United Social Program has already been launched in Wide Bay and focuses on providing a social and relaxed setting to play football in.

Girls United Kick On for Women is a low-impact program that provides physical and mental health benefits for women returning to physical activity.

Girls United Celebrating Diversity is an inclusive program designed to eliminate the barriers faced by culturally and linguistically diverse communities in sport.

Kate Lawson, Football Queensland Women and Girls Participation Manager, encouraged women and girls of all ages and cultural backgrounds to get involved in a Girls United program, regardless of their experience in the game.

“Girls United involves a variety of programs to encourage new participants in a fun, low key, inclusive environment,” she said.

“The Girls United Development Holiday Programs will launch across the state in September, with sessions already locked in at Tarragindi Tigers in the Metro South zone, The Gap FC in the Metro North zone, Caloundra FC on the Sunshine Coast, and Endeavor Park in Cairns.

“The free programs are designed to upskill female participants and will include a MiniRoos coaching course, a Level 4 referee course, social games and a BBQ.

“Both events are open to women and girls aged 13 and over, whether they are newcomers to football or experienced players.

“We have already seen great success with this program at Bethania Rams FC in the Metro South zone and Football Queensland will continue to work closely with clubs throughout the state to ensure we have the appropriate structures in place to recruit new participants to the game.”

Football Queensland Chief Executive Officer Robert Cavallucci stated the launch of Girls United was an ongoing demonstration that FQ is delivering on the objectives outlined in the Women and Girls Strategy.

“Football Queensland is committed to creating new products for women and girls and developing female players, coaches and referees,” Cavallucci said.

“September will be a huge month for Football Queensland as we host the Kappa Women’s Super Cup Final and the celebration of 100 years of women’s football.

“As we look ahead to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023, Football Queensland is determined to increase participation opportunities for women and girls throughout the state.”

Football Queensland’s Walktober events support Walking Football

Walktober

Football Queensland have announced the launch of Walktober as an initiative to encourage social connection through sport.

Walktober will see a series of five Walking Football events take place across the month of October with inclusion and encouragement at the forefront.

The announcement of Walktober is a timely one, with repeated lockdowns across the state affecting so many throughout Queensland and Australia as a whole. Football is a social sport that can be a significant tool in reintegrating and reconnecting with others.

Walktober will include two Carnivals for existing players and three social Come & Try Carnivals for new participants to experience football in a welcoming, non-competitive environment.

Football Queensland CEO Robert Cavallucci cited Walktober as a month-long event that encourages people of all ages, cultures and abilities to get involved in the game.

“Walking Football is a modified version of the game played on reduced sized fields, suitable for all players no matter their ability or experience,” Cavallucci said.

“The low-impact nature of Walking Football allows participants to remain active and engaged with football without worrying about the speed of the game or the chances of suffering an injury.

“In keeping with the ‘Social Connections’ theme of Seniors Month in October, Walktober will use football, the state’s most popular team sport, to encourage active lifestyles and teamwork amongst Queenslanders.

“Football Queensland will host Walking Football Carnivals for both experienced players and newcomers to the sport in Brisbane, Toowoomba, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.

Cavallucci went on to reflect further on the buzz that has been generated by Walking Football across the state and the events that are set to follow through Walktober.

“Walktober will be followed by the Pan Pacific Masters Games on the Gold Coast in November, which will include Walking Football for the first time,” Cavallucci added.

“We have already seen great engagement in our Walking Football programs from Queenslanders of all ages, genders and cultural backgrounds, and we encourage everyone to assemble a team and sign up for a Walktober event.”

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