Football Australia introduces new independent review process

Football Aus

Football Australia have announced the development of an independent complaint management process to enable current and former footballers and staff to bring forward concerns about alleged abuse, harassment or bullying in relation to Football Australia’s national teams and the A-Leagues.

Under the agreement, Sport Integrity Australia will receive, assess, and manage all complaints, ensuring all concerns are heard and assessed independent of Football Australia. Details are expected to be available in the coming weeks.

The National Sports Tribunal will have jurisdiction to hear any disputes that fall within the scope of the complaints process, through mediation, conciliation, or arbitration.

Football Australia initiated discussions with SIA with a view to establishing an independent mechanism to supplement the governing body’s complaint handling process under its Member Protection Framework.

Football Australia CEO James Johnson outlined that his organisation treated matters of abuse seriously and had a “zero tolerance” approach.

“The wellbeing of our diverse community is our priority, and we’re committed to safe, inclusive environments for all footballers and staff. There is no place for abuse, harassment or bullying in our sport and it’s incumbent on organisations like ours to take the lead when it comes to dealing with these issues head-on,” he said”

“We understand that society’s expectations have shifted, and it’s vital that our sport reflects those expectations. With this in mind, we approached Sport Integrity Australia recently and we’re pleased with this timely announcement that the proposed process will enable anyone with concerns to come forward, with the confidence that their concerns will be heard and assessed independently.”

Sport Integrity Australia CEO David Sharpe addressed the importance for complaints to be handled outside an individual sport.

“I welcome the proactive approach from FA to address these issues independently. Having an independent body to hear complaints is critical to giving athletes and staff confidence that their concerns will be heard openly and that they will be treated fairly. Nothing can be swept under the carpet,” he said

John Boultbee, CEO of the National Sports Tribunal, added: “The involvement of the independent National Sports Tribunal as the ultimate appeal body, ensures those concerned are provided the most independent and thorough processes from the time of the complaint through to its ultimate resolution.”

Further details regarding the process, scope and timeframe will be available in the coming weeks.

Federal government commit $250 million to upgrade AIS facilities

The federal government confirm they are committing $250 million to upgrade the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) ahead of the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.

The funding will be put towards building a new high-performance training and testing centre, a multi-sport indoor dome, and an accommodation facility.

An independent review of the institute’s infrastructure found that in February, the AIS should stay in Canberra but needs a significant upgrade ahead of the games.

As a football outlook, the facilities don’t seem to help the development of young or professional footballers at all.

After the ‘FFA Centre of Excellence’ was discontinued in 2017, the AIS haven’t put a lot of focus into football and have left development purely up to Football Australia and the state federations.

The AIS upgrades in Canberra are seemingly leaving out football and the $250m is being spent on a purely Olympic outlook including athletics and swimming, in order to try and maximise the amount of gold medals Australia wins.

With the popularity of The Matildas rapidly growing with eight years before the Brisbane Olympics, the government should really be focusing on what they can do for football.

Federal Sports Minister Anika Wells discussed the government’s commitment to revitalise the AIS as a “world-standard facility.”

“When it was first built, the AIS was so successful in preparing our medal winning athletes that it was replicated by sporting nations around the world and became the benchmark for achieving athletic success,” she said in an statement.

“Today, our government is investing in the AIS, so we reach those benchmarks again as we commit to delivering world standard training facilities ahead of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese commented on the importance of these upgrades for the country.

“We want to give our athletes the best chance of bringing home gold at Brisbane and every competition before and after those games,” he added in an statement.

“The upcoming budget will ensure the AIS remains in the capital, where it belongs, and ensure it once again becomes the world-leading high-performance centre it was designed to be.”

The AIS upgrades are fantastic for the country’s top athletes and the much needed improvements set the country up well for 2032, but the question lies, what are they doing for football?

Football Australia signs with Etrainu for an elite education in football

Football Australia has joined forces with Etrainu to forge ahead with the creation of the Football Australia Learning Centre, a pioneering initiative aimed at enriching the knowledge and skills within the football community.

The brand new Learning Centre will amalgamate the former Learning Management System (LMS) and Qualification Management System (QMS) into one unified platform, supplying Football Australia enhanced flexibility and oversight over their educational pathways.

Upon its completion, the Football Australia Learning Centre will serve as a centralised hub for coaches and referees to oversee their certifications and enhance their expertise, utilising a blend of online and in-person learning opportunities.

This marks a significant achievement for Australian football, as hundreds of thousands of coaches and referees will gain swift and convenient access to their learning journey, moreover, they will have the capability to independently oversee qualifications such as their referee license and journey.

After an exhaustive exploration phase, Etrainu and Football Australia collaborated on a solution that capitalises on the fundamental features of the Etrainu LMS, integrating seamlessly with Football Australia’s participant registration platform (Play Football), staff directory, and payment solution.

This integrated environment will unlock numerous advantages for Football Australia.

Etrainu CEO, Paul Hoon expressed his delight with the partnership via press release:

“This is an incredible opportunity to impact the football community in Australia,” he said to Football Australia.

“Watching the performance of both our Men’s and Women’s teams at the most recent World Cups, it is clear that football is continuing to grow in Australia, we’re excited to deliver a platform that will help streamline education pathways for coaches and referees, creating an impact for the grassroots football community.”

Upon the unveiling of the Football Australia Learning Centre, Chief Football Officer at Football Australia, Ernie Merrick conveyed his excitement for the venture and its prospective influence on the educational realm of the sport.

“Through our partnership with Etrainu, we’re setting a new standard for football education in Australia, The Football Australia Learning Centre is designed to empower our coaches and referees with the tools and knowledge they need to excel and progress,” he said to Football Australia.

“This platform is more than just a learning management system; it’s a gateway to unlocking potential at every level of the game. We are committed to nurturing talent and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, ensuring that Australian football remains strong today and even stronger tomorrow.”

Phase 1 of the Football Australia Learning Centre has been successfully launched, providing tangible benefits to the football community across the nation.

In the forthcoming months and years, subsequent phases will witness the ongoing expansion of the Learning Centre.

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