Football Australia launches National Referee Academy

Football Australia have announced the establishment of the Football Australia Referee Academy (FARA), designed to transform the Match Official pathway and cultivate the development of world-class officials.

FARA is aligned with Football Australia’s XI Principles, with the aim of creating an elite environment for nurturing match officials at all different levels, further lifting the standards of Australian football.

FARA adopts a holistic approach to improving match officials, ensuring that they are well-prepared for the demands of professional football, both domestically and in a global sense

By implementing a consistent and comprehensive education framework, FARA bridges the gap between NPL and A-Leagues, fostering seamless transition and growth for aspiring match officials.

The Academy is a critical component of the ‘Elite Refereeing Development Strategy’, setting a new standard for officiating excellence in Australian football.

Upon launching FARA, Football Australia Head of Referees Nathan Magill said: “Australian officials are highly regarded around the world, which is reflected in the record number of Australian officials who are currently on this year’s FIFA Panel of International Referees.

“The introduction of the Football Australia Referee Academy is about ensuring we continue to develop world-class officials, and by implementing a consistent and comprehensive education framework, the Academy bridges the gap between the state NPL and national A-Leagues’ competitions, fostering seamless transition and growth for aspiring match officials.

“The Football Australia Referee Academy is a critical component of the Elite Refereeing Development Strategy, demonstrating our commitment to raising the bar for officiating excellence and contributing to the overall success of Australian football,” concluded Magill.

FARA will see up to a dozen referees or assistant referees each intake commences a two-year program, which features dedicated referee education, training and mentoring to provide greater individual support covering technical, physical, and mental aspects to underpin accelerated development.

After a rigorous selection process, FARA has confirmed its inaugural intake. These selected referees will benefit from specialist training, mentoring programs, and access to the latest technology and resources. This will improve their decision-making skills and game management, preparing them to suceed in professional football environments.

For the inaugural Referee Academy intake, Football Australia received over 30 nominations, with twelve referees and assistant referees selected by an extensive panel consisting of former FIFA Referee Jacqui Hurford, former A-League Men’s Assistant Referee Daniel Goodwin, and National Wellbeing Manager Kay Robinson, with the 2023 program commencing in late May 2023.

Football Australia Referee Academy – Inaugural intake, Class of 2023

Name of Official State Member Federation Referee or Assistant
Zijad Ahmetovic Football QLD Referee
Vicky Clark Football QLD Assistant Referee
Nick Elagin Football SA Assistant Referee
Mackenzie Janes Football QLD Referee
Alexis Johnson Football NSW Assistant Referee
Page Malau-Aduli Football QLD Referee
Paula Malau-Aduli Football QLD Assistant Referee
Astro Sakalis Football VIC Assistant Referee
Nathan Shakespear Capital Football Referee
William Samsa Football VIC Assistant Referee
Courtney Van Diesen Football VIC Referee
Declan Woods Capital Football Referee

CLICK HERE to view the FARA Member Federation Information Pack.

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Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Federal Budget commits $97 million investment for sport programs

The 2024-25 Federal Budget, which was released on Tuesday night, includes more than $97 million over two years to the ASC to extend Sporting Schools, the Local Sporting Champions, and Local Para Champions programs, and participation funding to help more Australians get active.

This two-year extension runs until 30 June 2026 and helps kids of all different sports afford an opportunity to play at a local level if they come from and under privileged background.

Football Australia is a part of the Sporting Schools program, with each state offering participation Officers and local clubs that are ready to implement in-school and after-school programs for students of ages up to Year 8, plus all abilities programs.

Football Australia use this program to link local football clubs with schools to facilitate an ongoing relationship and provide further opportunity for students to continue their football journey outside of school, whether that be MiniRoos Kick Off, MiniRoos Club or Junior Football.

More than 24,000 young Australians will be supported with the Local Sporting Champions (LSC) and Local Para Champions (LSP) grants programs continuing for a further two years.

These are fantastic programs that have supported Australia’s best athletes including many Matildas like Courtney Nevin, Cortnee Vine, Alex Chidiac, Teagan Micah and Clare Hunt.

World Cup veteran’s Caitlin Foord and Ellie Carpenter also rose to success with assistance from the LSC program throughout their junior careers.

Australian Sports Commission CEO Kieren Perkins OAM mentions the importance of this investment to continue critical national sporting programs.

“Once again, I want to thank Minister Wells and the Australian Government for their continued support and investment in Australian sport,” Perkins said in a statement.

“This funding extends critical sport participation programs like the Participation Grant program and Sporting Schools which provides free and fun sporting opportunities to more than two million students each year.

“This follows last week’s announcement of $249.7 million to upgrade the AIS Campus to ensure our athletes have access to the world’s best testing and training facilities, and accommodation ahead of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

This is a fantastic initiative that will benefit football amongst other sports and has a history of helping kids of all skill levels play in their respective sport.

The Federal Budget have put in almost $350 to improve sport, mostly around the 2032 Olympic Games but it is great to see some investment in the world game after the huge success of the Women’s World Cup last year.

The biggest Female Football Week to date draws to a close

Female Football week is at its climax across the country with each respective state firmly involved in what has been a monumental year of growth and perseverance with one of the hottest topics amongst the sporting plethora across the nation.

Symbolising the significant strides in which female football has made down under, off the back of its maiden World Cup hosting tenure.

Football Queensland throughout the grand occasion were busy shining a spotlight upon the continuous growth of participation, encouraging women of all ages to become involved and immersed within the global game.

Football Victoria – Commentary

Football Victoria (FV) celebrated women’s football week in style.

Round 8 of the National Premier League Women’s (NPLW) competition within Victoria was unique throughout its coverage, with every match throughout the round featuring a female commentator.

A monumental feat spearheaded by the FV Commentary team, this was the first time an all female commentary round was executed.

Football Queensland

FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci disclosed his appreciation for the momentous occasion via the FQ website.

“While celebrations like FFW serve as a crucial milestone in FQ’s journey towards achieving 50/50 gender parity by 2027 and helps to further reinforce our commitment to enhancing accessibility and inclusivity, our support is not confined to this week, as we remain dedicated to prioritising our female football community year-round.”

Football Queensland – Award Ceremony

Paying homage to Referees, Club Volunteers, Players and Community Champions of the year was conducted through awards up for grabs.

FQ showcased an award ceremony towards multiple facets of football throughout the state.

A nice incentive dedicated to the recognition and appraisal of the hard work undertaken by different areas of football.

The Female Football Week club of the year was awarded to Central Football Club following their extraordinary contribution to female football within Queensland.

Displayed throughout the clubs commitment to female football, the club are fully dedicated to the advancement of women’s football.

Harvesting a fostering environment throughout the club, alongside the nourishment of young promising female footballers has been symbolised by FQ.

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