Football Australia launches RAP as next step on Reconciliation journey

Football Australia has announced its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) as part of its continued commitment to engaging with Indigenous communities.

Through the well-established three core pillars of Relationships, Respect and Opportunities, the Reconciliation Australia-endorsed RAP sets out a framework that demonstrates football’s long-term commitment to action that strengthens relationships with First Nations peoples and guides efforts towards reconciliation awareness, growth, and change.

The sport’s first national Reflect RAP has been developed in collaboration with the National Indigenous Advisory Group (NIAG), the Football Australia RAP Working Group and internal and external stakeholders.

NIAG Co-chair Jade North expressed his pride with the sport taking its next steps with a roadmap and reconciliation goals.

“I am greatly encouraged by the decisive action Football Australia is taking towards meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous people,” North said.

“There are countless individuals and organisations who have commenced this work long before the national body and I wish to acknowledge this work as it has contributed to bring and keep our mob in the game.

“Now as Australian football are bringing full focus into this work, this action plan is just the first step of many to connect to community and embed equity into the delivery and function of football more broadly.

“Whilst foundational at a Reflect stage, this strategy will be key in guiding the organisation to progress strongly and confidently under the leadership of the National Indigenous Advisory Group and more members of the community as the journey progresses.”

Football Australia CEO James Johnson outlined the release of a national RAP was another step for the sport in creating a welcoming environment for the participation of Indigenous Australians.

“Football Australia is incredibly proud to be launching our first Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan,” Johnson said.

“As Australia’s largest club-based participation sport, with two million participants and over 200 different cultures, Australian football understands and welcomes the integral role we can play in our nation’s reconciliation journey.

“Through the process of developing this Reflect RAP, we have had an opportunity to reflect on the significant contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to our game and Australian society more broadly.

“We are going beyond reflection alone and have pledged to undertake measurable tasks that directly and indirectly contribute positively to address disparities between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians.

“As with the XI Principles, this RAP will be embedded into the core of our sport and business to ensure the recognition, cultural safety and advancement of the participation of First Nations people in football.”

The key commitments of action in the Reflect RAP include:

  • Building internal capacity for decision making through community-centred guidance from Football Australia’s National Indigenous Advisory Group
  • Establish and strengthen mutually beneficial relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders and organisations.
  • Implementing best practice strategies to showcase First Nations Football Community and the pioneers of the game
  • Implement strategies that increase understanding, value and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories, knowledge and rights through cultural learning. across Football Australia and supporting personnel
  • Creating and implementing strategies to improve employment outcomes by increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recruitment, retention and professional development.
  • Increase more opportunities for Indigenous procurement and partnerships

NIAG member and Football Australia’s Engagement Lead, Courtney Hagen, added:

“As Australia’s largest club-based participation sport, with two million participants and over 200 different cultures, Australian football understands and welcomes the integral role we can play in our nation’s reconciliation journey.

“Pursuing opportunities and creating initiatives that are aligned with Indigenous priorities and interests is pivotal and should be one that evolves in line with First Nations peoples.”

2023 FIFA review underlines incredible Women’s World Cup impact

FIFA has released their ‘2023 Financials in Review’ statement which highlights the incredible financial and cultural impact of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup heavily contributed to FIFA’s television broadcasting success with the body’s revenue total reaching AU$408.4 mil. The coverage was exceptional with the tournament being shown in over 200 territories by 130 broadcasters and in all other markets thanks to the FIFA+ platform. In order to provide for the ever-growing popularity of the women’s game, FIFA has adapted its media rights sales strategy by taking a more comprehensive and detailed approach to the market.

The skyrocketing television audiences have been replicated on FIFA’s digital platforms. Traffic in the tournament surpassed the entirety of the 2019 tournament within 12 days, welcoming 22 million unique users, with an average of 2.4 million users visiting FIFA Women’s World Cup channels daily.

The biggest source of income was the sale of marketing rights from commercial partnerships, which delivered AU$697 million, more than 101% over budget. FIFA successfully renewed record long-term partnerships with Hyundai/Kia, Qatar Airways and Visa to cover the Women’s World Cup and 2026 Men’s World Cup. A total of 30 sponsors signed up for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, up from 22 in the 2019 edition and they were duly rewarded for that.

Hospitality rights and ticketing sales for the FIFA Women’s World Cup amounted to AU$65.7 million, another record that the tournament smashed.

FIFA benefited from a strong demand for ticket and hospitality packages for this unique tournament, which also set a new Women’s World Cup record with nearly two million tickets sold, smashing their target of 1.5 million that was set in 2019 after the previous edition.

The average attendance rate across the tournament’s 64 matches was 87% with the highest crowd being 75,784 fans packed into a sold-out Stadium Australia to watch the Spain-England final.

Football Australia and the subsequent State federations all have the same focus in terms of making sure they successfully leverage the home World Cup and surpass their KPI’s.

In Football Australia’s One Football Framework, it states that they want to ‘reshape the game for Women and Girls’ which will start by aligning their digital and data strategies to be more focused on women which is similar to FIFA’s successful approach.

Recently the ‘Play our way’ program shows the government’s commitment with them providing $200 million in grants to improve sporting facilities for women and girls around Australia in the hopes to create a solid base for future growth.

The Legacy ’23 investments into Football that will amount to AU$296 million, will be key in maintaining growth and talent development as the A-Leagues sort out issues with professionalism and club finances that are affecting both the Men’s and Women’s game.

The success of the recent u20’s Young Matildas Asian Cup can’t be underestimated either in terms of the bright future this country is showing. A third place finish and bronze medal was the best ever finish from a Young Matildas side in the competition, with the squad featuring four players under the age of 18, one of the youngest in the competition.

These statistics by FIFA show that women’s football is experiencing a surge of interest and recognition, and the framework set out by Football Australia can ensure that is success is sustained long-term and positively affects participation at grassroots level.

CUPRA and Football Australia ties remain strong

Pioneering electronic car brand CUPRA will remain Football Australia’s official automotive partner after a strong two-year collaboration.

As part of the deal, the Spain-based car company will remain the official car of the Subway Socceroos and Commbank Matildas.

The re-signing highlights the forward trajectory Football Australia is experiencing across all levels, led largely by its work in women’s and grassroots football over the past 12 months.

When CUPRA began its association with Football Australia in 2022, it promised to attract audiences through its own storytelling techniques and commitment to inspiring change; both in automotives and in football.

Whether it’s illuminating its garages and dealerships with the green and gold of Australia’s national teams, or providing immersive commercials that captivates audiences, CUPRA has contributed greatly to Australian football’s recent success.

CUPRA has already begun their new era of collaboration with Football Australia, helping the organisation with its equality and diversity initiatives.

Earlier this month, CUPRA unveiled its Born PROUD vehicle at the Sydney Mardi Gras, featured alongside Football Australia’s float in the parade.

Football Australia CEO James Johnson led the plaudits, speaking via the Football Australia website.

“It’s fantastic to have CUPRA extend their partnership with Football Australia, allowing both parties to build upon the great work that has been achieved both on and off the field over recent years to drive forward Australian football,” Johnson enthused.

“CUPRA as a brand and their workforce have an unwavering passion for football, and it’s their global approach to business which mirrors so perfectly how our national teams engage with world football.

“We are excited to see CUPRA remain part of the Football Australia family and look forward to seeing what we can continue to accomplish as we move forward on this journey together.”

Based in Barcelona, CUPRA is leading the way for the electrification of light vehicles, and its partnership with Australian football has no doubt assisted its entry into the Australian car market.

Prior to 2022, CUPRA had built strong connections with local club FC Barcelona, and this has formed the basis for its strong commercial presence globally.

“Their progressive brand, incredible content and storytelling, plus authentic passion for football, locally and globally, has created a huge impact,” Football Australia Head of Commercial and Events, Tom Rischbieth, added via media release.

“We look forward to continuing this journey together as we look ahead to critical games for our beloved CommBank Matildas, Subway Socceroos and many of our Youth National Teams in 2024.”

CUPRA Australia Director Ben Wilks concluded with his own reflections on the new deal.

“Our renewal caps off two years of strong engagement and outstanding results for not only CUPRA, but for football in Australia as a whole,” he stated via press release.

“We’re delighted to see how that partnership continues to grow as we roll out a range of new initiatives and activations in this pivotal year for Australian football.”

Partnering with an innovative, future-thinking brand such as CUPRA almost fits Football Australia’s vision like a glove.

The success of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup has illuminated young people across the country, which has Football Australia looking towards creating a sustainable future for the sport.

Alongside a brand pioneering sustainability in its own industry, Football Australia’s vision and output will continue to make a recognisable impact on Australian people.

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