Football Australia’s new initiative to boost female representation in coaching


In what comes as a major step towards the growth of female representation, Football Australia have launched a new initiative aimed at addressing the recruitment, development, and retention of women in coaching.

The push for women in the role has received little attention over the past decades and has subsequently left the space stagnant and disproportionately low in representative numbers.

While Australian women across the sporting landscape have continued to achieve sustained success on the field – as witnessed at the recent Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – the representation of female coaches at all levels of the game is minimal.

The High Performance Coaching Initiative looks to move beyond the well documented barriers, by taking on an evidence-based approach to how women coaches in football will be supported, engaged with, developed, and retained to increase the numbers in high performance.

The initiative directly reflects the Leadership and Development Pillar of the Legacy ’23 plan in that it encourages a greater number of women to participate in the game at all levels.

Football Australia will work via a three-phase approach with coaches currently in high performance football, particularly those who have demonstrated potential to work in high performance football and elite players looking to transition to coaching roles.

Rae Dower, one of the initiative’s architects, is the Women’s Technical Advisor for Football Australia and the Head Coach for the Women’s U17s. She expressed her delight at seeing the initiative come to fruition at such a pivotal time in women’s football.

“This is an exciting period for women coaching in Australian football,” she said.

“We have a real opportunity to spark change in how we consult and deliver programs and address the barriers that have long been identified.

“It is essential that we finally allow women coaches to articulate what their reality is and express what they require to acquire skills, obtain knowledge and experience to work in high performance football.

“We want to move beyond the barriers and enable women coaches to have the necessary development opportunities to reach their own potential.”

In an Australian football first, over 150 women coaches at various levels will partake in a comprehensive study to better understand their coaching landscape in the first phase of the Initiative.

Phase 2 and Phase 3 will see findings of the study underpin the design of a pilot program tailored to facilitate the development and progression of the participants.

Heather Garriock, Vice President of Football Coaches Australia, acknowledged the importance of the initiative’s arrival.

“Since our inception, FCA has worked hard to gather extensive knowledge of the barriers and challenges experienced by women in coaching,” she said.

“We regularly hear commentary from women who coach that they aspire to work in environments where ‘coaches are coaches’ and ‘football is football’, with equal opportunities to coach all genders, at all levels. This won’t be achieved until there are women coaching in the high performance and professional landscapes of men’s football.

“This will require the development of integrated culture and leadership education programs, designed to teach coaches, technical directors and those in football management and administrative roles about how best to engage, develop, support, and retain women in coaching roles.

“Football Australia’s Coach Education Strategic Plan for FIFA Legacy ’23 presents an outstanding opportunity to make this a reality in Australian football, and FCA offers its full support to the initiative.”

Football Victoria announce 2021 refund policy

Football Victoria has announced a refund policy that will provide over $1.75 million of refunds to members across the state.

The refunds are based on a formula that take into account the 2021 Football Victoria “No Season” Refund multiplied by the percentage of rounds that were not played.

Football Victoria’s refund policy allocates refunds on both a per player and team basis, with the total refunds being returned to clubs and players totalling in excess of $1.75 million.

Player refunds will be processed via clubs.

The Football Victoria statement announcing the refund policy read:

“Most of our community will recall from both the 2020 and preliminary 2021 policies, that a cost apportionment model is used to generate the relevant refunds for each competition. It is really important to note that FV’s costs are not linear to the season, with an overwhelming proportion of the work to provide football competitions completed prior to the season’s commencement. This is reflected in the preliminary version of the 2021 Fee Refund Policy released pre-season, which contained relevant refunds for a ‘no-season scenario’.

“Based on this cost apportionment model only, no refunds would be payable at this stage of the season. However, FV is acutely aware of the financial impacts to the football ecosystem and its stakeholders. Through this updated policy, we have made a strong commitment to supporting our Clubs and players, at a time when they need it most.

“As a result, we have developed a formula, as below, to deliver funds back to both Clubs and players, to support your football journey and a return to football in 2022. We have applied cost apportionment principles, as represented through the ‘no season’ refund percentages, as well as the percentage of rounds unable to be completed for each competition.”

The announcement also confirmed that Football Victoria would be establishing principles within the Rules of Competition that are better equipped to deal with the consequences of cancelled or partially completed seasons.

“We cannot help but reflect on where our game could have been, if not for the back-to-back season interruptions in 2020 and 2021. While the 2021 season cancellations across the state didn’t come as a surprise to many, we know it doesn’t make it any easier to accept, including what this means for promotion, relegation and awarding champions,” the statement reads.

“In advance of the 2022 season, the Board is committed to ensuring the Rules of Competition reflect a clear set of principles in the event of any future interrupted or incomplete seasons.

“Many Clubs have reinforced a strong desire to play football in any format, when it is safe to do so. The call of the pitch is strong and we will be working with Clubs to provide football in all ways, at venues across the state in spring and summer. We look forward to sharing more information on this shortly when we have direction from the Victorian Government.”

You can access the refund policy HERE.

Sydney FC members to pick and choose membership packs in 2021/22

Sydney FC has introduced an Aussie-first membership platform, with members to gain more control over the customisation of their membership packs.

Sydney FC has introduced an Australian-first membership platform, with members to gain more control over the customisation of their membership packs.

The club and its membership products provider, TPF Sports, will greatly increase member satisfaction and reduce environmental impact. Sydney FC members who sign up for the 2021/22 season will have credits put onto their accounts, allowing them to choose from a variety of Membership card designs and, depending on their package, a variety of personalised items.

Each merchandising item may be customised with different colours and names, allowing for unique bundles based on age, gender, product choice, artwork style, personalisation, years of tender, and a variety of other factors.

Sydney FC Chief Executive Officer Danny Townsend hailed the announcement as a big step forward for how the club engages with its members.

“Our new eMber+ platform is a huge step forward and once again Sydney FC is proud to be leading the way in Member engagement,” he said via a club statement,” he said.

“Gone are the days of receiving the same standard Membership pack as everyone else.

“Now you can tailor your package to suit your preferences and how you wish to support the Sky Blues.

“There’s a fantastic range of customisable merchandise available and I know I’m looking forward to my delivery in the coming weeks.”

TPF Sports Director Craig Dyer explains the move is a worldwide first and one of the benefits of the move would be the reduced environmental impact of membership packs, thanks largely in part to the fact that members will only receive merchandise they actually want.

“There are iterations of loyalty and rewards platforms globally,” he said.

“But to the best of our knowledge from 18 to 20 months of development and research, we believe this is the first-ever platform of its kind and certainly the first for sport and membership-based programs.

“Our vision in developing the platform is to revolutionise the long-standing pre-determined assignment of resources to Members by assigning credit. This allows them to redeem merchandise and entitlements they deem relevant to them.

“This platform also has a strong environmental slant, as we are only supplying merchandise and delivering this merchandise to Members who want to redeem it.

“Additionally, almost every product is on-demand, meaning we receive Members’ selection based on products and artwork, print them with selected artwork and personalisation, pick, pack and fulfil directly to the Members door.”

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