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.”

Four inductees enter Football Australia Hall of Fame

The national governing body for the sport has inducted four legends of Australian football into the Football Australia Hall of Fame.

Football Australia has inducted four legends of Australian football into the Football Australia Hall of Fame at the Socceroos’ FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifier in Melbourne on Thursday.

Commonwealth Bank Matildas greats Kate Gill and Heather Garriock, Socceroos legend Mark Schwarzer, and Joseph (Joe) Huxley Honeysett – a name synonymous with the establishment of football in Tasmania – were inducted into the esteemed list of Australian football contributors.

Gill, Garriock, Schwarzer, and Huxley Honeysett were able to be inducted into the Football Australia Hall of Fame via a public process, with the nominees then considered by a panel of Australian football historians.

The panel of historians provided their recommendations to the Football Australia Board, with Football Australia’s Directors subsequently ratifying each person’s elevation into the Football Australia Hall of Fame.

Football Australia Chair Chris Nikou was honoured to induct Heather Garriock, Kate Gill, Mark Schwarzer, and Joseph Huxley Honeysett into the Football Australia Hall of Fame at the match.

“The Football Australia Hall of Fame celebrates legends, and the people behind the legends, in our game,” Nikou said.

“Through their respective inductions into the Football Australia Hall of Fame – Kate, Heather, Mark, and Joe will forever be recognised as greats of Australian football – people that on and off the pitch showed their class and toiled for the sport to reach new heights.”

Football Australia Chief Executive Officer James Johnson sees the Football Australia Hall of Fame, launched in 1999 when the first inductions were made, as a list of great Australian football people.

“The Football Australia Hall of Fame features many icons of our sport – people that have represented Australia with aplomb domestically and internationally, have fought for the advancement of our sport, and have laid the foundations for future generations to grow the world game on Australian soil,” Johnson said.

“We warmly congratulate Joe, Mark, Heather, and Kate on their respective inductions – all are worthy of their position amongst the game’s greats, and I hope Mark, Heather, and Kate take great pride in their acknowledgement. Equally, I trust that Joe, who is being acknowledged posthumously, would have been thrilled to be inducted. The Huxley Honeysett name is now forever inscribed in Australian football’s history.”

The inductions of Gill, Garriock, Schwarzer, and Huxley Honeysett mark the first additions to the Football Australia Hall of Fame since Harry Kewell, Leigh Wardell, Branko Culina, and Sir Frank Lowy in 2019.

Despite the recent induction occurring in 2022, the quartet enter the Hall of Fame as 2021 inductees.

Another process will be held throughout 2022, as Football Australia seeks to recognise more people that have made an immense contribution to the Australian game.

Acun Medya Group secures Hull City takeover

EFL Championship side Hull City AFC has been purchased by Turkish production company Acun Medya Group, headed by Acun Ilicali.

EFL Championship side Hull City AFC has been purchased by Turkish production company Acun Medya Group, for a fee in the reported region of $37 million AUD.

Acun Ilicali, a 52-year-old businessman and owner of Acun Medya Group, was introduced to fans at the MKM Stadium prior to the club’s 2-0 win at home over Blackburn Rovers.

The takeover brings the controversial ownership of the Allam family to an end, much to the delight of fans after a roller coaster 11 years in charge.

Despite overseeing two promotions to the Premier League, an FA Cup Final and Hull’s first-ever foray into a European competition through the UEFA Europa League in 2014, the Allam family became increasingly unpopular with the fans.

The unpopularity of the Allam family is due to many different reasons, however it all started when the family proposed a name change to ‘Hull Tigers’ back in 2013. The move was ultimately blocked by authorities a year later, which frustrated the Allams and they then put the club up for sale, straining the relationship with fans and seeing a decline in attendances at home fixtures.

The new ownership will look to win back supporters and turn the negative tide.

Acun Medya Group Owner, Acun Ilicali:

“I am happy that I have fulfilled one of my biggest dreams. We are starting a beautiful journey with Hull City. We have many big dreams and goals to achieve together with our fans,” he said.

Outgoing Vice-Chairman Ehab Allam:

“During our tenure, we have worked hard to create a sustainable model and successful academy set-up, giving the club the foundations it needs for the future,” he said.

“There have been lots of ups and downs over the last 11 years or so, but we will take some very fond memories with us… We have taken a very business-led approach to running the club and I truly hope Acun can rebuild the relationship with the fanbase and also bring back the success on the pitch that fans crave and deserve.”

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