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Football Victoria looking to grow women’s football into the future

In a statement released on Monday, Football Victoria released a new report into the structure of Women and Girls’ football for the future.

The report is aimed at improving the gender balance in Victorian football, with the overall goal of a 50/50 balance by 2027.

The statement can be found below in full.

Football Victoria (FV) today released its independent final report following a comprehensive review into the Women and Girls’ competition structure for football in Victoria.

Tasked with delivering an enhanced football experience for all senior and junior players and a clear vision for the game, the review sought to identify the optimal structure for Women and Girls’ football in the state. It seeks to grow participation, provide the best pathways for junior development and identification and enhance the overall involvement of women and girls in the world game.

Endorsed by the FV Board, the final report covers key areas of improvement for the Women and Girls’ competitions and outlines 22 key recommendations. Its focus areas are football’s culture, players, referees, clubs, coaches, Government and other external stakeholders.

The recommendations are aligned to FV’s overall strategic direction and commitment to growing investment in Women and Girls’ football as we pursue our journey towards a 50:50 gender balance by 2027. Some of the report’s key recommendations include:

  1. Developing a bespoke Victorian Women and Girls’ overarching Football Strategy;
  2. Introducing single age-group competitions (e.g. separate U13s and U14s age-groups rather than current U13-14 combined age group);
  3. A proposed overhaul of Victoria’s Women’s Football Competition Structure;
  4. Methods to develop, retain and grow the number of women and girls in refereeing roles;
  5. Development of a standardised club induction toolkit and process outlining the roles, responsibilities and gender equity expectations for clubs, players, coaches and parents; and
  6. Further driving the push at local and state government levels for more “female friendly” facilities

The Football Competition Review was conducted by independent sports consultancy firm Sports Business Partners (SBP), who worked in collaboration with FV to undertake a comprehensive stakeholder engagement process led by a dedicated and independent Review Steering Committee.

The review’s Steering Committee comprised 26 dedicated and experienced representatives from all levels of the game and was chaired by the President of Women Sport Australia, Carol Fox. Ms. Fox expressed her sincere gratitude for the time and effort contributed by all Steering Committee members.

“The team comprised many talented individuals who brought wide-ranging expertise and knowledge from a variety of backgrounds,” Ms Fox said.

“The team was provided with the opportunity to ensure that all the key themes were discussed, to review areas that were operating well and identify key areas requiring change. It was a privilege to chair this group of experts,” she said.

FV Board Director, Sezar Jakupi, was pleased with the depth of stakeholder engagement, the quality of analysis SBP and the final recommendations.

“The review has seen significant engagement with our female participants in the game and has provided clear guidance to Football Victoria on the game’s challenges and how we can work together to overcome them,” Mr. Jakupi said.

The report’s recommendations will now move to the next phase of work to be completed with key stakeholders, with a view of implementing changes over the next few seasons.

The report also concludes the most comprehensive review ever conducted by Football Victoria into both the Men’s & Boys and Women & Girls competitions.

“Victoria is leading Australia with the proactive approach in reviewing and enhancing the competition structures for both women and girls as well as men and boys.  This requires a clear vision for the game and with the completion of both competition reviews, we believe that we have paved the way for the future which will deliver enhanced experiences for all participants as well as improved developmental outcomes.” Peter Filopoulos, FV CEO said.

Caelum Ferrarese is a Senior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on micro policy within Australasia and industry disruptions at grassroots level.

Football West to welcome Jamie Harnwell as new CEO

Football West has announced the appointment of Jamie Harnwell as the new Chief Executive Officer of the organisation.

Football West has announced the appointment of Jamie Harnwell as the new Chief Executive Officer of the organisation.

Harnwell will succeed outgoing CEO James Curtis, who is stepping down after spending almost six years in the role.

Harnwell has been involved with Football West for over 12 years, with his most recent position being Chief Football Officer. Prior to that, he had worked as Acting Chief Operating Officer and Head of Development.

Before joining Football West, Harnwell was the captain of A-Leagues club Perth Glory, as well as the record-appearance holder He made 256 appearances for the Glory men’s squad, where in the process he was involved in back-to-back national championships.

Football West Chairman Sherif Andrawes:

“Football West is delighted to announce Jamie Harnwell as our new CEO,” he said.

“Jamie is a real football person, from his days as a star player at Perth Glory to becoming a top coach in both the A-League Women’s and NPLWA – Men’s competitions. He has transferred the drive and dedication needed to succeed on the pitch to his roles at Football West.

“In addition, Jamie also possesses the necessary skills and vision to drive Football West forward as we continue to grow the sport in WA and we move towards the opening of the State Football Centre and the 2023 Women’s World Cup and beyond.

“Jamie has worked closely with James Curtis for a number of years, and in terms of senior management, it is great that he has been able to ‘learn on the job’ and is well placed to lead the team at Football West over what will be an exciting period for our sport in WA.

“Following an extensive nationwide search and the assessment of several excellent candidates, Jamie proved to be the stand-out. We look forward to him leading Football West in the years ahead and continuing the terrific progress achieved under James Curtis.”

Incoming Football West Chief Executive Officer Jamie Harnwell:

“It is exciting to become CEO of Football West and I’m looking forward to the challenge,” he said.

“We are the biggest team sport in the country in terms of participation and we are in a fantastic position. But there is still plenty of potential for further growth, especially here in WA.

“It has been terrific to work with James Curtis and gain invaluable experience, now I am ready to put my own stamp on the position.”

Harnwell will work together with Curtis until the latter departs from Football West on March 31, 2022.

Sky Sports extends rights to NIFL

The Northern Ireland Football League has announced that Sky Sports will be the exclusive broadcaster of Football in the region once again.

The Northern Ireland Football League has announced that Sky Sports will once again be the exclusive broadcaster of top-flight football in the region for the next three years.

The Irish League has had a long-lasting partnership with Sky over the years and the agreement will see the relationship in place until the end of the 2024/25 season.

The new agreement will see four Danske Bank Premiership fixtures and the BetMcLean League Cup final broadcast live across the UK & Ireland each season.

Northern Ireland Football Chief Executive, Gerard Lawlor:

“We sincerely thank Sky Sports for their continued backing of our game and we look forward to showcasing some of the best NI Football League matches together over the next three seasons,” he said.

“To continue to have the invaluable support of such a high-profile broadcaster shows how far our league has progressed in recent years as we bring our game to an increasing audience of loyal fans.

“The NI Football League brand is continuing to grow outside of the confines of Northern Ireland, and through Sky Sports, many football fans are now becoming more familiar with the rich history of our clubs and as well as some of the household names that have played in the Irish League.”

Sky Sports Director of Football, Gary Hughes:

“As a long-term partner to the Northern Ireland Football League, we’re delighted to extend Sky Sports’ support of the league and ensure that its entertaining action continues to be available to our customers,” he said.

“Sky Sports customers will be able to enjoy the Northern Ireland Football league alongside our ever-expanding football offering in the UK & Ireland which includes over 500 live games in 2022, from the Premier League, EFL, Scottish Premiership and FA Women’s Super League as well as international action in the form of World Cup Qualifiers, and this month’s Africa Cup of Nations – placing Sky Sports as the home of live football.”

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