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Peter Filopoulos: Hosting the Women’s World Cup will turbocharge the growth of women’s football

Peter Filopoulos FV

Peter Filopoulos, CEO of Football Victoria believes Australia’s successful FIFA Women’s World Cup (WWC) bid will fast-track the sport’s growth and generate much-needed funds for the nation’s footballing infrastructure.

“This is the most exciting football news this country has ever seen, other than qualifying for the 1974 and 2006 World Cups. For me, this is the biggest global event the country has ever won the hosting rights to. It is an enormous opportunity,” Filopoulos says.

The joint Trans-Tasman bid was victorious over Colombia, who was the only other potential host nation after Japan withdrew its bid only weeks before the final decision. The proposed date for the tournament to start is the 10 July 2023, with the final being held on 10 August.

The benefits of hosting one of the world’s largest sporting events cannot be overstated, particularly at a time when Australian football has struggled for investment, infrastructure, and viewership.

“We are growing at such a rapid rate that we have become victims of our own success. There has clearly been chronic underinvestment in the past which has created a facilities gap. In the community we have about 10,000 to 15,000 boys and girls missing out in club land every year,” Filopoulos says.

“We organically grew 24 per cent in 2018 and 29 per cent in 2019. Winning the hosting rights for the WWC will turbocharge growth in the women’s sector and help us to reach 50-50 participation, as well as accelerating the creation of more female-friendly facilities.”

At the top level, Filopoulos has already secured $15 million from the Federal Government to establish a state-of-the-art training facility dubbed the ‘Home of the Matildas’. Football Victoria will conduct a feasibility study with the State Government for further budget considerations for Phase 1 of the project, which is expected to begin in 2021 and be completed in early 2023.

Industry leaders are optimistic that the hosting rights will continue to trigger further investment into football, from the elite level down to the grass roots.

“Female football has evolved dramatically in Australia and it’s going to be fantastic to have the World Cup here. There is an opportunity to leave a real legacy from the national team right down to the grass roots, the coaches, and the facilities,” says Matildas legend and Football Coaches Australia Vice President Heather Garriock.

The Matildas will enter the tournament with a point to prove after suffering a knockout-stage exit in their last World Cup campaign, losing in a penalty shootout to Norway. The 2023 edition however will be more competitive than ever, with the tournament set to expand from 24 to 32 teams.

“We currently have an exceptional core group that have been around the team for a long time. They will be in their peak for the Tokyo Olympics next year and come 2023, it will be our best chance ever to win a medal,” Garriock says.

“We cannot forget the former Matildas who have paved the way for the current generation. I think acknowledging history is really important because it paints a beautiful picture that due to them, we are now able to achieve the dream of hosting a World Cup.”

In addition to fast-tracking the development of Australian football, major international events like the WWC act as a stimulant for a host nation’s economy and public image.
The 2019 WWC, which took place in France, broke records for total viewership and attendance figures. More than 1.12 billion people tuned in over the course of the tournament which included ticket sales of more than 1.16 million.

“The economic impact will be significant. This will start on 10 July and finish on 10 August so fans will come for a minimum of three weeks, but likely longer. In the context of tourism, people will be spending time and money in hotels and in the cities so the domestic economy will benefit greatly,” says Michael Edgley, Director of the Green & Gold Army, Australia’s leading football tour company.

“Another factor is the social benefit that is generated by these types of events. The positive atmosphere creates enormous joy and a fun experience, which is really important for women’s football. Last year’s WWC in France was right up there as one of the best events I’ve worked at.”

A key to securing hosting rights was Australia and New Zealand’s successfully delivery of past international sporting events. From the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games to the 2006 and 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2011 Rugby World Cup, both nations have rich sporting histories and proven track records.

“Australia and New Zealand have developed economies, stadiums, and great event industries whether it is on the creative side or in operations delivery. We’re in a great place to showcase the best of women’s football to the rest of the world,” Edgley says.

“Many Australians don’t yet understand how big this is, over a billion people will watch this, possibly up to two billion. We will be able to showcase Australia, our way of life and promote gender equality. Australia will get its chance to enhance our standing in the world and create a legacy moving forward.”

In total five stadiums across New Zealand will be used, including the tournament opener at Eden Park, Auckland while eight stadiums in Australia will host matches, culminating in the final at Sydney’s 70,000 seat Stadium Australia.

 

Previously published as: How the FIFA Women’s World Cup will secure investment and drive industry growth

Yarraville Glory Football Club boosted by $1.18 million funding grant

Yarraville Glory Football Club have been the beneficiaries of $1.18 million in funding through the West Gate Neighbourhood Fund community grants program.

The program has been delivered by the state government’s West Gate Tunnel Project with Yarraville receiving a lion share of the $6.4 million in funding, which has been divided across 19 different projects.

The club, who is based at McIvor Reserve, will use the funding to develop additional clubrooms, a new training and development room, a flexible floor plan, as well as flood lights and an equipment shed, which will be installed to improve playing and training conditions for participants.

Yarraville Glory Football Club secretary, Vince Cosentino, told Soccerscene that the submission proposal took him 10 hours to write after extensive consultation with local community groups, schools and MPs, as well as the local Greek community, who are heavily associated with the club.

The club submitted the application at the end of February last year after the West Gate Tunnel Project put out expressions of interest for community grants.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Yarraville only received the news they had been successful in their quest in recent weeks, with local MP Melissa Horne visiting the club to make the funding announcement.

Cosentino explained how the club plans to use the grant to benefit not only the club, but the wider community as a whole.

“It’s a real community club, the members and the board have been around for quite a while,” he said.

“What we are looking to do is open up the club a lot more.

“We’ve got a floor space that we are going to renovate to be able to invite more school groups in. We already host little school football matches and tournaments and other things like that, but we want to open it up for more educational experiences and for FV if they want to do any sort of training courses from there.

“Community groups will be able to use the facility more, we’ll upgrade the positioning of the canteen area to be able to cater for that sort of stuff. We are also going to put in some dedicated female changerooms which we don’t have at the moment and female gyms. We will be able to have a much more female friendly environment.”

With a home Women’s World Cup on the way in 2023 Cosentino claims it is vital that the club has accessible facilities for all, as it continues to grow its female presence across the board.

“I think it’s extremely important and it’s the one area that we necessarily haven’t tapped into as a club,” he said.

“Because it is a very ethnic club and it is a little bit more male dominated, we are really trying to pull back women into the game.

“I think this is the third season we have got a senior women’s team and there are really healthy numbers, in the grassroots especially, that’s what we have noticed this year.

“It’s massive, when you think about it it’s 50 percent of the population, it really needs to be tapped into. It’s what I consider a safe sport, it’s not like they are going to get their head knocked off or anything like that and its very community orientated.”

The club continues to work with council around the intricacies of the grant, with alternative renovations possibly made in the future.

“We’re working closely with council at the moment and there’s a lot of good governance structures, the process is as mature as I’ve seen in a very long time,” Cosentino concluded.

Image Credit: Melissa Horne MP

New community club support initiatives to be rolled out by Football Queensland

Football Queensland (FQ) has announced they will introduce a new offering of club support initiatives over the next weeks and months.

Football Queensland (FQ) has announced they will introduce a new offering of club support initiatives over the next weeks and months.

The move will benefit clubs based in the Sunshine State, as Football Queensland continue to focus on ways to strengthen the community, grassroots and volunteers for a more sustainable future.

“Football Queensland is committed to providing increased support to our clubs and dedicated volunteers at all levels of the game and this extensive new set of club support resources will provide practical guidance and support on a range of administration matters,” FQ President Ben Richardson said.

This news follows on from FQ’s announcement last week regarding their upgraded Club Support Hub, which is a go-to destination for club administrators to access important resources, guides and assistance with club processes and procedures.

“Following the launch of Football Queensland’s upgraded Club Support Hub last week, the introduction of FQ’s new club support initiatives will begin with an exciting new volunteer program which will be launched across the state in the coming weeks,” FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci said.

“As the season progresses, FQ will release a range of tailored resources for clubs that include new resources designed to inform clubs about specific operational activities including finance planning and budgeting, running an AGM and understanding the roles and responsibilities of committee members among others.

“Volunteers are critical to club operations, especially at this time of the season, so we are looking forward to providing an additional level of support to Queensland clubs as we strive to make the job easier for all volunteers.

“The development of additional club resources aligns with FQ’s commitment to providing high levels of customer service through the implementation of new technology and processes, while supporting clubs to deliver high-quality participation experiences in line with our Strategic Plan.

“We are excited to continue providing our clubs and volunteers across Queensland with unprecedented levels of support through the ongoing development of our Club Support Hub and the release of high-quality resources to strengthen our clubs at every level of the game.”

You can find the Club Support Hub here.

Football Australia announces major partnership with Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Football Australia and Commonwealth Bank Australia have announced a major partnership, which will make the Commonwealth Bank the largest investor in women’s football in Australia.

The CBA will become the official naming rights partner of the Matildas and will also make it the official bank of the Matildas, Junior Matildas, Young Matildas and Socceroos.

The partnership is for an initial four-year term with Football Australia’s release stating that the agreement will, “inject millions of dollars into elite women’s football and grassroots initiatives around the country.”

Commencing from August 2021, the partnership between CBA and Football Australia will include but is not limited to:

  • Official Naming Rights Partner of the Matildas, Junior Matildas and Young Matildas
  • Official Bank of the Matildas, Junior Matildas and Young Matildas
  • Official Partner the Female Football Awards
  • Official Naming Rights Partner of Matildas Fan Days
  • Official Partner and Bank of the Socceroos
  • Official Partner of the MiniRoos

Football Australia CEO, James Johnson, said the partnership was a crucial milestone ahead of a busy upcoming international schedule.

“We’re delighted to partner with Commonwealth Bank and see this as an exciting synergy of two of Australia’s great contemporary brands,” he said.

“We believe firmly in anchoring the growth of our sport in women’s football, the strength of our diverse community, promoting inclusivity in Australian football and enhancing the reputation of our national teams, both the Matildas and Socceroos as we embark on an incredibly busy international schedule over the next four years.

“We are thrilled that these core themes of our new 15-year vision and strategic agenda, which are so deeply embedded within our XI Principles for the future of Australian football, are also extremely important to Commonwealth Bank.

“This partnership is a wonderful representation of our bold new vision for the sport coming to life and the new trajectory of Australian football.

“We are proud to welcome Commonwealth Bank, one of Australia’s most iconic companies, to the football family as we embark, together, on this exciting journey of transformation towards becoming the centre of women’s football in the Asia-Pacific.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the enormous support that Westfield has and continues to provide to women’s football in Australia.

“Westfield’s commitment, leadership and significant investment in the game over 13 years has helped to create the current generation of champions and for that we will always be grateful. We continue to work with Westfield and indeed are excited about the Westfield Matildas taking on the Netherlands tonight.”

Football Australia Head of Women’s Football, Women’s World Cup Legacy & Inclusion, Sarah Walsh highlighted the significance of the ‘female-focused’ nature of the agreement.

“Commonwealth Bank’s female-focused investment will provide greater awareness of, and access to, women’s football,” she said

“We want to ensure every boy and girl has a great experience in the game they love and remain focused on building a legacy for our sport by providing girls with a pathway and inspiring them to play elite football.

“Only three months ago, Commonwealth Bank was ranked as Australia’s strongest brand, and as both an ex-player and administrator in the game, it is a truly proud moment to have such a significant organisation dedicating so much resource to our game.”

Commonwealth Bank CEO, Matt Comyn, said, the CBA was delighted to be add women’s football to its portfolio of partnerships, saying that in conjunction with the CBA’s partnership with women’s cricket, the bank was leading the way in supporting positive sporting outcomes for Australian women.

“Women’s football and women’s cricket are showing young Australian women they can achieve great things on the world stage,” he said.

“We look forward to working with Football Australia to ensure every girl and boy playing in a community club with a goal to play at an elite level has the same access and support to achieve their dream.

“The Matildas have been one of the great success stories of Australian sport in recent years as the women’s game has grown in stature and importance at home and around the globe.

“Many players are now in some of the best leagues in the world which has helped put Australian football on the map.

“We are delighted to partner with Football Australia in not only supporting the Matildas in their quest for World Cup glory, but equally as important, supporting the future growth and development of the game across all levels.”

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