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Indigenous Football Week to focus on next level gender equality in the game

The sixth annual Indigenous Football Week 2021 will unlock the potential of Indigenous girls and women and improve gender equality.

The sixth annual Indigenous Football Week 2021 (IFW21) will be held on November 22 to 27. A week-long program of events will shine a spotlight on the power of football to unlock the potential of Indigenous girls and women and improve gender equality, from grassroots to elite.

IFW21 is a John Moriarty Football (JMF) initiative in partnership with Australian Professional Leagues (A-League), Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), Football Coaches Australia (FCA), SBS, NITV, and FOX Sports.

The week will see some of football’s best take a deep dive into gender equality issues of women in football leadership and specific intersectional challenges and opportunities in football for Indigenous girls and women.

Events for IFW21 will include community gala days across JMF hubs in NT, Queensland and NSW, a Facebook Live interview series, an expert online panel, an online workshop for young female footballers throughout the country, and special announcements across the week.

IFW21 will feature a line-up of top Australian football experts, identities and IFW21 Ambassadors, including:

  • Marra woman Shadeene (Shay) Evans – IFW21 Ambassador, JMF Inaugural Scholar, Young Matilda and Adelaide United A-League Women player
  • Yorta Yorta/Wiradjuri woman Jada Whyman – IFW21 Ambassador, JMF Scholarship Mentor, Matilda and Sydney FC A-League Women player
  • Wiradjuri woman Tiffany Stanley – IFW21 Ambassador and JMF Dubbo Community Coach
  • Wurumungu man Patrick Coleman – IFW21 Ambassador and JMF Tennant Creek Community Coach
  • Kanulu/Gangulu woman Allira Toby – Canberra United A-League Women player
  • Craig Foster AM – former Socceroo, football analyst, JMF Board Member and human rights activist
  • Tal Karp – Olympian, former Matilda and former Melbourne Victory Women captain
  • Kathryn Gill – Former Matildas Captain and Co-CEO of Professional Footballers Association
  • Glenn Warry – CEO of Football Coaches Australia
  • Leah Blayney – Head Coach of the Future Matildas and Young Matildas

John Moriarty AM, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of JMF and the first Indigenous footballer selected for Australia, said:

“Indigenous Football Week is about the power of football to create change for good. It is a chance to bring the football community together to support inclusion, cultural recognition and diversity.”

“Women’s and girl’s football is the fastest growing area of Australian football and we are certainly seeing this in JMF.

“JMF is committed to taking a leadership role on gender equality. Currently, 50 percent of our participants are girls, 40 percent of our coaches are female, 75 percent of our board are women, and we are always striving for improvement and creating best practice for gender and social equality in football.”

Outgoing inaugural FA Women’s Football Council Chair and Co-Chair of JMF, Ros Moriarty said:

“Over the past months we’ve undertaken a significant gender equality project to build on our own organisation’s best practice when it comes to diversity, equality and inclusion. The entire JMF team has collaborated on this project. We commissioned former Matilda, Olympian and leading sport and innovation strategy expert, Tal Karp, to help us create diversity tools and commitments that will be embedded into business as usual at JMF.”

Based on a three-level approach, JMF is implementing:

  1. A holistic training and development program to fast track more women into leadership.
  2. Flexible, safe and supportive work environments to drive equal opportunity for mothers.
  3. Awareness and culturally safe channels for proactive gender equality communications and respect.

According to Football Coaches Australia, only three percent of all accredited female football coaches have obtained a C Licence or above. IFW21 Ambassador and JMF Dubbo Community Coach and Wiradjuri woman, Tiffany Stanley, is among a very small cohort of Indigenous female football coaches to obtain a C Licence.

“Being a female player and coach, I see how differently women in football get treated. I believe it is time we come together as a nation to find better solutions to support women in the game and become leaders and role models for our upcoming generations,” Ms Stanley said.

PFA Co-Chief Executive Kathryn Gill said the PFA remains a proud partner of JMF and Indigenous Football Week.

“Indigenous players have made a rich contribution to our sport, from Charlie Perkins to John Moriarty and Karen Menzies. However, there remains much more to be done to better engage and increase access for Indigenous communities to our beautiful game,” she said.

“We now have many visible Indigenous role models, from Tate Russell to Lydia Williams and Jada Whyman, and by identifying intersectional barriers and solutions, we will hopefully ensure our game’s structures encourage more stars to emerge from communities into the A-Leagues and National Teams.”

IFW21 partner Football Coaches Australia CEO Glenn Warry says it is imperative that we build a world-class coaching culture within Australia to be more inclusive of all coaches developing and progressing their coaching careers within community and elite football environments.

“Football Coaches Australia is extremely proud to partner with John Moriarty Football to celebrate Indigenous Football Week 2021 (IFW21), 22-27 November, and its theme of ‘gender equality in football’,” he said.

“Since its inception FCA’s values, policies, strategies and programs have demonstrated that our Association fully supports working with the football community and stakeholders to support inclusion, cultural recognition and diversity. Indigenous coaching role models and ‘heroes’ such as Tanya Oxtoby, provide a career pathway goal for our upcoming JMF women coaching stars of the future.”

The A-Leagues celebrates IFW21 and is a proud partner of JMF. A-Leagues Managing Director Danny Townsend commented:

“Football is the most inclusive sport, with the most diverse fanbase in Australia and we are committed to providing culturally safe and inclusive Leagues for our professional footballers. Representation of Indigenous communities in football is increasing, from grassroots to the A-Leagues, and we fully support programs and activities that increase engagement and access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

“We celebrate the Indigenous A-League / women footballers who are emerging as the future stars of our Leagues, including the IFW21 Ambassadors, and we remain committed to creating, supporting and increasing player pathways for First Nations women to the A-Leagues.”

For more information visit www.indigenousfootballweek.org.au.

Liam Watson is a Senior Journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on international football policy, industry matters and industry 4.0

Football Queensland’s new FQ Academy to go statewide in 2022

FQ

Football Queensland (FQ) have announced the launch of their brand-new FQ Academy, which is set to be unveiled across the state next year.

The purpose of the FQ Academy is to help provide a clearer development pathway from community football to Australia’s national teams and professional leagues for Queensland footballers aged seven to 17.

FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci outlined the player-focused FQ Academy will expand and unify FQ’s range of advanced development and pathway programs under a single banner.

“The FQ Academy consolidates the nine individual programs currently delivered by Football Queensland across eight centres around the state and binds them together behind a common purpose and shared vision for the game,” Cavallucci said.

“All of the junior players involved in FQ’s Regional TSP and SAP programs will now form part of the top tier of the FQ Academy.

“Players who need more development time will also have the opportunity to take part in the new ‘Development’ tier, which broadens opportunities for players and extends talent identification throughout Queensland.

“Both the Academy and Development tiers will include weekly training sessions, holiday clinics, small-sided tournaments, position specific training programs and opportunities to take part in various FQ State Carnivals.”

The FQ Academy will be bolstered by further investment in regional football with the appointments of new Club Development Ambassadors in Wide Bay and Whitsunday Coast.

“We are in the final stages of recruiting additional Club Development Ambassadors who will live and work in the Wide Bay and Whitsunday Coast regions to deliver coach education and drive player development in new FQ Academy centres, further demonstrating FQ’s commitment to regional player development,” Cavallucci said.

“In the Wide Bay, Central Coast, Whitsunday Coast, Northern, and Far North & Gulf regions, Football Queensland will continue to expand and deliver new programs in the FQ Academy.

“Following a 12-month review into SAP across SEQ, clubs within the existing SAP Leagues will transition to new FQ Academy Leagues and participation will be through selected club academies currently rated by FQ’s comprehensive Club Assessment process.

“We now have a more consistent and visible pathway for aspirational footballers which is quality-controlled and accredited by Football Australia and consistent with the advanced Junior NPL structure already in place in SEQ.

“This aligns all Queenslanders with the national development and Talent ID system, linking junior players with the Matildas and Socceroos.”

You can find out more on the FQ Academy here.

Football players, coaches and administrators unite to tackle online abuse ahead of A-Leagues campaigns

AAMI

Australia’s football players, coaches and administrators have committed to tackle online abuse – promising to call out perpetrators, ban offenders from matches, strip club memberships and refer incidents to the police.

The A-Leagues, Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) and Football Coaches Australia (FCA) will crack down on the rise in abuse directed at players and coaches, with a reporting platform established for players and a framework developed for elevating matters to authorities.

Earlier this month, the A-Leagues, PFA and Football Australia joined over 20 other major sporting organisations from around Australia in signing the Online Safety Statement of Commitment to actively support the work of the eSafety Commissioner to help keep all Australians – from grassroots to professional athletes, staff and officials – safe online.

With the Isuzu UTE A-League season kicking off tonight and the A-League / Women campaign on December 3, the zero-tolerance approach reaffirms the ongoing commitment from football to stamp out abuse; a message that will be broadcast in stadium at every A-Leagues match through the season.

APL Managing Director Danny Townsend said:

“We see the diversity of our fan base as one of the core assets of our game. In representing this fan base the A-Leagues are unequivocal in the rejection of online abuse and bullying. There is no place in our game for any action which deliberately causes a person embarrassment or harm.

“We welcome the joint initiative with PFA and FCA and are committed to working with our partners to ensure sporting environments are safe, inclusive, welcoming and respectful, and this includes in the online space.”

PFA Co-Chief Executive Beau Busch said:

“Domestically and internationally, we have witnessed the impact online abuse can have on people. The PFA has a zero-tolerance approach to hate, abuse and discrimination, and we will hold those who engage in it accountable.

“Given the scale of the problem, a shared commitment is required to adequately deal with this growing issue, and we welcome the commitment of FCA and the A-Leagues to tackle this problem together.”

FCA President Phil Moss said:

“Football is a passionate game, however, extending this passion to online abuse and vilification is unacceptable and tackling this issue is a priority of FCA.

“Coaches, referees and players are human beings pursuing the sport they love and doing their best in their respective roles in a high-performance environment. I’ve been on the receiving end as a coach hence why I’m so passionate about this campaign.

“A mutual respect and an agreed code of conduct needs to exist between all football stakeholders, including spectators and online ‘critics’.

“As was introduced in the Premier League in 2020, we support a dedicated reporting system being available for players, coaches, referees and their family members who receive serious online abuse.”

The PFA has established a reporting tool for its members to report abuse and discrimination here.

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