Football Australia 2022 Annual Review details bounce back from COVID

FA Annual Review

The way the Australian football community has responded to the post-COVID-normal life this year has been extraordinary and the 2022 participation figures are to be credited to the efforts of Member Federations, A-League Clubs, Associations, Zones, Community Clubs and the large number of volunteers.

The last three years has been a period of significant changes in football and also in the wider society of Australia and around the world, with 2022 being another year of taking the necessary steps to improving the game in the country by taking transformative measures towards the continued evolution and growth of the game.

In December of last year, Football Australia approved the successful completion of a transaction that saw 33.33% of the economic and voting interests within Australian Professional Leagues (APL) be provided to global private equity firm, Silver Lake.

Silver Lake is a leading global technology investment firm, with combined assets of more than $90 billion under management and committed capital along with a team of professionals based in North America, Europe and Asia.

The investment will propel technology enhancements and innovation targeted at improving the fan experience and driving the development of Australia’s premier professional men’s and women’s football competitions, the A-Leagues, along with providing Football Australia to deliver an exciting agenda for improvement of Australian football, as part of the aspiring 15-year vision.

Financial report:

The period for the year ending on 30 June 2022 (FY2022) saw Football Australia operations gradually saw resuming to the levels of the pre-COVID arrangement, the positive news that the restrictions of international travel and the ability to host the Socceroos match in round 3 of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Asian Qualifiers, and also the Matildas being able to host their matches in preparation for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand 2023 – all were well received.

With the unbundling of the professional leagues officially occurring in July 2021, FY2022 was the first year of Football Australia’s operations with the A-Leagues entirely excluded.

The following results were achieved for Football Australia:

  • Operating deficit before grants and distributions for the
    year ended 30 June 2022 of $2.4 million
  • Grants and distributions for the year ended 30 June 2022
    totalling $1.3 million.
  • Net deficit before discontinued operations and
    extraordinary items for the year ended 30 June 2022 is
    $3.7 million.
  • Net surplus after discontinued operations and
    extraordinary items for the year ended 30 June 2022 is
    $3.6 million.
  • Net Members’ Equity at 30 June 2022 is $21.0 million.

Activity report:

A noteworthy grant revenue is linked to Football Australia’s blueprint of its Legacy ’23 plan to invest in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 – it has allowed the funding of $12 million over two years from the Australian Government.

This has provided the means of opportunity for an increased expenditure into the seniors of Australian Football and the Youth Women’s National Teams, as well as the original vigour of Football Australia’s national Club Development Program (Game Plan).

In relation to the technical development, a web application form was created to implement to assist coaches and technical directors to manage live scouting together with reports on the players potential and performances after the matches, which will support Member Federations technical staff to build resources to allow education for coaches in the future.

The five pillars of Legacy ’23 are participation, facilities, leadership and development, tourism and international engagement as well as high performance.

Participation:

As at 2021:

  • 356,607 female participants
  • 26.67% female participants

Facilities:

As at October 2022, the National Facilities Audit has identified that nationally, 40% of existing football facilities are classified as female friendly.

Leadership & development:

Currently, females represent:

  • 20% of active coaches
  • 13% of active referees
  • 50% of Football Australia Board members

Tourism and international engagement:

In August 2022, the federal government committed funding to the Pacific Women’s Player Pathway Program. This program is aimed at giving elite women footballers from Pacific regions the opportunity to participate in and benefit from Australian high-performance infrastructure, expertise, and competition.

High performance:

In 2022, Football Australia has provided our women’s National Teams as follows:

Generally speaking, football’s engagement from a political perspective and an electorate level through to the national office level secured $141.3 million in funding towards infrastructure projects into the sport, the highest of any sport, of which it included $47.4 million from the ALP.

MiniRoos is the foundational program of grassroots football in Australia, encompassing both the MiniRoos Club Football and MiniRoos Kick-Off programs for all participants in football aged 11 and under.

The MiniRoos Kick-Off saw participant numbers hit over 13,000, the highest number of participants in the program since 2019 (prior to COVID-19 disruption).

National teams:

The national stage for Australia’s Women’s team, CommBank Matildas, have turned their attention to building a squad full of depth ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023, while falling short in the continental championships earlier in the year with a quarter-final exit.

The following months that followed saw a list of highlights, counting the long-awaited homecoming in front of over 15,000 fans at CommBank Stadium in a well-deserved 3-1 win against Brazil, the excitement of new talent and the large turnout of crowds for home international matches.

With five players reaching a century of international appearances for the Matildas, four players were welcomed to the national team giving the platform to recognise their potential and gift for years to come.

Meanwhile for the Subway Socceroos, after a strong and persistent qualification of matches played away from home due to travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, they had not hosted a game on home soil since October 2019 playing against Saudi Arabia in a tough and tight affair that finished goalless.

Playing two rounds of qualification against the UAE and Peru, the Men’s national team persevered in the end by qualifying for a fifth successful World Cup that will be remembered as one of the great Australian sporting moments in the country’s history.

Competitions:

Formerly known as the FFA Cup, the Australia Cup, broke records that saw A-League Men side Macarthur FC defeating NSW National Premier Leagues Sydney United 58 2-0 at CommBank Stadium almost breaking the record Cup attendance playing in front of 16,461 passionate fans.

The highlights of the Australia Cup 2022 were known for various reasons such as a record of 742 club entries across the country, achieving record crowds and breaking broadcast audiences, along with a highly successful tournament capturing the heart and minds of the Australian football community throughout 2022.

The Magic of the Cup displayed fairy tale moments such as Sydney United 58 triumphing over A-League sides Western United and Brisbane Roar, with Oakleigh Cannons also claiming a hard-fought win against Sydney FC.

However, when Oakleigh Cannon’s 13-year-old reserve goalkeeper Ymer Abili was subbed on late for his side against Macarthur FC, attracting worldwide attention was arguably the highlight of the tournament and undoubtedly for years to come.

The Annual Review can be viewed in full here.

Federal Budget commits $97 million investment for sport programs

The 2024-25 Federal Budget, which was released on Tuesday night, includes more than $97 million over two years to the ASC to extend Sporting Schools, the Local Sporting Champions, and Local Para Champions programs, and participation funding to help more Australians get active.

This two-year extension runs until 30 June 2026 and helps kids of all different sports afford an opportunity to play at a local level if they come from and under privileged background.

Football Australia is a part of the Sporting Schools program, with each state offering participation Officers and local clubs that are ready to implement in-school and after-school programs for students of ages up to Year 8, plus all abilities programs.

Football Australia use this program to link local football clubs with schools to facilitate an ongoing relationship and provide further opportunity for students to continue their football journey outside of school, whether that be MiniRoos Kick Off, MiniRoos Club or Junior Football.

More than 24,000 young Australians will be supported with the Local Sporting Champions (LSC) and Local Para Champions (LSP) grants programs continuing for a further two years.

These are fantastic programs that have supported Australia’s best athletes including many Matildas like Courtney Nevin, Cortnee Vine, Alex Chidiac, Teagan Micah and Clare Hunt.

World Cup veteran’s Caitlin Foord and Ellie Carpenter also rose to success with assistance from the LSC program throughout their junior careers.

Australian Sports Commission CEO Kieren Perkins OAM mentions the importance of this investment to continue critical national sporting programs.

“Once again, I want to thank Minister Wells and the Australian Government for their continued support and investment in Australian sport,” Perkins said in a statement.

“This funding extends critical sport participation programs like the Participation Grant program and Sporting Schools which provides free and fun sporting opportunities to more than two million students each year.

“This follows last week’s announcement of $249.7 million to upgrade the AIS Campus to ensure our athletes have access to the world’s best testing and training facilities, and accommodation ahead of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

This is a fantastic initiative that will benefit football amongst other sports and has a history of helping kids of all skill levels play in their respective sport.

The Federal Budget have put in almost $350 to improve sport, mostly around the 2032 Olympic Games but it is great to see some investment in the world game after the huge success of the Women’s World Cup last year.

The biggest Female Football Week to date draws to a close

Female Football week is at its climax across the country with each respective state firmly involved in what has been a monumental year of growth and perseverance with one of the hottest topics amongst the sporting plethora across the nation.

Symbolising the significant strides in which female football has made down under, off the back of its maiden World Cup hosting tenure.

Football Queensland throughout the grand occasion were busy shining a spotlight upon the continuous growth of participation, encouraging women of all ages to become involved and immersed within the global game.

Football Victoria – Commentary

Football Victoria (FV) celebrated women’s football week in style.

Round 8 of the National Premier League Women’s (NPLW) competition within Victoria was unique throughout its coverage, with every match throughout the round featuring a female commentator.

A monumental feat spearheaded by the FV Commentary team, this was the first time an all female commentary round was executed.

Football Queensland

FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci disclosed his appreciation for the momentous occasion via the FQ website.

“While celebrations like FFW serve as a crucial milestone in FQ’s journey towards achieving 50/50 gender parity by 2027 and helps to further reinforce our commitment to enhancing accessibility and inclusivity, our support is not confined to this week, as we remain dedicated to prioritising our female football community year-round.”

Football Queensland – Award Ceremony

Paying homage to Referees, Club Volunteers, Players and Community Champions of the year was conducted through awards up for grabs.

FQ showcased an award ceremony towards multiple facets of football throughout the state.

A nice incentive dedicated to the recognition and appraisal of the hard work undertaken by different areas of football.

The Female Football Week club of the year was awarded to Central Football Club following their extraordinary contribution to female football within Queensland.

Displayed throughout the clubs commitment to female football, the club are fully dedicated to the advancement of women’s football.

Harvesting a fostering environment throughout the club, alongside the nourishment of young promising female footballers has been symbolised by FQ.

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