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Matildas mark significant milestone

Football Federation Australia (FFA) has honoured the first ever women’s international match by congratulating that team alongside the current Westfield Matildas.

It’s been 40 years since the Matildas took part in their first full international, which was on October 6th 1979 at Seymour Shaw Park in Sydney, playing in a 2-2 draw with New Zealand.

It paved the way for future women players to get involved, with the Matildas still going strong.

Both the past and present have come together at the same venue they started in a special occasion for women’s football.

It’s a time to thank the inaugural members of the Matildas for their contributions that helped encourage other women to get involved and sustain the Matildas side till now.

“These athletes started a movement, not just a team, which has now become one of the most powerful, popular and recognisable in Australia, said FFA chairman Chris Nikou.

“Many of these women worked full time, while playing for the national team and for many years, this continued to be the case.

“There have been 204 Matildas represent our country in ‘A’ internationals over the past 40 years and today we celebrate each of them and thank them for their contribution to our sport.

“Later this month Cheryl Salisbury will become the first female footballer to be inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, which rightly recognises the sacrifices and efforts of our female footballers over this time.

“Today many of our Westfield Matildas are full time professional footballers, many playing around the world and when they represent their national team today on home soil, it is in front of big crowds.

“We recognise there is still work to do to ensure our female athletes have more opportunities on and off the park from the grassroots up to our national teams, but today we look back and celebrate the immense strides made.”

From humble beginnings, the Matildas have grown into one of the best women’s football sides in the world.

It goes to show the massive inroads that have been made in the last 40 years and which will continue to be made.

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

Football Australia marks strong 2021 progress in Annual General Meeting

FA AGM

Football Australia’s 18th Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held on Tuesday afternoon (November 23) via video conference, in line with the release of the national governing body’s 2021 Annual Review.

At the AGM, Football Australia’s Members voted to re-elect Amy Duggan and Joseph Carrozzi as Directors. The Football Australia Board now comprises nine members, of which five are female and four are male – a first of the major sporting bodies in Australia with a gender split of 55% female and 45% male.

Football Australia’s Members also ratified changing the financial year of Football Australia from a financial year (July 1 to June 30) to a calendar year (January 1 to December 31).

This step is made in the spirit of the ‘One Football’ concept outlined in the XI Principles for the future of Australian football and increases alignment of financial years across the entire game, as Football Australia seeks to create greater operating efficiencies.

Following the AGM, Chris Nikou was installed unanimously by his fellow Directors to the position of Football Australia Chair – a role he has fulfilled since November 2018. Carla Wilshire was elected as Deputy Chair.

Nikou was pleased that 2021 was a year of implementation and action.

“It is with great satisfaction that the Board of Football Australia can report that 2021 has indeed been a landmark year for our sport. We are taking transformative steps for the future, driven by our 15-year vision outlined in our XI Principles for the future of Australian football and by our commitment to a strategic growth agenda,” Nikou said.

“In recent times, we have embarked on crucial and at times, difficult structural changes. Reforms that will see the continued evolution and growth of our great game. I am proud to say that we have completed making many of those changes.

“Over the last year, I have been pleased with the increased level of collaboration among the game’s stakeholders. Their strong appetite for working hand-in-hand will ensure that the game will continue to evolve and grow in ways not seen before.

“Pleasingly, with all the work undertaken in developing a new 15-year vision for the sport and our clear strategic growth agenda, and in re-creating and re-imagining our value proposition commercially, we entered FY 2021/22 with a budgeted revenue double what we achieved in FY 2020/21. In a COVID-19 affected world, this is a remarkable turnaround,”

In the second year of his tenure, Chief Executive Officer James Johnson said:

“Australian football is in a vastly different position today than what it was 18 months ago, with noticeable and significant change taking place across the game this year.

“2022 will provide the opportunity to focus our strategic agenda on key initiatives, such as digital transformation and the establishment of more exciting football products, which we believe will enhance our connection to our broad and diverse football community.

“We have set the foundations for positive transformation of Australian football in 2021 and we are optimistic and excited about the future of the game.”

Football Australia’s 2021 Annual Review can be accessed here.

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.

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