Significant trio joins Football Australia Legacy ’23 Ambassadors line up


Football Australia has announced the addition of Elizabeth (Liz) Broderick AO, Special Rapporteur and Independent Expert to the United Nations, Paralympic champion Kurt Fearnley AO, and Tourism Australia Managing Director Phillipa Harrison to the Legacy ’23 Ambassador Program.

The brand-new additions are set to bring their unique expertise to the program, particularly in the areas of international advocacy and diplomacy, tourism, plus diversity and inclusion. The trio will speak to the wide range of ambitions highlighted in Football Australia’s bold and innovative Legacy ’23 plan in the lead up to and beyond the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023.

In her former role as Australia’s longest-standing Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Liz Broderick AO has played an integral role in helping to break down structural and social barriers faced by women and men and has cemented herself as a globally recognised leader and advocate for diversity and inclusion.

Through her influential work with the United Nations and the Champions of Change Coalition, focusing on the rights of women and girls, Liz will use her Legacy ’23 ambassador role to help drive conversations around how gender equality in sport can influence other industries and progress international diplomacy.

Of her role, Liz said via a Football Australia statement:

“I hope that through Legacy ’23 we will see the sport become a catalyst to help our nation achieve gender equality for the next generations of women and girls here in Australia and across the world. What we know from all the research is that greater levels of gender diversity, build performance and capability, and that’s the great opportunity that exists off the back of 2023.”

Having grown up in the regional New South Wales town of Carcour, three-time gold medal-winning Paralympian, Kurt Fearnley AO, knows first-hand the importance of having advocates to support an individual’s progress and access to equal opportunities.

Of his role, Kurt said via Football Australia:

“Being a Legacy ’23 Ambassador is about making sure I can continue to play a role in ensuring that people with disabilities are visible and accepted within the community. The acceptance of the community was integral to my journey to becoming a professional athlete, and without it, I may never have been able to realise my potential. So, I hope that through Legacy ’23 we can further level the playing field and create pathways for athletes of all ages, all cultures and abilities.”

For Phillipa Harrison, hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 represents an incredible moment for the Australian travel and tourism industry to showcase the world-class experiences the country has on offer and reinvigorate the local economy after a challenging two years. Phillipa is also excited to be able to leverage her role as a Legacy ‘23 Ambassador to celebrate the rich diversity of our First Nations people across all corners of Australia.

Beyond her passion to show the best of Australia to the world, Legacy ’23 also represents something quite personal for Phillipa, saying via Football Australia:

“As a mother of two young daughters, it’s really important that they see the possibilities of what they could be, and I would love to think that by having this global event in our own backyard, a whole generation of Australian girls can set their sights a little bit higher on what they can achieve now and into the future.”

Football Australia CEO James Johnson added via Football Australia about the new appointments:

“Our Legacy ’23 Ambassador program set out to represent the rich diversity of our community and with the addition of Liz, Kurt and Phillipa we are one step closer to achieving that. We believe in the ability of this program to influence change at a policy level, but most importantly at a societal level, and all of our ambassadors will be integral in supporting us with our ambitions to drive meaningful and lasting change in our game.”

Previously announced ambassadors making up the Final XI include:

  • The Hon. Julie Bishop, Chancellor of Australian National University
  • Julie Dolan AM, Matildas cap #1
  • Azmeena Hussain OAM, Director Football Victoria and social justice advocate
  • Narelda Jacobs, NIAG Member and Network 10 Presenter
  • Kate Jenkins, Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner
  • Awer Mabil, Socceroo

Federal government commit $250 million to upgrade AIS facilities

The federal government confirm they are committing $250 million to upgrade the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) ahead of the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.

The funding will be put towards building a new high-performance training and testing centre, a multi-sport indoor dome, and an accommodation facility.

An independent review of the institute’s infrastructure found that in February, the AIS should stay in Canberra but needs a significant upgrade ahead of the games.

As a football outlook, the facilities don’t seem to help the development of young or professional footballers at all.

After the ‘FFA Centre of Excellence’ was discontinued in 2017, the AIS haven’t put a lot of focus into football and have left development purely up to Football Australia and the state federations.

The AIS upgrades in Canberra are seemingly leaving out football and the $250m is being spent on a purely Olympic outlook including athletics and swimming, in order to try and maximise the amount of gold medals Australia wins.

With the popularity of The Matildas rapidly growing with eight years before the Brisbane Olympics, the government should really be focusing on what they can do for football.

Federal Sports Minister Anika Wells discussed the government’s commitment to revitalise the AIS as a “world-standard facility.”

“When it was first built, the AIS was so successful in preparing our medal winning athletes that it was replicated by sporting nations around the world and became the benchmark for achieving athletic success,” she said in an statement.

“Today, our government is investing in the AIS, so we reach those benchmarks again as we commit to delivering world standard training facilities ahead of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese commented on the importance of these upgrades for the country.

“We want to give our athletes the best chance of bringing home gold at Brisbane and every competition before and after those games,” he added in an statement.

“The upcoming budget will ensure the AIS remains in the capital, where it belongs, and ensure it once again becomes the world-leading high-performance centre it was designed to be.”

The AIS upgrades are fantastic for the country’s top athletes and the much needed improvements set the country up well for 2032, but the question lies, what are they doing for football?

Football Australia signs with Etrainu for an elite education in football

Football Australia has joined forces with Etrainu to forge ahead with the creation of the Football Australia Learning Centre, a pioneering initiative aimed at enriching the knowledge and skills within the football community.

The brand new Learning Centre will amalgamate the former Learning Management System (LMS) and Qualification Management System (QMS) into one unified platform, supplying Football Australia enhanced flexibility and oversight over their educational pathways.

Upon its completion, the Football Australia Learning Centre will serve as a centralised hub for coaches and referees to oversee their certifications and enhance their expertise, utilising a blend of online and in-person learning opportunities.

This marks a significant achievement for Australian football, as hundreds of thousands of coaches and referees will gain swift and convenient access to their learning journey, moreover, they will have the capability to independently oversee qualifications such as their referee license and journey.

After an exhaustive exploration phase, Etrainu and Football Australia collaborated on a solution that capitalises on the fundamental features of the Etrainu LMS, integrating seamlessly with Football Australia’s participant registration platform (Play Football), staff directory, and payment solution.

This integrated environment will unlock numerous advantages for Football Australia.

Etrainu CEO, Paul Hoon expressed his delight with the partnership via press release:

“This is an incredible opportunity to impact the football community in Australia,” he said to Football Australia.

“Watching the performance of both our Men’s and Women’s teams at the most recent World Cups, it is clear that football is continuing to grow in Australia, we’re excited to deliver a platform that will help streamline education pathways for coaches and referees, creating an impact for the grassroots football community.”

Upon the unveiling of the Football Australia Learning Centre, Chief Football Officer at Football Australia, Ernie Merrick conveyed his excitement for the venture and its prospective influence on the educational realm of the sport.

“Through our partnership with Etrainu, we’re setting a new standard for football education in Australia, The Football Australia Learning Centre is designed to empower our coaches and referees with the tools and knowledge they need to excel and progress,” he said to Football Australia.

“This platform is more than just a learning management system; it’s a gateway to unlocking potential at every level of the game. We are committed to nurturing talent and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, ensuring that Australian football remains strong today and even stronger tomorrow.”

Phase 1 of the Football Australia Learning Centre has been successfully launched, providing tangible benefits to the football community across the nation.

In the forthcoming months and years, subsequent phases will witness the ongoing expansion of the Learning Centre.

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