In a recent statement, the FFA have revealed nearly two million women and girls across the country played football in 2019.
An 11% increase was made across all seven states and territories, with Victoria achieving a rise of over 50%.
“Our growth is testament to everyone connected with our great game. It’s due in no small part to the progress we’ve made as a sport over the past 24 months and the way our clubs and volunteers have responded and contributed to this achievement,” said Peter Filopoulos, CEO of Football Victoria.
“We have a shared aspiration for our sport to continue to grow and develop, and I’m certain we’ve not even scratched the surface as to the continued growth of our game.
“Our firm agenda to support the ongoing growth and development of our game in Victoria continues through our strategic plan, FootbALLways, which was announced last year. The plan is about uniting, inspiring and enabling Victorians of ALL backgrounds and abilities to live and love football, for life.”
Women’s sports in Australia has been on a steady incline in the last few years, thanks in part to various different sports all doing their bit.
The AFLW, introduced in 2017 has been a massive influence for young girls, as well as the success of our women’s national cricket team.
They recently captured the ICC T20 Women’s World Cup in a thumping win over India, showcasing them as one of the country’s most successful international sides.
Foxtel also recently used channel 507 as a pop-up channel for women’s sports only called FOXW. It was only a temporary change however, one would suspect it’s something that is being seriously considered down the line as permanent.
The quality and success of Australia’s national women’s soccer team needs no explanation.
FFA CEO James Johnson and FFA Head of Football Sarah Walsh both commented on the census results, stating that they couldn’t be happier.
“I’m particularly pleased that this hard work has resulted in large increases in the numbers of both coaches and volunteers, as they add tremendous value to our game, and I’d like to thank everyone involved for their commitment to our sport.”, said Johnson.
“I’m delighted that more women and girls than ever are now playing football,” Walsh said.
“FFA is committed to increasing diversity and inclusion in football, and we have seen a number of female-football initiatives in the past year that have proved very popular.”
Walsh went on to talk about the importance of the Women’s World Cup bid, something that has been gaining traction for many months now.
“There’s still a long way to go for female football in this country and a lot of growth to be experienced in the coming years. We are aiming for 50:50 gender parity by 2027 and hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023 in Australia and New Zealand would fast track our push to reach this target.”
50/50 gender parity as Walsh calls it is perhaps the greatest challenge facing the FFA. Whilst the women’s game is getting the push it fully deserves, there will still be detractors.
2027 seems like a long time away, but unless the FFA can successfully bid on the Women’s World Cup as well as successfully develop our brightest up and coming female players, time will fly by.
The results of this census are certainly promising and that would be mostly down to the success of our elite players.
Yes, there is a huge gap between the community and elite levels. But the two will always be connected, especially when it comes to younger aspiring players.
Do you think that the FFA can reach 50/50 by 2027? Furthermore, how much of an impact do you think the Women’s World Cup would have on that 50/50 goal if the tournament was held here in Australia?
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