News from the front.

Successful World Cup Bid Gives Generational Opportunity to Advance Game


June 26, 2020 The success of the combined Australia/New Zealand bid in hosting the 2023 World Cup is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for change says Women in Football. “This win is an enormous boost to women’s football as well as the game,” said Women in Football President, Bonita Mersiades. “Well done to Football Federation Australia and Football New Zealand for putting together a compelling case as hosts, and focussing on what is important. “Plaudits are also due to FIFA for its much improved process for evaluating and voting on the bids. Making the votes open and the voters accountable were important measures in bringing greater transparency to the process,” Mersiades said. “We know that we will co-host a great World Cup with New Zealand, and those who attend will have a great time. However, Women in Football believe that it is important that there is a lasting legacy from hosting the event. "There are six outcomes Women in Football would like to see achieved out of the next three years to help the women’s game and women involved with football more broadly into the future.” They are: Better and more facilities for the sport overall, with a focus on women and girls. More girls taking up the sport. Improved and more competition structures nationally for girls and women. More women coaches and referees. More media attention for women’s football and football in general. More women in positions of executive and management influence. “We look forward to working with the football community to help make this happen. “We don’t want to be in the position once the ‘party’ of the World Cup is over to find there are no substantial gains for football. “That happened in relation to the Sydney 2000 Olympics and the 2015 Asian Cup. “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for a seminal shift in how women’s football is placed, how women’s sport is perceived, and also what football can do in terms of soft diplomacy and political and corporate power. “The Women’s World Cup is not a ‘developmental tournament’ but a significant global sporting event in its own right. “All of Australia and New Zealand should feel rightly proud as well as privileged to be the next hosts.”




Women in Football Welcomes FIFA Evaluation of 2023 Bid


11 June 2020 Women in Football Australia has welcomed the release of the bid evaluation reports for the 2023 World Cup and says it puts the joint Australia/New Zealand bid in a strong position. The bid evaluation report has rated Australia/New Zealand as the leaders with 4.1 points out of five across a number of criteria. Japan has 3.9 points and Colombia 2.8 points. “What is pleasing about the bid evaluation is that it rates the Australia/New Zealand bid strongly on commercial viability,” said committee member and former Matilda, Heather Garriock. The joint Australia/New Zealand bid is supported by USD$76 million of government guarantees. “In addition to the commercial issues, everyone knows that both our countries have hosted significant sporting events previously, including FIFA youth tournaments. “We’re also two of a handful of countries in the world who have handled the coronavirus pandemic not just well, but outstandingly well,” said Garriock. “Hosting a World Cup would be a dream come true. “It would be massive for both countries and for girls’ and women’s football and help give football a boost,” Garriock said. If the Australia/New Zealand bid is successful, it will be the first time the Women’s World Cup has been held in the southern hemisphere and the first involving the Oceania Football Confederation, FIFA’s smallest regional confederation. The 37-person FIFA Council will make the decision on the winners on June 25.




W-League needs more investment to be one of the top world leagues


24 October 2019 With the 12th season of the W-League about to get underway, Women in Football Australia Inc has circulated a discussion paper calling on Australian football’s stakeholders for greater investment in the game if it is to be one of the top leagues in the world. The discussion paper, entitled Improving Opportunities for Professional Women's Football, also states that a decision should be made on whether the W-League is a ‘development’ or ‘elite’ level league. “While we appreciate the W-League’s future is in the hands of the Australian Professional Football Clubs’ Association, this is a mission critical issue for FFA and football’s stakeholders, and is an issue of relevance and interest to the broader football community,” according to Women in Football. “In a nutshell, if it is to be one of the best leagues in the world, the W-League needs significant investment and attention from the clubs – not just for the sake of the competition itself but for Australia’s top players.” The discussion paper suggests that without improvement to the W-League, Australia’s top players, such as Matildas capatain Sam Kerr, may be better advised to play elsewhere if they are to receive “just attention, recognition and reward internationally”. Women in Football believe that if the W-League is to be a development league, then a national second tier competition should be introduced for women in addition to men. The discussion paper highlights four key issues that need to be addressed by football’s stakeholders including: the need for women players to play more games, with a suggestion that an Asian Champions League and a FFA Cup be introduced for women; more consistent match scheduling and venues; understanding the fanbase of women’s football, including deleting dual social media channels for the W-League and A-League; and greater investment. “The pushback on the issues we raise is anticipated to be around lack of finances. However, with the increased interest in , and scrutiny on, women’s sport, we suggest there is enormous scope for improvement in the level of sponsors for the W-League, the Matildas and women’s and girls’ football more broadly.” Women in Football has sought comment and feedback on the discussion paper by the end of November, and indicate that this is the first in a series of discussion papers they will be issuing on matters of interest. Women in Football was formed to highlight and address the low representation of women at governance and management levels of the sport which, in turn, has an impact on the level of advocacy for the women's game. ENDS A copy of the discussion paper can be found in our Resources section.




Women in Football launches to support gender equality in the sport


26 June 2019 A new national group has today taken steps to address the issue of gender representation in one of the fastest growing women’s participation sports in Australia. The Women in Football Association was launched today by the NSW Minister for Sport, the Hon John Sidoti, with the support of Football Federation Australia (FFA), modelled on a similar organisation in the United Kingdom. The not-for-profit national association, specifically established to support women wanting to participate at any level in the sport, has eight committee members, all of whom have had experience in football from grassroots to elite level including the CEO of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation Lesley Podesta, head coach of Central Coast Mariners Alen Stajcic, media identity George Donikian and international football reform advocate Bonita Mersiades. Ms Mersiades, who is President of WiF, said there had long been under-representation of women in football, even though it was a sport that attracted women of all ages at all levels as volunteers, administrators, players, fans and in the media. “Considering just how many women are involved in football at all levels, a national association with a focus on networking, collaboration and professional development, from grassroots up, is long overdue,” Ms Mersiades said. “An important part of Women in Football will be ‘Trixie’s List’, a database of women who may be available and could be considered for management, coaching and other positions within the football industry. “There have been improvements in gender equality in football over the last few years, but we have a long way to go, and Women in Football has been established to further promote and grow the sport we all love,” she said. FFA Chairman, Chris Nikou, has welcomed the new association. “From my perspective, anything that encourages and supports more women to get involved in our game, the better,” he said. “I know from a grassroots perspective that so many women form the backbone of volunteer effort, but we have yet to see that translate into women in representative numbers in management and administration. “An initiative such as ‘Trixie’s List’ to help football federations and clubs find suitably-qualified women for roles is welcome and practical, as is the idea of providing professional development and networking opportunities for women in football,” said Mr Nikou. Membership of Women in Football is open to women and men at the cost of $25 annually. To join the association, sign up at womeninfootball.org.au. ENDS




Women's Role in Sport Pivotal to Growth of Grassroots


May 3, 2021

More than half of all women who are involved in sport have experienced some form of discrimination in the past two years according to a research report released by Women in Football Australia Inc (WiF).

The research report, entitled ‘Play. Watch. Do.’ looks at the involvement of women in football as players, parents of players, consumers and volunteers.

The research was conducted by Core Data in February 2021 and found that discrimination was most prevalent for young women aged 18-30 years.

Amongst women involved in football, discrimination was experienced by

  • 89.4% of those who play the game;
  • 42% of those with children who play; and
  • by 74.8% of those who are volunteers in the game.

The major forms of discrimination were reported as being suggestive comments, inappropriate behaviour, or bypassed for high level roles as a volunteer.

The report also found a high correlation between the number of children who play a sport and the number of women who are involved as volunteers in the same sport.

While 15% of grassroots volunteers are Football volunteers, when it comes to women whose children play, more than one-in-four mums (25.7%) are volunteers.

Almost two-in-five women are aware that Australia is to co-host the women’s football World Cup in 2023, but amongst those who are involved in the game the awareness rate doubles. Almost two-thirds of all women have an interest in attending a game.

The respondents identified the priority issues for improving the involvement of women in football as access (75.4%), cost (48.9%) and safety (48.1%).

The report outlines a number of areas where football federations and clubs could take action to increase the contribution and improve the experience of women involved in football, including:

  • examining further the findings in relation to discrimination, sexism and sexist attitudes;
  • examining different models for engaging volunteers; and
  • providing incentives for grassroots clubs to improve their engagement with women in the game.

WiF concludes in the report that professional sport cannot survive and prosper without strong grassroots, as it increases opportunities for inclusivity and growth; it is the source of future players, coaches and officials; and it also helps enhance credibility and reputation.

* * *

A copy of the report Play. Watch. Do. is available here.




Winners of Women in Football Awards Named


September 9, 2021

A volunteer from Hobart, a young coach from Melbourne, and an online news site specialising in women’s football are the inaugural recipients of the Women in Football Awards in 2021.

The Women in Football Awards were introduced to celebrate the achievements of women who are involved in football in a range of capacities, and to encourage and inspire others also.

“We thought it was important to recognise the many tens of thousands of people who help to make football tick week-in, week-out, at grassroots clubs and elsewhere.

“Often, such people are taken for granted but they are incredibly valuable to their club, the sport and our community and it’s important to recognise their efforts and accomplishments.”

The three winners are:

  • Volunteer of the Year: Sandra Roberts, South Hobart Football Club

  • Emerging Leader Award: Aish Ravi, Bentleigh Cobras Football Club, Bayside Futsal Social

  • Media Award: Beyond 90

Recipients of certificates of distinction were also named in the Volunteer and Emerging Leader categories.

The Women in Football Awards ceremony was originally scheduled to take place as part of a community football tournament this coming weekend on the Central Coast, north of Sydney, which was cancelled due to the Covid lockdowns.

Instead, the winners are announced via a series of short videos produced by Flix Productions of Adelaide, and with two of the videos narrated by Simon Hill of Paramount Plus.

“The Women in Football Awards are a way of showing people that the many volunteer hours they spend in football are appreciated and admired.

“We believe the inaugural award winners are incredibly deserving of their respective awards, and we hope it inspires and motivates others to contribute to their local club or other football activity to their full potential also.”

The Women in Football Awards were created by Women in Football Australia Inc, a national member-based charity established in 2019, that aims to ensure girls and women can contribute effectively to football at the level they wish to do so. The Women in Football Awards are supported by the NSW Government’s Office of Sport.

Their individual videos can be viewed here.

VOLUNTEER

2021 Winner: Sandra Roberts, South Hobart FC, Tasmania

2021 Certificate of Distinction:

  • Imogen Caruso, Essendon Royals SC, Victoria

  • Jodie McGill, Roselea FC, NSW

Purpose: The Women in Football Volunteer of the Year award recognises the outstanding work of a volunteer with grassroots football in their community who has demonstrated a significant contribution or commitment to a team, organisation, special event, or programme.

How it’s decided: The Volunteer award is decided by the executive committee of Women in Football Australia based on nominations from the football community.

About Sandra Roberts

Sandra has volunteered as team manager with South Hobart Football Club’s senior women’s teams for seven years. Sandra supports the operation of the three teams comprising more than 50 players and six coaching staff. Sandra consistently demonstrates her dedication through being extremely organised and committed to professionalism in women’s football.

Her efforts mean that the women feel confident, empowered, and valued so everyone who wants to play can.

This is critical at this age when many women stop playing, and valuable for the wellbeing of a generation of women as it opens more opportunities for women to play who may otherwise have left the sport.

With a welcome, warm, calm approach Sandra treats all players regardless of age, background, skill, or prior involvement with the club. Her commitment to ensuring all players are supplied with quality uniforms and the social care of the team helps with building inclusivity.

As well as her considerable volunteer work, Sandra supports a business and family, caring for children and ageing parents.

EMERGING LEADER

2021 Winner: Aish Ravi, Bentleigh Cobras FC and Bayside Futsal Women

2021 Certificate of Distinction:

  • Cas Wright, New Lambton FC, NSW

Purpose: The Emerging Leader award is to a volunteer who has demonstrated leadership and commitment to achieving greater gender equality in the game.

This may be way of, for example:

  • ensuring Boards and/or Committees meet the 40/40/20 targets of the FFA Constitution;

  • actively encouraging diversity in positions – not just in terms of gender but also in terms of different organisational roles, age, cultural backgrounds, and sexual preference;

  • demonstrating a commitment to accountability in gender equality;

  • getting the messaging right so it appeals to women and men;

  • initiating change and encouraging women to participate more fully in decision-making roles;

  • challenging and championing gender-based practices.

How it’s decided: The Emerging Leader Award is decided by the executive committee of Women in Football Australia based on nominations from the football community.

About Aish Ravi

At 30 years of age, Aish Ravi is evolving as an outstanding leader and advocate for women’s participation in football.

She is an AFC B-Licensed coach player-coach of Bentleigh Cobras Football Club and she established Bayside Futsal Women, a free social futsal competition now enjoyed by more than 400 players who might not otherwise have played.

Aish is co-founder of the Women’s Coaching Association – which supports women coaches across all sports – a co-opted member of the Board of the Football Coaches Association of Australia and is currently studying for a PhD with Monash University looking at the experience of women football coaches.

Aish shares Women in Football’s commitment in encouraging girls and women to participate in the game at whatever capacity and level they wish to do so and is particularly passionate about getting more women involved in coaching because ‘you can’t be what you don’t see’.

MEDIA

2021 Winner: Beyond 90

Purpose: The Media award is made to an individual or media organisation for journalism that consistently provides coverage and stories that promote participation of girls and women and helps promote the game at community and professional level.

How it’s decided: The award is decided by the executive committee of Women in Football Australia Inc. with nominees assessed on the quality, comprehensiveness, balance, and consistency of coverage in the year to 30 June 2021.

About Beyond 90

Beyond90.com.au is helping to change the narrative of sports media by focusing on women’s football, promoting positive media representation of many of the women in football and through new and emerging sports journalists and broadcasters. As well as their online format, they produce a podcast and encourage many younger – mostly female – voices to become involved in writing and talking about the game. Beyond90 is helping to reshape and redefine the future landscape of football media.