Football Australia releases Pre-Tournament Report for Legacy '23 Plan

Ahead of kick-off in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™, Football Australia have today released the pre-tournament Legacy ‘23 report detailing the impact, investment and progress achieved during the first three years of the bold and ambitious strategic plan.

Football Australia’s bid for co-hosting rights was underpinned by a strong commitment to transform the football landscape and leave a positive and enduring legacy for future generations.

Launched in February 2021 at Parliament House in Canberra, the Legacy ’23 plan is an ambitious strategy to deliver economic, social, physical, and mental health benefits as well as social and multicultural inclusion through five key pillars - Participation, Community Facilities, Leadership & Development, Tourism & International Engagement and High Performance.

Junior Matildas - Tiff Williams

With more than $357 million already unlocked by football for legacy related projects, Football Australia CEO James Johnson acknowledged the significant role of Government and commercial partners since the inception of the Legacy ’23 Plan.

“We extend our appreciation to the Federal and State Governments, as well as our commercial partners for their invaluable support and investment in Legacy ’23. With their assistance we have elevated stadium facilities, established state-of-the-art infrastructure and driven the transformation of community clubs. These collaborative efforts have played a pivotal role in our journey,” said Johnson.

The continued growth in football participation rates along with the expected surge in demand - particularly in female football, has underlined the importance of prioritising community infrastructure capacity and capability as a long-term strategic objective for all states and territories, coupled with the need to continue to invest in high performance programs for our Women’s National Teams.

As outlined in this progress report, an audit undertaken by Football Australia and its nine Member Federations revealed the multiple challenges and opportunities which exist within football infrastructure across the country, including a significant gap in facilities classified as female friendly.

  • With a goal to become the first community sport to achieve gender parity in participation Football Australia will continue to work towards 100% female friendly and accessible change rooms across all community football facilities.
  • To ensure that our national teams continue to be competitive on the global stage, and that the players continue to have world class pay and conditions

The pre-tournament report offers early insights into the progress made to date across the interconnecting pillars with case studies from around the country illustrating the advancement toward turning the Legacy ’23 vision into reality.

Key highlights include:

  • $357,446,000 unlocked by football towards legacy-related projects
  • Strengthened pathways including three brand new State ‘Homes of Football’ in SA, WA, and VIC
  • 150% increase in sponsorship from 2020-2023
  • Club Changer - support & resources to build capacity and inclusive cultures at over 2400 clubs
  • Launch of dedicated Women and Girls brand - Our Game
  • Leadership – launch a national program and progress measures to address the underrepresentation of women in the game
  • Australia and Football leading Diplomacy initiatives in Indo-Pacific region
Home of the Matildas, Melbourne
Home of the Matildas, Melbourne 

With a further Legacy ’23 report to be released following the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, Johnson confirmed Football Australia’s commitment to pursuing future legacy opportunities.

“As we approach the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, Australian football is on the verge of greater expansion and the Legacy ’23 plan has laid a solid foundation for revolutionising women’s football and promoting female participation across the nation.”

“Through continued collaboration with our government, commercial and football partners we aim to capitalise on the growth opportunities presented by this event, achieving gender equity at all levels of the game for the largest club-based participation sport in the nation.”

Sarah Walsh, Head of Women’s Football, World Cup Legacy, and Inclusion highlighted the significant investment made in Legacy ’23 to date and the work that will need to continue moving forward.

“The FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ is a historic tournament of firsts, set to become the largest women's sporting event ever. It marks a significant moment in women's football history globally.

“Whilst the progress report highlights the significant investment made in our Legacy ’23 plan, there is still much to do with a national average of only 41% of football facilities classified as female-friendly, dropping to as low as 26% in Tasmania and Western Australia. A significant gap that must be addressed to ensure we can meet the expected surge in participation and advance the experience of female players and officials, to improve retention, and foster the benefits that football delivers to its community of over 2 million people.

“Additionally, we must maintain increased level of investment for the Women’s National Team Program to bolster high performance pathways to achieve continued success on and off the field,” Walsh concluded.

CLICK HERE to view the pre-tournament Legacy ’23 report.