Inspired by the outstanding success of the FIFA Women's World Cup™, and the nation-uniting performances of the CommBank Matildas, Football Australia today expressed its appreciation towards the Federal Government's ground-breaking announcement of the Play Our Way program to fund the improvement of sporting facilities and equipment specifically for women in response to the extraordinary rise in female participation in community sport.
With an investment of $200 million, the Play our Way grants program will promote equal access, build more suitable facilities, and support grassroots initiatives to get women and girls to engage, stay, and participate in sport throughout their lives.
James Johnson, CEO of Football Australia, stated: “Over the past four weeks we have seen football unite the nation and set new records across all aspects of sport. As Football Australia’s role as co-host of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ comes to a close, we know this is just the start. Football in Australia has been fundamentally changed and the expected surge in demand, particularly in female football, has underlined the importance of prioritising community infrastructure as a long-term strategic objective for the entire nation.
"This significant funding arrives at a poignant moment for football in Australia. As the most popular team-based participation sport in the nation, football has seen a meteoric rise in female participation. With the FIFA Women's World Cup reaching new heights, we anticipate a further surge of up to 20% in grassroots participation (mostly from women and girls) — buoyed by the fervour of this global spectacle and the CommBank Matildas' inspirational journey that has captured the hearts and minds of every Australian."
Football Australia's advocacy through Legacy '23 has been pivotal in catalysing today’s important commitments. Legacy '23 has not merely charted our path beyond 2023 but has been an active voice championing the cause of female football. The targets of Legacy '23 endeavours and today’s announcement embody a mutual vision for the golden future of women's football in Australia.
"Football Australia’s Legacy '23 Plan targets gender equality in grassroots participation, in Australia’s most played team sport. Today’s announcement goes a long way to removing the barriers to making this happen. The social and health benefits football will deliver as a result, are immense," Johnson elaborated.
In closing, Johnson expressed, "While we bask in the current global spectacle, our conversations with the Federal Government continue regarding the essential high-performance funding for all our national team programs. FIFA World Cups, our Subway Socceroos and CommBank Matildas inspire all Australians more than any other major sporting event – it is clear they need to finally be recognised in Australia’s high-performance sport funding framework."
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