An open letter to Central Coast Football Clubs and Participants

Dear Clubs and Participants,

Central Coast Football

As you may be aware, Central Coast Football (CCF) advised its members by way of an email newsletter dated 8 January 2022 that it has recently determined to pursue changes in its relationship with Football Australia and Football NSW.  

Until recently, football on the Central Coast was officially governed by CCF.  CCF was a member association of Football NSW, which is also a member of Football Australia.  Football Australia is a member of the Asian Football Confederation and FIFA.  This is the “football pyramid” and this is important as it is around this pyramid that the governance and administration of official football is built, both in Australia and around the world.  

The communication from the CCF Board dated 8 January 2022 states that “Your clubs are aware of and fully support the board’s initiatives.”  We are aware that concerns have been raised by CCF’s stakeholders which would suggest that such support is not universal within the region.  It appears that the CCF Board has taken a decision with significant consequences in the absence of proper consultation with its members and the participants that they represent. 

It is also clear that the CCF Board’s email newsletter did not accurately reflect the state of play, including the consequences arising from CCF’s decision to cease to be a member of the Australian football family. 

It is against this backdrop that we write to inform you of the changes to how football is governed on the Central Coast.  

These changes directly affect you and/or your children, so it is important that you are fully informed. 

How did this happen?

Discussions have been taking place between representatives of Football Australia, Football NSW and CCF for well over a year and were initiated by CCF after announcing its intent to use a different registration system to the national platform used by all other community competitions, clubs and participants around the country, and to procure its own insurance program for 2021.

While Football Australia permitted CCF to use its own system in 2021 and was prepared to allow this to occur again in 2022, CCF advised it would again not participate in the Football NSW insurance program in 2022, nor pay the requisite governing body fees to Football Australia and Football NSW.  It is apparent that CCF has decided to retain these fees for itself, rather than support the football ecosystem in Australia.

Despite efforts by Football Australia and Football NSW to find alternate solutions, CCF has chosen to take these unilateral steps, and therefore remove itself from this official pyramid – in other words, to disaffiliate from Australian football.

What does CCF’s decision mean for you?

You may rightly ask, “How does this impact me or my children, my club or my position as a coach or a referee?”

As a result of the CCF Board’s decision, the clubs, players and officials on the Central Coast will no longer be registered with Football Australia and will therefore not receive the benefits of being an official member of the Australian and global football community, including the following:

  • Participation in the national FFA Cup competition;
  • Participation in Football NSW’s State Cup and Champion of Champions competitions;
  • Ability to participate in the Domestic and International Transfer System, including the receipt of training compensation for CCF clubs;
  • Access to elite player, referee and coach pathways (including state representation);
  • Member Protection Framework and associated resources, including access to state and national Member Protection Information Officers (see;
  • Integrity framework and resources;
  • National Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures and arbitration tribunals;
  • National and state policies and procedures developed with access to best practice information;
  • Nationally accredited referees;
  • Inclusion of coaching CPD hours for the purposes of accreditation revalidation;
  • FIFA Club insurance compensation program;
  • Nationally funded football programs;
  • Federal and State Government funding programs, including Women’s World Cup 2023 Legacy Programs;
  • Club resources, such as those available under the National Club Development Program / any national club licensing program;
  • Association with a trusted brand through affiliation to the national sporting organisation;
  • Priority access to Socceroos and Commonwealth Bank Matildas tickets; and
  • Discounted tickets to Socceroos and Commonwealth Bank Matildas matches during a priority access window.

We note that the CCF Board’s purported reason for ceasing to be a member of the Australian football family is about a perceived lack of value provided by Football Australia and Football NSW.  Put simply, CCF believes it can ‘deliver a better deal for its members’.

We reject this assertion, as it is impossible for CCF to deliver any of the official benefits listed above that only official football can provide.

The decision to abandon crucial national support mechanisms, such as member protection and child safeguarding, is especially concerning, and every parent whose child plays football on the Central Coast should also rightly be concerned at what this means.

We also have concerns that the benefits of having a centrally negotiated insurance program governed by Football NSW, which balances appropriate minimum coverage with affordability to participants, will be lost.

How do CCF’s actions impact the rest of Australian football?

The decision to disaffiliate means that Australian football has lost an important breeding ground for exciting young talent, whether as a player, coach, referee or administrator.

It also destabilises the rest of the game and undermines the role of Football Australia not just in grassroots football but in many other aspects of the game.

For example, Football Australia would in normal circumstances have collected $14 for each child and $33 for each adult playing football on the Central Coast. These fees support Football Australia to deliver all the services list above, help to administer our youth national team program, advocate on behalf of our game to Government (including bringing the FIFA Women’s World Cup to Australia in 2023) and stage Commonwealth Bank Matildas and Socceroos matches.

By unilaterally deciding to withhold these funds, CCF has limited Football Australia’s ability to do the important things that inspire so many Australians to love and to follow the game.

Your fees

One of many questions participants may wish to direct to CCF is what it intends to do with the season 2021 fees it has collected based on being affiliated to Football NSW and Football Australia. In other words, what will CCF do with fees collected from participants that are  payable to Football NSW and Football Australia?  

For the 2021 season, CCF indicated that it was willing to collect the governing body fees from registered participants but now appears unwilling to pass the full amount of those fees to Football NSW and Football Australia as required for the services we provide, despite CCF’s representations to its participants that their registration fees included a component payable to Football NSW and Football Australia.  

A further question participants may wish to ask CCF is whether it will be charging them an equivalent amount of the Football NSW and Football Australia governing body fees for 2022 and if so what will it do with those fees which no longer need to be passed on?

Given the timing of CCF’s decision so close to the 2022 season, we are aware that representations have again been made to participants about the use of the fees charged to play football.  It is important therefore for you to understand that, given the CCF board’s position, no part of your season 2022 registration fees will be provided by CCF to Football NSW and Football Australia.  We wish to be clear that that participants on the Central Coast are not currently supporting association football in Australia, including the Australian National Teams.

The use of such income by Football Australia and Football NSW is disclosed fully in each organisation’s audited financial statements and annual review – both of which are accessible to the public online (see and

What happens next, and who can you talk to?

Football Australia and Football NSW are determined to ensure that participants on the Central Coast can re-join the Australian football family as soon as possible.

We continue to update FIFA on the situation and have also commenced discussions with the NSW Government, and local Government to ensure they understand the decision the board of CCF has taken, and what it means, including some serious implications for the participants and clubs in the region.

We encourage all participants on the Central Coast to engage with Football Australia and Football NSW about this development.  To contact us directly, please send an email to  Furthermore, we intend to arrange various forums in due course for participants to engage in a broader discussion and to explore solutions and possible alternatives.

Yours sincerely,

James Johnson
Chief Executive Officer and General Secretary

James Johnson