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Female participation in football reaches record levels in Australia

Female participation in football reaches record levels in Australia
March 11, 2020
Sport /

In the national football census released today by Football Federation Australia (FFA), the number of females playing football in Australia rose by 11% reaching a record level of more than 1.95 million in 2019.

FFA Chief Executive James Johnson welcomed the results of the census that highlighted significant increases across a number of areas, including social football and among coaches and volunteers.

Johnson noted "the release of the 2019 census data is an important milestone for football in Australia and shows that women and girls continue to join our sport in large numbers, with females now representing some 22% of players.

“There’s been impressive growth in football overall in the past twelve months including a big increase in social football, as our member federations, associations, zones and clubs work hard to offer a wide range of opportunities for participation.

“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.

Johnson added “Football is in a unique position in this country, as the largest club-based participation sport, we are also intrinsically connected to every nation on earth through the huge global football family.

“Football provides significant opportunities for international engagement, offers physical and mental health benefits, promotes social cohesion and multicultural inclusion and is a game that can be played by anyone from the under 5s to the over 75s, no matter what your ability.”

FFA Head of Football Development, Sarah Walsh, noted that the increase in female participation came as no surprise, given the work being done by the national and state governing bodies and enthused “I’m delighted that more women and girls than ever are now playing football.

“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. Northern NSW Football successfully rolled out Kick-on for Women, an introductory program targeted at non-active, less active and time-poor women.

“Football Victoria in partnership with City in the Community, also established a successful, flexible approach to increasing female participants including through its innovative VicHealth Soccer Mums program.

“And Football NSW successfully kicked-off their Girls United program targeted at females of all ages from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) backgrounds.” 

Walsh added “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.”

Female football is the focus of activities across Australia this week, with rebel Female Football Week being celebrated by seven Member Federations until Sunday 15th March 2020. 

This is a nationwide initiative to celebrate the immense growth of women’s football at all levels of the game and acknowledge and promote the important role women play in developing football.

The annual rebel Female Football Awards will be held on Friday 13th March to recognise outstanding achievements by female players, officials, volunteers and administrators within football, leading in to rebel Female Football Round in the Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League.

Football Victoria and Football NSW will host their rebel Female Football Week from 1st to 10th May 2020. The decision on hosting rights to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be announced in June.

2019 Football participation highlights:

  • 11% growth in Women & Girls
  • 6% overall growth on 2018 participation to 1,957,552
  • 35% growth in Social Football
  • 36% growth in Futsal
  • 5% growth in MiniRoos Club & Kick Off
  • 7% increase in Registered Coaches
  • 20% increase in Volunteers

The FFA 2019 National Participation Report can be found here

Images courtesy of FFA

Related Articles

19th February 2020 - FFA and NZF to demonstrate unified bid to FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 inspection team

15th January 2020 - New FFA Chief Executive sets out priorities at first press conference

13th December 2019 - FFA and NZF unite to submit joint bid for FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023

6th December 2019 - FFA confirms appointment of new Chief Executive James Johnson

19th August 2019 - FFA announces independent review of national football teams

5th July 2019 - FFA set to allow clubs to again use ethnic symbols and cultural names

1st July 2019 - FFA agrees to independent management for the A-League

21st June 2019 - FFA reveals framework for national second division with promotion and relegation

7th June 2019 - FFA and PFA announce move towards gender equity for W-League and A-League player payments

21st May 2019 - FFA launches bid to host 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup

12th April 2019 - FFA secures funding to increase female football participation


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