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FFA releases final ‘XI Principles’ document to guide Australian football’s transformation

FFA releases final ‘XI Principles’ document to guide Australian football’s transformation
October 8, 2020

Following what it calls “a rigorous and collaborative period of consultation with the national football family”, Football Federation Australia (FFA) has released the second and final iteration of its ‘XI Principles for the future of Australian football’ (XI Principles) document.

Aiming to provide guidance for the FFA’s decision making, the new document has been released just three months after its first version in July 2020.

The updated XI Principles document is the result of 24 direct consultations with various stakeholder groups, including congress members, special interest groups, and Sport Australia, with each providing a unique perspective into the current state of the game in Australia.

FFA Chief Executive, James Johnson, explained that the consultations - which were complemented by a series of online surveys that yielded over 3,100 responses from a wide cross-section of Australia’s large and diverse football community - gathered several key insights.

Johnson noted “the first version of the XI Principles discussion paper was designed to lead us on a path of further contemplation and discovery in partnership with key stakeholders, special interest groups, and the broader football community, so that we could learn more about the challenges facing the game and the aspirations of those connected with our sport.

“Positively, we learned that there is strong support for the XI Principles and the need for a clear direction in Australian football, however there were also many recommendations regarding how and why the document and specific principles could be enhanced.

“We’ve worked over several weeks to integrate feedback into the document, with some Principles (III, IV, and VI) having been amended by title and description to reflect overarching consensus. Additionally, several proposed measures have been added or refined in many principles as we’ve sought to add to the agenda the objectives of our stakeholders.

“In addition to the overarching support for the document, two key themes that emerged from the consultation process were the need for FFA to create closer and more direct links to its community and a more connected game, as well as the desire for FFA to lead transformation in Australian football governance via a ‘One (1) Football’ framework. These two points are central to uniting the game and will be given focus by our Board, Management, and Staff as we continue to put the XI Principles into practice

Since the release of the initial version in July, measures enacted by the FFA have included; the advancement of plans for a ‘Home of Football’ in Sydney, securing rights for two AFC youth women’s qualification tournaments in regional Australia and new commercial agreements for the Westfield Matildas.

The FFA has listed how it has either delivered on or commenced enacting numerous proposed measures and interconnected initiatives since the first version of the XI Principles was released in July 2020.

These include:

• Reaching agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Football Coaches Australia (FCA);
• Advancing plans for a National ‘Home of Football’ in Sydney and supporting Football Victoria to secure funding towards the ‘Home of the Matildas’ project at La Trobe University in Victoria;
• Securing hosting rights for two AFC youth women’s qualification tournaments in regional Australia (Cessnock and Shepparton); 
• Advancing internal and external discussions regarding aligning the national football calendar and the evolution of the National Premier Leagues (NPL);
• Appointing Trevor Morgan (National Technical Director), Ron Smith (Technical Advisor), and Rae Dower (Women’s Technical Advisor) to key technical positions;
• Appointing Jane Fernandez as FFA’s Head of FIFA Women’s World Cup Office and Peter Filopoulos as FFA’s Head of Marketing, Corporate Affairs and Communications;
• Advancing the unbundling of the professional leagues as APFCA assume more control over professional league operational matters such as the negotiation of the Leagues CBA and its commercial rights sales;
• Finalising a new National Teams CBA which maintains gender equality principles;
• On 29th September 2020, FFA announced that it had appointed highly experienced coach, Tony Gustavsson, as the new Head Coach of the Westfield Matildas for a four-year term which will include four major tournaments - the Tokyo (2021) and Paris (2024) Olympic Games, as well as the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 and the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia/New Zealand 2023™. A two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup™ winner and Olympic Gold Medallist with the US women’s national team, Gustavsson brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role;
• Entering into new commercial agreements for the Westfield Matildas; and;
• Making progress internally on the development of a White Paper into the domestic transfer system to implement the recommendation of the Starting XI made in June 2020.

FFA will now, in consultation and collaboration with the game’s stakeholders, continue the process of operationalising the XI Principles. The XI Principles will provide the impetus to crystalise ongoing matters and drive a fresh and exciting agenda. This will include developing a unified direction for the game which will speak to the ‘Who’, ‘When’ and the ‘How’.

Click here to view the final version of the XI Principles for the future of Australian football.

Images: Action from the 2020 NPL NSW Women's competition (top) and FFA Chief Executive James Johnson (below).

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19th June 2020 - FFA agrees new broadcast deal with A-League 2020/21 season set for winter finish

15th June 2020 - FFA Women’s Football Council releases Business Case to transform women’s football

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