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Lack of female football facilities threatens development of future Matildas in Victoria
While Australians have closely followed the progress of the Matildas at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Football Federation Victoria Football Victoria (FFV) Chief Executive Peter Filopoulos fears that a lack of football infrastructure in Victoria is at a crisis point.
Highlighting that facilities will not be able to cope with the demand created by the Matildas' World Cup campaign, Filopoulos highlights that thousands of boys and girls are missing out because clubs cannot take any more players
With football the number one organised field sport in Australia with 1.8 million participants of whom just under 400,000 of them are women (twice the number of women playing AFL and four times the number playing cricket), Filopoulos is aware here is a large drop-off in women playing football in their late teens because of the lack of changerooms.
Filopoulos told the ABC “the data doesn't lie and we have now reached crisis point in terms of access to facilities and infrastructure to be able to cope with the demand.
"Last year alone in 2018, 12,500 boys and girls missed out on an opportunity to play club football (in Victoria) because clubs couldn't take any more players."
In the past four years, the Victorian Government has built or refurbished more than 150 female-friendly facilities across the state and now requires all developments to meet female-friendly guidelines in order to secure funding support.
Despite the increased investment, football administrators are scrambling to accommodate aspiring future players.
Filopoulos admitted that despite being the code with the highest participation, the game has not been as good as other football codes at securing government support.
He added “we did a facilities strategy here in Victoria which showed that based on our participation growth and population growth, we're going to need 420 full-size pitches by 2026 to keep up.
"There's been a chronic under-investment in our sport for a long period of time and we've started to address that by telling our narrative better to government."
Last August, FFV released its State Football Facilities strategy to 2026 dealing with the shortfall in fields and facilities that currently sees many football clubs in Victoria having to turn away players.
The strategy outlines FFV’s plan to work hand-in-hand with local communities and government to upgrade local football facilities across the state and to ensure they can meet the demands of Australia’s fastest growing club-based participation sport.
Images: FFV released its State Football Facilities strategy to 2026 Shepparton Sports City last August (top, courtesy of FFV) and Peter Filopoulos (below).
12th April 2019 - FFA secures funding to increase female football participation
28th March 2019 - Football Victoria reveals future plans and new board appointments
11th September 2018 - Victorian Government’s low interest loans prove popular with grassroots sport
27th August 2018 - Football Federation Victoria launches Football Facilities strategy to 2026
3rd August 2018 - Football Federation Victoria welcomes funding for new sports lighting
14th April 2018 - Community sport to benefit from new Victorian Government funding
17th November 2017 - New AusPlay figures show football leads sport participation rates in Australia
20th April 2017 - Football Federation Victoria elects three female board directors
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