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Matildas Olympic preparations link with grassroots female football boost
As the Matildas kick off final preparations in their bid for a medal chance at the Rio Games, Federal Minister for Sport Sussan Ley has announced the latest round of funding for the national side and other Olympic hopefuls, and renewed support for grassroots female football participation.
Welcoming the Matildas to Canberra’s Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) for the first of five pre-Olympic camps, Minister Ley revealed the squad will be among more than 600 of Australia’s elite athletes to benefit from Federal Government direct athlete support grants (dAIS), totalling $12 million annually.
Minister Ley stated “it has been fantastic to watch the rise of the Matildas up the world rankings over the past 12 months but, as both Sport and Health Minister, it is equally pleasing to see the soaring growth in female football participation at a junior level.
“The recent #girlsmakeyourmove campaign shows the Turnbull Government is committed to increasing girls involvement in sports activities, and it’s tremendous to see female football flourishing from our young MiniRoos through to the Matildas.
“The national team is a great success story under dAIS, with funding for the squad doubling in the past year to about $330,000, sending this year’s Commonwealth commitment for the Matildas to $1.7 million.
“This is reflective of the growing status of the team – they go to Rio in August with our best wishes and support, looking to become the first ever Australian football team to claim an Olympic medal.”
Minister Ley also unveiled Football Federation Australia’s latest resource to help Australia’s 2300 community clubs ‘The Women’s Football Development Guide’.
She added “the most recent research had soccer just ahead of netball as the highest participation sports for junior young females (six to 13 years), and the girls in both codes are lucky to have inspiring role models at the top level with our Matildas and Diamonds squads shining on the international stage.
“Female football has been one of the great growth stories in Australian sport and more than 20% of football participants in Australia are now female.
“I commend the FFA for looking at ways to not only meet this demand but continue this upward trend in female participation.”
The resource provides advice and strategies for Australia’s 2,300 community clubs on recruiting and retaining female participants, coaches, administrators and officials.
The Women’s Football Development Guide contains examples of strategies, initiatives and real life situations to assist clubs in developing programs aimed at servicing and growing the women’s game.
Click here to download the resource.
Distributed by the AIS and known as dAIS grants, the funding will benefit more than 600 athletes bound for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio, across some 30 sports.
Of the 620 athletes receiving dAIS in this latest round, 320 are female and more than 160 are Para-athletes.
The grants are based on performance but are also subject to an income eligibility test, ensuring grants go to athletes who need support.
dAIS Grants are allocated every six months to athletes with podium potential and to emerging talent, with $41 million shared among more than 1,100 Olympic and Paralympic athletes in the four-year cycle leading up to Rio.
The successful recipients are in the process of being informed of their funding, with a full list of athletes to be published on the Australian Sports Commission website at www.ausport.gov.au on 16th May
For further information and activity updates on #girlsmakeyourmove can be viewed at www.health.gov.au/internet/girlsmove/publishing.nsf/Content/home
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