On the back of the Matildas success in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Football Federation of Victoria (FFV) has launched a Women in Football Network, with the inaugural breakfast held last week at the MCG.
With the help of Vicsport, FFV has launched the WFN as a way of bringing together administrators, coaches, and referees.
The FFV Women in Football Network (WFN) was officially launched on Saturday June 13, at the MCG during a breakfast and live-screening of the Matildas' FIFA Women's World Cup group stage victory against Nigeria. Attendees included the Minister for Women Hon. Fiona Richardson, Supreme Court Justice Rita Zammit, Vicsport Chairperson Margot Foster AM, School Sport Victoria CEO Jude Maguire, and FFV President, Board Members and Standing Committee.
Since 2008, Vicsport has led a Female Administrators Network, bringing together likeminded women who work within the Victorian sport industry to provide networking and professional development opportunities. Based on this success, Vicsport has supported a small number of SSAs to develop sustainable women’s sport networks and continue the development of women in sport at a grassroots level in Victoria. FFV is one beneficiary of this program.Over 100 women have already registered to be a part of the network, with more than 70 turning up for the launch.
FFV CEO Peter Gome said the inaugural event was a resounding success, and an acknowledgement for women who give so much to the beautiful game. "It is well known that women in all sports - including football - are underrepresented and often isolated," Gome said. "It's time for change. Our Women in Football Network invites all women, regardless of role, to get together to share ideas, learn, and support each other". Despite 45% of administrators being female, the stats are overwhelmingly underrepresented with just 17% of players, 7% of coaches and 9% of referees are females.
Women and Girls' Development Officer Ash Callaghan said the aim was to capitalise on the growth of the women’s game, and give women somewhere they can feel included and welcome. “The Women in Football Network will create a driving force to better serve and engage women and girls,” Callaghan said. “It will kick-start a better experience for females on and off the field.”
Tal Karp, also a former Matilda, and current FFV board member, spoke about the potential for growth and development in the women’s game. “For our game to move forward, we really need to engage women in every facet. And we need to do it in a better way than we have before. That’s where the WFN comes in,” Karp said. “The Network is about bringing together key women across our game to share knowledge and ideas to work together to address barriers to support each-other and to keep making strong advances in the women’s game. And why not dream big?”
Due to the Matildas history making success over Brazil in the Women's World Cup round of 16, making them the first Australian football team to have won a knockout match in a World Cup tournament, FFV have already received numerous enquiries from individuals wanting to join the network. They play the Quarter Final on Saturday – coverage is LIVE on SBS ONE, kick-off 6am.
The breakfast at the MCG was just the starting point for the WFN, with a series of consultation forums planned for July and August.
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