Football Australia have launched the #EQUALISER campaign, an initiative supporting the ‘Community Facilities’ Pillar of its Legacy 23’ Plan, to deliver adequate female-friendly facilities across the country.
It comes after a new Football Australia survey of its registered participants revealed that 65 per cent of respondents said political commitments to fund improved football facilities in their community would influence their vote at the upcoming Federal election.
Football is flourishing across Australia with more than two million participants and, in just over a year, more than one billion fans worldwide will be watching as Australia and New Zealand host the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023TM.
More than 6,000 people responded to the survey. Nearly two-thirds of all respondents said commitments to improve local facilities in their region, or at their club, would favourably influence their vote.
Further, as little as eight per cent of respondents also believe football actually receives a fair share of government funding, compared to other sports.
A new Football Australia report has revealed that only 35 per cent of football facilities across Australia are currently categorised as being female-friendly or gender-neutral.
To shine a spotlight on the urgent need for female-friendly facilities, and to celebrate where progress is being made, Football Australia, in partnership with its State and Territory Member Federations, has established the #EQUALISER campaign.
Several ambassadors have joined the #EQUALISER team to advocate for change, including Stephanie Brantz and Tara Rushton.
James Johnson, Football Australia CEO explains:
“We are determined to be the centre of women’s football in the Asia-Pacific region and have achieved some significant milestones in the ‘High Performance’ and ‘Participation’ Pillars of our Legacy 23’ Plan since its launch in February 2021,” Johnson said.
“The #EQUALISER campaign has the capacity to change female football across the nation in the lead up to the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023TM. Female-friendly facilities are not a privilege, they are a basic and fundamental need in offering women and girls a safe and comfortable environment in which to prepare for and recover from their sporting endeavours.
“With an anticipated 400,000 new women and girls targeted to play football over the next five years, Football Australia and the wider football community are highlighting a genuine need and looking to all governments to deliver an #EQUALISER for female football.“
The goal of #EQUALISER is for all football facilities to be equal, promoting equivalent services and access. Facilities will need to meet a minimum criterion defined by Football Australia and verified through an annual national facilities audit. Each facility will then be assigned an appropriate level of accreditation.
For the last five years, the participation of women and girls in football has been experiencing double-digit growth every year. Global experience and past trends show that hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023TM will turbo-charge female participation in Australia. This aligns with Football Australia’s gender parity target of equal playing numbers by 2027, which in reality means the current infrastructure needs to have the capacity and capability to provide for another 400,000 new female players leading into and post the event.
Football Australia and the Member Federations have developed a list of facilities across electorates which are in urgent need of upgrades.
With the Federal election imminent, Football Australia is calling on all sides of politics to deliver funding commitments to assist #EQUALISER in achieving its goal.