Growing the Game

Women’s football is experiencing a transformative moment with unprecedented growth in its popularity, public profile, commercial interest and participation. 

With almost 100 years of history, Australia and New Zealand have been pioneers in the women’s game and demonstrated a strong commitment to promoting the development of women’s football across the Asia-Pacific. 

Australia and New Zealand are situated in two confederations – the Asian Football Confederation and the Oceania Football Confederation, respectively – containing an estimated 853,348 female players playing organised football (FIFA Women’s Football Member Association Survey Report 2019).

Football in Australia has strong foundations with 1.85 million people involved in the sport.  This makes football the biggest participation sport in the nation, with Australia one of only eight nations globally with over 100,000 registered female players. 

In New Zealand, football is a popular participation sport with 150,000 people taking part in the game at all levels.  The nation has one of the highest percentages of female executive committee members of any FIFA Member Association, driving the rising participation of women and girls and important leadership and visibility outcomes as a gender equality pioneer. 

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Emergent Asia-Pacific partnerships

Australia and New Zealand are united in the efforts to develop women’s football in the Asia-Pacific region. The Australia New Zealand Bid has an established history of leveraging our strong government, NGO and confederation relationships to strengthen and assist other nations. 

New Zealand has been an active OFC partner in the Just Play programme, which has reached over 300,000 children – with 48% girls’ participation – from 11 countries. 

While the programme has been instrumental in providing opportunities for girls to play football, it has also been influential in optimising the social impact from participation including:

  • health and wellness
  • gender equality; and
  • social inclusion. 

The shift in perception of women and girls is evidenced by the Solomon Islands Football Federation, Papua New Guinea Football Association and National Federation America Samoa, all joining New Zealand as OFC member associations with over 20% female representation in executive committee members.

Australia has also been active in their collaborative efforts on capacity building and participation growth initiatives within the AFC and OFC, including: 

  • partnering with the Lao Football Federation to provide opportunities for the Junior Matildas to deliver skills clinics for youth footballers in Laos
  • Junior Matildas Head Coach Rae Dower and Matilda Emma Checker presented a series of coaching workshops and skills clinics alongside the All India Football Federation.  The five-day program engaged more than 30 coaches and 250 children across 3 cities
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Rae Dower in India teaching a skills clinic
  • leveraging a partnership with the Australian Government to deliver the ‘Step Up’ in the Pacific. This initiative coincided with the Junior Matildas playing in the region, and engaged support staff in a substantial program of activities including:
    • training for 74 coaches and referees
    • 33 community activities
  • Australia’s undertaking to empower women in football at a ‘Women’s Development Workshop’.  This has resulted in 18 women from 9 ASEAN Member Associations obtaining development experience through interactions with FFA staff, W-League club personnel, members of Australian national teams, as well as media and corporate representatives
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  • partnering with the Football Association of Indonesia to deliver coaching education to over 500 female and male coaches and teachers in the East Java and Maluku regions.

Our historic joint Bid is passionately working to maximise the potential of women’s football in the Asia-Pacific region to accelerate FIFA’s global vision for women’s football.  A FIFA Women’s World Cup™ placed in the geographical centre of two confederations comprising huge growth potential, would fast-track the progression of the game and generate lasting social impacts.