Australian football’s greatest asset – grassroots participation – has gone to another level with FFA announcing more than 1.8 million Australians participated in football in some form in 2018. This represents a 13 per cent increase on 2017.

However, despite this boom the governing body has also found that there is an issue within the game that threatens these incredible numbers.

An audit conducted by FFA in conjunction with the member federations has found a facilities funding gap to the tune of $500 million.

In essence, the facilities available across the country are not adequate and are not keeping up with the number of people who want to play football.

FFA CEO David Gallop has asked government to assist with this issue.

“We are calling on government to join with us to deliver improved facilities and programs which can help improve participation even further, drive gender equality, integrate new communities and deliver strong preventative health outcomes,” Gallop said.

The participation numbers include “affiliated football participation” and has indicated increases across the member federations as well as in futsal, school participation and female football.

Head of Community, Women’s Football and Football Development, Emma Highwood said the new data on participation reveals football continues to attract, engage and retain more participants community clubs.

“The efforts and investment from our volunteers, coaches and referees ensure we provide participants with a positive experience, which is highlighted by a 72 per cent participant retention rate. ALDI MiniRoos continues to be our marquee program and the leading junior introductory program within Australia, with over 227,000 boys and girls playing.” she said.

2018 Football participation highlights:

  • 13% overall growth on 2017 participation
  • 1.5% growth in outdoor affiliated participation
  • 2% growth in Women & Girls participation
  • 2% growth in ALDI MiniRoos
  • 30% growth in other formats including Futsal and Social Football
  • 11% growth in Schools participants including School programs and tournaments

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Marissa Lordanic