A new group aimed at promoting women in football launched in Sydney today with former Matildas head coach Alen Stajcic one of their high-profile backers.
“How can we open more opportunities and give more access to females in our game, whether it’s on boards, as coaches, as players, as fans, as members of clubs,” Stajcic said in a post on YouTube as part of WiF's promotion material.
“How can we open those doors to make this game accessible to everyone in our country?"
The Women in Football Association was launched by NSW Minister for Sport John Sidoti this afternoon.
WiF is a not-for-profit national member-based association whose vision is "...to eliminate the 'grass ceiling' in the football industry in Australia".
There are eight committee members, including the CEO of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation Lesley Podesta, media identity George Donikian and former FFA Head of Communications Bonita Mersiades.
Confusingly, there is also an FFA Women’s Council, whose independent chair is Ros Moriarty. Their charter is also to advance the cause and influence of women in football.
FFA also has a Head of Women’s Football in Emma Highwood while former Matildas player Sarah Walsh is FFA General Manager Participation.
But, despite the potential for duplication around women in football issues, FFA Chairman Chris Nikou has welcomed the new WiF association.
“From my perspective, anything that encourages and supports more women to get involved in our game, the better,” he said as part of the WiF press release.
Mersiades, President of the new WiF, ran for the role of independent Chair on the FFA Women’s Council late last year after Football Victoria supported her nomination.
However, her nomination wasn’t supported. Mersiades blamed politics in the game as the reason in a post on Twitter.
At today’s launch, Mersiades outlined WiF's aims.
“Women in Football is not about football politics," she said.
"It’s about empowerment, inclusion, diversity, developing the talent pool, getting the best people in the right roles, and ultimately, contributing to the advancement of football in Australia."