Football Australia CEO James Johnson believes women’s football is well-equipped to take the next step after the federal government pledged a $12 million care package ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
With Australia set to co-host the event alongside New Zealand in 24 months’ time, the federal government confirmed the grant would aim to support high-performance objectives for the Matildas, Young Matildas and Junior Matildas.
As such, the Matildas will now contest eight additional international matches in preparation for the Women’s World Cup, with international tours and domestic camps to help improve youth players in the pipeline.
The funding, part of Football Australia’s Legacy ’23 plan, is a strong sign of support from the government and one Johnson was quick to acknowledge on Wednesday.
“Last year, we completed a Women’s Performance Gap Report, which offered an objective lens into the current landscape facing Australia’s most talented female footballers, benchmarking Australia against eleven other leading female football nations,” Johnson explained.
“This deep-dive helped to provide us with a strong understanding of where we sit globally, with the overwhelming takeaway that we must collectively do more to provide opportunities to elite, and prospectively elite, female footballers.
“We are thrilled that the Australian government have listened to our research, and have opted to support the Matildas, women’s football, and football broadly as our senior team gears up to compete on home soil in 2023 – an event that will be the biggest on Australian shores since Sydney 2000.
“This funding will also provide the next generation of talent the opportunity to play and develop against the world’s best, ensuring that they can perform and act locally, nationally, and internationally as role models.”
Matildas stars Sam Kerr and Steph Catley were equally delighted with the high-performance funding, particularly as the national team prepare for a plethora of tournaments.
“I think it’s massive,” Kerr said.
“The funding will help us to build the game and have a stronger national team to compete at major international tournaments such as the Olympics, the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, and FIFA Women’s World Cup.
“As we grow stronger, both at youth and senior level, Australians will be inspired to engage with football, get active, and gain a broader awareness of the truly global nature of our sport, which helps people to understand and respect different cultures.”
“There is so much to come,” Catley added. “And a stronger partnership between the Australian government and football will allow us to realise the benefits of hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023.”