Ministry of Sport

Football Victoria Faces Infrastructure Crisis As Kids Get Turned Away From Clubs

Football Victoria’s (FV) chief executive says thousands of boys and girls are missing out on playing club football due to a lack of infrastructure in Victoria.

Exposure of the Matildas’ World Cup campaign has created a higher demand from kids and parents but clubs don’t have room for any more players

Football, or soccer, is the number one organised field sport in Australia with 1.8 million participants.

Just under 400,000 of them are women, which is more than twice the number of women playing AFL and four times the number playing cricket.

“The data doesn’t lie and we have now reached crisis point in terms of access to facilities and infrastructure to be able to cope with the demand,” Peter Filopoulos, CEO of FV told the ABC.

“Last year alone in 2018, 12,500 boys and girls missed out on an opportunity to play club football [in Victoria] because clubs couldn’t take any more players.”

The news comes only a month after the launch of an elite development pathway for Victoria’s female football stars of the future – the Emerging Matildas program.

In the past four years, the Victorian Government has built or refurbished more than 150 female-friendly facilities across the state and now requires all developments to meet female-friendly guidelines in order to secure funding support.

Despite the increased investment, football administrators are scrambling to accommodate the next wave of aspiring Matildas.

“We did a facilities strategy here in Victoria which showed that based on our participation growth and population growth, we’re going to need 420 full-size pitches by 2026 to keep up,” Filopoulos said.

“There’s been a chronic under-investment in our sport for a long period of time and we’ve started to address that by telling our narrative better to government.”

Females playing an organised field sport

  • Football — 400,000
  • AFL — 177,000
  • Rugby league — 43,000
  • Rugby union — 34,000
  • Cricket — 90,000

Source: AusPlay survey 2018

Shaun Carney

Shaun Carney