Australia wins recognition for women’s development as it expands its activity in Asia

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November 11 – Australian women’s football scored another notable goal with the country’s role in women’s football development being recognised by the 2016 International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Women and Sport Awards.

This follows on from two Australian women players, Caitlin Foord and Lisa De Vanna, being nominated in the final three for the AFC Player of the Year Awards.

Australia’s women are currently the highest ranked AFC women’s national team on the FIFA Women’s Ranking chart while the young Matildas have qualified for the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship China 2017.

In developing women within the game in Asia, Federation Football Australia (FFA) have run an exchange programme with ASEAN members and female administrators from Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam have spent two weeks in Australia, participating in workshops, visiting the Australian Institute of Sport and spending time with FFA, regional association and W League club management. Participants from other ASEAN Member Associations will join the programme over the next 18 months.

AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, praised Australia’s contribution saying: “Australia’s role within Asia has been impressive – particularly in the area of women’s football. They are an important contributor to the AFC, as their successful hosting of the Asian Cup 2015 demonstrated.

“We are looking forward to continuing our close co-operation with the Football Federation of Australia in the years to come for the benefit of football not only in Australia but in Asia as a whole under the banner of One Asia, One Goal.”

The FFA’s activity hasn’t been confined to the women’s game. Their men’s A League, Australia’s premier club competition, signed a historic agreement with Japan’s J League in which the two countries will share technical, marketing and administrative expertise. The deal will also lead to the joint promotion of AFC Champions League games.

The FFA is also encouraging Australian clubs to sign – and develop – players from other Asian countries. The FFA Board has recently decided to move towards introducing the ‘plus one’ rule in the A League in coming seasons which will allow more Asian players to take part in the competition. The A League is reporting growth with increased crowds and television audiences this season.

Outside of the country, the FFA have signed an MoU with the All India Football Federation where it is conducting grassroots participation programmes throughout schools in the State of Kerala.

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