Queenslanders have extra reason to celebrate rebel Female Football Week after the number of women and girls playing football in Australia soared to record heights.
In the national football census released today by Football Federation Australia (FFA), the number of females playing the most popular club-based participation sport in the country rose by 11 per cent.
More than 18,000 women and girls are playing the game in Queensland, representing a three per cent increase on the state’s 2018 total.
The overall number of football participants climbed to 186,835 in Queensland – an eight per cent increase – and up to 1.95 million people in Australia.
Football Queensland (FQ) Chief Executive Officer Robert Cavallucci noted the growing number of female players in Queensland as particularly timely.
“In Queensland we celebrate the contribution women and girls make to our game. FQ’s strategic plan outlines our commitment to the continued development of playing opportunities and strategies for women and girls to be a part of the world game, and it is fitting that the release of the football census coincides with rebel Female Football Week,” Cavallucci said.
“We are delighted to have over 18,000 registered female players and many more involved as coaches, referees and volunteers.
“The eight per cent rise in overall participants in Queensland represents a significant achievement and strengthens our resolve to further extend the game’s reach.”
FFA Chief Executive Officer James Johnson welcomed the results of the census that highlighted significant increases across a number of areas, including social football and among coaches and volunteers.
“The release of the 2019 census data is an important milestone for football in Australia and shows that women and girls continue to join our sport in large numbers, with females now representing some 22 per cent of players,” he said.
“There’s been impressive growth in football overall in the past twelve months including a big increase in social football, as our member federations, associations, zones and clubs work hard to offer a wide range of opportunities for participation.
“I’m particularly pleased that this hard work has resulted in large increases in the numbers of both coaches and volunteers, as they add tremendous value to our game, and I’d like to thank everyone involved for their commitment to our sport.”
Johnson added: “Football is in a unique position in this country, as the largest club-based participation sport, we are also intrinsically connected to every nation on earth through the huge global football family.
“Football provides significant opportunities for international engagement, offers physical and mental health benefits, promotes social cohesion and multicultural inclusion and is a game that can be played by anyone from the under 5s to the over 75s, no matter what your ability.”
FQ is one of seven Member Federations celebrating rebel Female Football Week, which runs from March 8 to 15 in Queensland.