Following hot on the heels of the Socceroos successfully clinching a place at next year’s World Cup, there was a further boost for the game in this country today with the publication of the Australian Sports Commission’s latest official Ausplay Survey.
The survey, the largest of its kind ever undertaken in Australia, shows that football remains comfortably the nation’s largest club-based participation sport with almost 500,000 more participants than AFL and twice as many as cricket.
A total of 1,152, 144 men, women, boys and girls are currently participating in the world game, a figure that seems certain to rise still further as the build-up to the 2018 World Cup begins in earnest.
And Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop is understandably thrilled with the continued growth.
“Football has never been bigger or busier,” he said. “It’s is the people’s game. Wherever you are around this country, whatever your age, background or ability, there is a place for you in football.
“With the Caltex Socceroos qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia on Wednesday night and the Westfield Matildas in world’s best form, we expect to see even more people taking up football over the coming year.
“We will continue to work with our Member Federations and governments at every level around the country so that the necessary infrastructure is available.
“For parents of young children looking for a safe, accessible and inclusive sport, football is the answer – and these figures show just how many people are making that choice.
“Our ALDI MiniRoos program is the most participated junior sports initiative of any code.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Glory’s Community and Development Manager, Callum Salmon.
“We’re very proud of the role that we are playing as a club in the growth of the game,” he said, “and these results are just reward for the hard work and commitment that we are putting in to provide fun and enjoyable learning experiences across all of our football programs.
“Inclusion is a key focus of these programs, with every part of the demographic and every standard of player catered for.”