The Asian Football Confederation Grassroots Charter was introduced to support Member Associations in implementing grassroots programs and activities.

Earlier this year AFC officials visited NSW to assess FFA’s application with site inspections to see the programs in action.

FFA CEO David Gallop said one of the FFA’s strategic priorities is to build a stronger connection between grassroots and the professional game and this recognition by the AFC is a strong endorsement of the positive work undertaken in this area.

“We are proud that AFC has recognised the significant work that FFA does in the grassroots community space," he said today.

"Achieving the highest gold standard is a great achievement and we look forward to doing more work in Australia to service the grassroots, and to share our knowledge in this area with AFC and its Member Associations.

FFA Head of  Football Development Emma Highwood said the AFC Grassroots Charter aims to make football the number one sport on the continent by increasing participation at all levels.

She said one way which the FFA was able to drive this is via the Community Services Fund.

“This fund is focused on servicing the grassroots, rather than growth projects and includes facilities, club development, referees and coaching,” she said.

“The Community Services Fund allocates $2.5 million each year to Member Federations to help our football community grow our great game and one of the key objectives is getting as many boys and girls playing as possible.”

Recent programs include:

• Football NSW ‘Let’s light up Football’ Fund with 17 NSW clubs funded to improve flood lighting

• Introduction and expansion of Club Development officers in Victoria, through the Club Engagement Programme in Northern NSW, South Australia and Western Australia

• Expansion of the Club Coach Coordinator Program, particularly across Western Australia, Northern NSW, NSW and Victoria

• Increased investment in referee recruitment and development across all Member Federations

•  Development of a Multicultural program to provide ALDI MiniRoos football for new arrival refugees aged 5-11

Highwood said this recognition by the AFC is endorsement for those who contribute to the development of Grassroots Football including the Member Federations, Local Associations and Clubs and the Football Family.