FOOTBALL Federation Australia CEO David Gallop has announced a restructure of community football programs to enhance the growth of the game in all its forms.
Gallop highlighted the increasing popularity of indoor football as an example of the FFA’s need to keep pace with the changing face of the game.
As part of the overhaul a new Community Football Department will be established, replacing the existing game development structure.
Former National Club Development Manager, Emma Highwood, will lead the new department and has been appointed to FFA's senior management team.
Gallop said: "My priority is to maximise the opportunities that flow from Australian football’s single biggest advantage in a very competitive sports landscape – the popularity of the game at the grassroots and our huge participation base.
“Our Member Federations, Associations and Clubs across the nation deserve the credit for making football such a vibrant part of Australian society, but it’s the right time to take the next big step forward.
“My review of community football has identified a need to change the way FFA consults, engages and implements its plans.
“The huge growth of indoor football largely outside of the formal structures of the game is one case which shows why we need to adapt if the game is to continue to grow and prosper.”
The revamp will change FFA’s management structure, priorities and strategies covering a wide range of grassroots activities, including;
- Player retention and participation growth in club, school, indoor, beach and social football
- A national facilities development plan in conjunction with all tiers of government
- Implementation of a Multicultural Football Strategy
- Collaboration with Member Federations and associations
- Club development and the roll out of the National Competitions Review
- Coach and referee recruitment and education
- Women’s football from juniors to over-age
- Engagement via digital channels, in particular MyFootballClub
- Inclusive initiatives for indigenous and disabled communities
Highwood, who has been with FFA for four years, spearheaded the roll out of the MyFootballClub national online registration portal, which this year will cover more than 500,000 participants. She also played a pivotal role in the implementation of the National Premier Leagues model.
“I’m delighted to promote Emma Highwood to this new position and have her join my senior management team,” Gallop said.
“Emma is a highly motivated and intelligent operator who has vast experience in community football, including women’s football.
“Her work with member federations, associations and clubs on the MyFootballClub and National Premier Leagues projects has earned her respect among our stakeholders and that will give Emma a head start as she begins this new challenge.”
Highwood thanked the CEO for the opportunity to develop fresh national strategies for community football.
"The popularity of football is huge, but it's now much more than a traditional outdoor experience,” Highwood said.
“Whether it's in schools, indoor, corporate or social park football, FFA needs to respond to the changing preferences of the football community and provide a connection to the game's formal structures."
Highwood’s appointment is effective immediately.