The Whole of Football Plan (WOFP) is a set of ambitious, yet tangible goals that everyone in Australian Football can work towards over the next 20 years. In developing this plan, Football has made a decision not to be limited by the game’s resources in 2015. We have a firm conviction that Football's best years are ahead of us.
"Football to be the largest and most popular sport in Australia"
more Grassroots participants than any other code
more Fans than any other code
world class Elite Players
These 3 targets are embedded in the Football Ecosystem, which has 9 interconnected components. The ultimate success of Football is dependent on each of these 9 areas working together with a unity of purpose. Women’s Football will not be viewed in isolation; instead it is a critical consideration across every part of the Football Ecosystem.
Over 20,000 people logged on to the Whole of Football Plan portal to give their views on the future of Football in Australia.
Thousands of people took time out of their busy schedules to attend Whole of Football Plan forums across Australia.
Meetings and workshops were held with Football’s nine Member Federations, our Top Tier clubs and a range of football partners.
The consultation was supported by a detailed analysis of the sporting landscape in Australia and internationally; we left no stone unturned.
The Football Community is all Australians who love, watch and play football
Football will have a community of 15 million people by 2035 when Australia’s population is forecast to reach 30 million. This community will reflect the ever-changing diversity of the Australian population.
The Whole of Football Plan evaluates key elements of participation, such as facilities and coaching in later sections, but, in addition to these elements, Football needs to have coherent and coordinated participation opportunities.
Football must achieve the goals of having a girls’ team in every club as soon as possible and then work to have girls’ and women’s team in every age group within each club.
Schools will be given user-friendly tools to support the delivery of Footballing opportunities. The game must build a Football network within the schools system by educating and supporting teachers.
Football will support the growth in social Football by focusing on delivering alternative facilities and participation opportunities. This will include working with businesses and traditional clubs to deliver social football opportunities. Futsal will be a key component of the growth in social Football.
Football will support clubs by making club administration as easy and efficient as possible. Where necessary, administrators and volunteers will also receive guidance on key club functions like finance and regulatory matters.
Participants must have fun from the very first time they play the game. Football’s introductory program MiniRoos will be affordable and at a price point equivalent to other sporting and leisure options.
In 2015, Australia has just 24,000 registered coaches. In the future there will need to be 100,000 recognised coaches who display the essential behaviours and football acumen necessary to coach Australia’s players.
Good coaching will be measured by a coach’s ability to help a player enjoy Football and fulfil their potential at whatever level that may be.
Australia’s coaches are a diverse array of individuals, from ‘Football Helpers’ to ‘Community Committed’, who each require outcomes that are customised to their individual needs.
All coaches will undertake training in essential behaviours; no matter what level a coach is at they should be responsible, organised, positive and player focused.
The National Curriculum is Australia’s instrument to compete on the world stage. The best way to become an expert in the National Curriculum is to become an accredited coach, but it’s understood that many coaches do not want this. As an alternative, we will provide practical education to all coaches.
All coaches will be educated in practical applications of the National Curriculum. This will not be technical education, but simple, easy to follow guides in how to coach players in the fundamentals of Football.
To attract more coaches to become accredited we need to make it more accessible and affordable. The cost of all accreditations must be reduced, specifically, working towards a C-Licence that costs under $500. The C-Licence must be broken down into manageable sections to allow aspiring coaches to undertake the course in a manner that fits around their daily routine.
Every coach in Australia must have access to a coach mentor. Mentors will provide on the ground guidance to coaches.
Will be created to guide coaches in the essential behaviours and football acumen required to coach.
Coaches need digital resources to support their endeavours. Online modules must be available to support grassroots coaches.
For those coaches who are thirsty for knowledge, seminars will be organised at the national and state/territory level.
Elite coaches will be invited to attend National Team training sessions where they will receive real-time development.
Football faces a severe deficit of good quality facilities. The provision of good quality facilities to Football’s participants will be a critical focus.
Football will develop a National Facilities Strategy. This plan will conduct a detailed needs analysis and direct Football towards the smarter use of available resources. Member Federations will continue to be at the forefront of facilities provision and every Federation will have a facilities strategy that supports the local community.
Football will develop an online Facilities Resource that will clearly detail the expected standards of every kind of Football facility. This resource will act as a guide to the Football Community detailing lessons learned and providing templates for practical applications, such as, business plans, permits and funding.
Football will work with schools, property developers and complementary sports to open up access to more facilities for our players. Football administrators must work together and change the way they engage with key decisions makers in Government.
Alternative facilities refer to all facilities that are “non-traditional” in size or surface. The guiding principle of “Anytime, Anyhow, Anywhere” will drive an increased focus on the use of alternative facilities.
Football needs to work towards achieving a retention rate of 90%, up from the current rate of 64%. This will both increase the total number of referees and, through a clear development pathway and coordinated approach to education, improve refereeing standards.
It is the governing bodies’ responsibility to run RESPECT campaigns to educate players, coaches and clubs in the Laws of the Game and to show clear and consistent support for A-League referees.
Referees need to understand the role they play as game facilitators and not just law enforcers. Referees need to create an open dialogue with players and club representatives, explaining decisions and acknowledging that like players, they also make mistakes.
Consistent ill-discipline by players and coaches will result in people being mandated to undertake courses in the rules of the game and to officiate in junior matches.
To improve retention, recruitment and the culture surrounding referees we need to ensure our referees are highly trained and educated.
In the future, we will work towards aligning the administration of referees with the strategic direction of the rest of the game.
Football needs to promote the benefits of being a referee and provide a clear pathway to the very top of the game and the ultimate opportunity of a professional career in a Top Tier competition and international Football.
The Whole of Football Plan has acted as a line in the sand - a new national working party representing Football’s key stakeholders is to be established to undertake a review of the current model.
Once the content of the WOFP is digested by Football’s stakeholders and then translated into specific strategies and action plans for the next few years, it’s important that there is also clarity over the roles and responsibilities for those entrusted with delivering the strategies to remove unnecessary duplication.
While no single answer emerged during the consultation to the question “how should the game be administered”, there was a broad consensus on the principles that should underpin the administration of the game and any reform of current structures. There was also agreement that change is and should be a constant and the administrators of the game.
This model is based on a single national body with affiliated state member federations. This structure leads to duplication in administration, strategic planning, reporting, financial management, marketing and commercialisation and therefore a large number of inefficiencies for the entire sport. Such inefficiencies often impact on a sport’s ability in generating sufficient revenues to be a sustainable business, as such, sports operating under this model are synonymous with ‘bottom-up’ funding.
This model is based on a federated governance structure, but the administration is based on centralised services and management structures. State member federations are still governed as separate organisations. Some of the results from the alignment include: a collective targeted investment approach; shared services; one strategic plan for the sport; a more agile organisation; and an improved approach to budgeting.
This model removes the administrative inefficiencies inherent in the federated structure and retains the one management efficiencies of the National Behaviour model. Each state member federation operates as a branch of the single national body. State committees play an advisory consultative role providing the national body and its state official’s critical local guidance.
Fans are the heartbeat of Australian Football. In the Australian sporting landscape, Football fans are unique for the atmosphere they create and the sense of pride and belonging they display. In particular, active supporters are redefining what it means to be an Australian sports fan.
There will be one brand and a unifying identity that encompasses every element of Football and covers all Football’s stakeholders. The unity of purpose will increase the popularity and visibility of Australian Football. 75% of junior participants will support an Australian Top Tier club.
Australian Football already skews towards a young demographic and digital channels will enable a lifetime connection. The creation of a ‘fan loyalty program’ that delivers value to fans and commercial partners alike is a key objective.
Fans will connect with multiple clubs at one time; some Australian, some international. Clubs deliver that sense of belonging that is so unique in Football and it will be clubs who will be the focal point to drive participants into fans.
Australia’s competitions are the showcase of Football. They are the weekly shop window of Football and their clubs are what make fans feel like they belong.
The A-League will be the most popular sporting competition in Australia.See how...
The W-League will be a fully professional competition.See how...
The National Premier Leagues will be an elite competition comprised of elite clubs.
The FFA Cup will continue to be the unique connection between grassroots and the Top Tier of Football in Australia.
If the Socceroos and Matildas are to win the FIFA World Cup, we need to develop generations of world-class, technically gifted players.
In 2015, only the 24 scholarship holders at the FFA Centre of Excellence in Canberra can be said to be receiving world-class development. The goal is to have a combined pool of 3,000 male and female players from 12 to 19 years of age receiving this level of development.
A “Starting 11 of guiding principles” needs to be followed to ensure Australia can compete with the world’s best
Players who are playing/training for a Tier One academy will be in an elite environment.
Players who are playing/training for Tier Two/Three academies and training at National Development Centres will be in an elite environment.
Players who are playing/training for a Girls academy and training at National Development Centres will be in an elite environment.
The “Green and Gold” colours are a unifying force for the game. Our National Teams will be seen as the “face of Australia” in all its diversity.
Our National Teams must be the role models that our children look up to. There will be equal opportunities for all Australians to represent their national team regardless of disabilities, gender or the format of Football that they play.
The National Curriculum provides Australia with “The Roadmap for International Success”. Australia will play a proactive brand of Football, based on effective possession with the cutting edge provided by creative individuals.
Football will bid to host the Women’s FIFA World Cup as early as the 2023 edition. Hosting a FIFA Women’s World Cup would provide a great showcase for the women’s game in Australia and empower a generation of women to take up Football.
Football must have a home for the National Teams. An Australian Home of Football will provide a focal point for the game’s coaching and player development work delivering thousands of courses a year, a centre for refereeing education and a world class sports science and medicine facility.
"Our best years are ahead of us"
We hope reading the plan has given you the sense that the game is on the move and that our best years are ahead of us. There’s a lot of hard work and difficult decisions ahead but we need to harness the unity of purpose, energy, confidence and ambition that exists in Australian football in 2015.
Like any game of Football, the WOFP will inevitably spark debate and become a contest of ideas where the outcome cannot be easily predicted. That’s the nature of any grand undertaking.