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Matildas inspire Grass Roots Funding

New funding initiative launches to support the growth of female grassroots football.

Rae Dower is Football Australia's Technical Director – a position Football Australia was pleased to appointment as Rae is highly regarded as a coach and women’s football specialist. Rae has a yarn about the benefits of the new fund to local football communities and clubs.

Rae Dower, who is also Head Coach of the Australian U-17 Women’s National Team – a position she will retain alongside this newly created position at Football Australia – will provide a position of leadership on women’s football matters relating to pathways, competitions, national teams, coach development, and participation.

In her role as Technical Director – Women’s Football, Rae will also deliver advice on technical matters across the women’s game to all parts of the governing body, encompassing women’s national teams (senior and youth) and programs including pathways through to Future Matildas. Additionally, Rae will provide expertise in the implementation of the women’s football development elements of Football Australia’s XI Principles for the future of Australian football.

Upon making the appointment, Football Australia Chief Football Officer, Ernie Merrick, said the creation of this role reflects the ambition of the governing body and its focus on the growth and development of the women’s game from grassroots to the elite throughout Australia.

Following the success of the CommBank Matildas at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and ahead of their final Olympic Qualifier, Commonwealth Bank and Football Australia are launching the Growing Football Fund.

Football Australia’s Growing Football Fund has an ambitious goal of attracting and retaining 50,000 female participants and allocating grants for community clubs across Australia over the next two years.

Clubs can apply for grants of up to $5,000 to provide support to community football clubs and associations across the country to promote women and girls in football.

With grassroots sport being the cornerstone of many communities, creating new pathways to encourage the retainment of players and new coaches is core to the aims of the fund, as well as the development of coaching support through scholarships, resources, technical training, and networking across the nation.

Women make up 22% of Australia’s participation base with Football Australia’s Gender Equality Action Plan aiming to have 50% gender participation split by 2027

Co-hosting the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup was a major milestone for the sport in Australia. More than 1.25 million tickets were sold and as momentum grew, a new record for the biggest attendance in the tournament's history with 1,977,824 fans attending the 64 games.

As the Matildas reached the semi-final, an incredible 11.15 million people across Australia watch the match, making it one of the most watched events in Australian television history.

With the World Cup done and dusted, the Matildas urged Australians to keep the support for women's football going after the tournament and called for more funding.

The Growing Football Fund commits to the following over two years: • Multi-million commitment to support grassroots football in Australia • Attract and retain 50,000 female participants Up to $5000 grants to community clubs across Australia to fund activities that promote and develop coaching for women and girls’ football • The rollout of a national training program for 2,400+ community clubs across • Australia Introduction of a new, national network of female coaches for peer-to-peer support. • Provide access to C/B Diplomas for coaches of women and girls through scholarships. • The creation of high-quality resources to support the development of women and • girls’ football in Australia.

It’s an exciting time for women’s football in Australia, especially after the CommBank Matildas won the hearts of the nation during the FIFA Women’s World Cup and showed the world how incredible Australian sport is.

Application for grants open on 8 November 2023 and can be submitted at, with grant recipients to be announced in February 2024.


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