The sport of Football is recognised as one of the strongest participation sporting activities in South Australia with significant growth being witnessed in the past decade. Such growth, both in adult and children’s participation has created a demand that appears to have no evidence of slowing down.
Given the participation rates and the popularity of the sport on and off the playing field, the sport is enjoying a very positive period and this calls for strong governance and professional administration running the sport and providing the best possible outcomes for those involved in the sport at all levels.
Football Federation SA
The Football Federation SA was formed in 2006 and since this time has been responsible for governing the sport in South Australia with a chartered responsibility to:
- Manage each aspect of football in the State.
- Implement national regulations such as registration, player, coach and spectator codes of conduct.
- Deliver national development programmes and the promotion of performance pathways; and
- Provide a united voice and body for football in South Australia.
One of the early key objectives of the FFSA was to bring together the representative bodies in an effort to produce one cohesive organisation to coordinate the sport. As would be expected this task has been challenging and whilst the majority of the football fraternity have embraced change, negotiations are still occurring with some of the associations. However, the overall membership represented by the FFSA now accounts for approximately 23,000 players plus coaches, officials and administrators with the Senior Amateur and one Association previously affiliated to the Junior League still to become formally affiliated to the FFSA.
Governance and Administration
The Football Federation SA is governed by a Board of Directors. There are currently seven members of the Board.
The administration of the Football Federation SA is undertaken by 16 full time and 4 part time operational staff. The administration of the federation is overseen by a Chief Executive Officer.
Competitions and Program
The Football Federation SA conducts a wide range of competitions and programs for both male and female players of all levels. These competitions and programs include:
- Semi-Professional Senior Men’s Competition – Super, Premier and State League
- Elite Women’s Competitions – Premier and State League
- Social Women’s Competitions – Division 1-5
- Junior Boys – Junior Premier and State League
- Junior Girls – Under 13, 15 and 17 Leagues
- Optus Small Sided Games
- Cottee’s Five-a-side Program
- School Coaching Clinics
- High School Pathway Program
- Development Squads
- State Teams
- Goalkeeping Courses
- Indigenous Programs
- Social Inclusion Programs
- Referee Courses
- Coaching Courses
- Regional Programs
In additional to all of these competitions and programs, affiliated associations are responsible for conducting competitions in their specific areas.
Participation and Growth
In South Australia Football ranks as the second most popular organised sport behind aerobics/fitness activities, with 4.4% of the community participating in either indoor or outdoor football compared with 4.2% who play netball, 3.8% Australian Rules Football, 3.3% Basketball and 2.6% indoor and outdoor Cricket combined (Ibid). From 2001-2009 the sport experienced a 52% increase in the participation rates.
Football also continues to grow in popularity at a national level in terms of club based activities with a 7.7% growth over a six year period from 2001 to 2007. This is the highest growth in all structured competitive sports in Australia and clearly shows the popularity of the game especially when other sports have shown signs of drop off and decline in participation rates.
Of particular note is women’s participation in the sport which whilst ranks ninth in total female participation numbers, is in fact the highest female participation sport of all field sports. Netball remains the most popular form of structured female sport, but the growth in female participation in football is gathering momentum and interest. In 2010, female participation surpassed 100,000 players.
“Football has had the highest participation rates of any sport for boys aged 5-14 years for more than a decade and is also the fastest growing team sport for girls with an average annual growth rate of more than 6% over the past five years.”
FFA CEO Ben Buckley