As we head into 2012, the Football Federation SA (FFSA) is implementing a number of initiatives to provide strategic direction for the development and expansion of football in the coming years.
The first initiative involves FFSA working together with the Office for Recreation and Sport to develop and deliver a State wide Facilities Football Strategic Plan. The first step is to establish a full picture of the current facilities that are accessible to the sport and to identify the future facility needs to ensure that there are sufficient facilities for current competitions and to accommodate the increasing number of players. Another key objective is to secure funding for the upgrade of existing local facilities to improve the quality of venues for existing players, and to assist clubs to accommodate more players. This plan will require a whole of football approach with all stakeholders being invited to contribute.
The need for such an initiative is clear, given that there are now some 23,000 registered players in South Australia. In promoting and developing the game, FFSA visits over 35,000 school children each year and has delivered coaching courses to almost 500 coaches and referee development to 300 registered referees. FFSA also hosted the National Paralympics Championships, the Secondary Schools National Championships and Australian Masters Games.
The second initiative is the development of a new Strategic Plan to provide direction to the FFSA for the next 3 to 5 years and to identify wide-ranging issues that may impact on to the whole of the sport over the next 20 years. As with the Facilities Strategic Plan, this plan will require a whole of football approach with all stakeholders being invited to contribute to the future of football.
The third initiative that will be implemented in 2012 is the Respect Program, a continuous programme to be developed in all competitions and all Affiliated Associations, with non-Affiliated Associations also being invited to implement the Respect Program. Details and information relating to the Program will be rolled out by the FFSA in early March and all participants are encouraged to implement and embrace this program.
The fourth initiative for Season 2012 is the introduction of self-registration for all players, with the exception of the Senior Men’s players due to Professional Contracts. The implementation of this process has been a staged approach with clubs being notified of its impending introduction in 2011. The Self-Registration process will enable players and parents to go online and register with their club with the process only expected to take a few minutes. In addition to providing convenience for players, it will also reduce the workload that is placed on club and association volunteers.
2012 will be a transitional year for the Senior Men’s Competitions. Following the independent review that was conducted into the Senior Men’s Competitions in 2011, all clubs will be competing in 2012 to gain a position into the expanded competitions in 2013. With additional opportunities to gain promotion into the Super and Premier Leagues, this will no doubt be an exciting and challenging year for all teams.
The Girls’ and Women’s Competition will kick-off in 2012 with the numbers in the community leagues flourishing. Although the elite side of the game has experienced some challenges in recent times, the rebuilding of the W-League is progressing, and girls and women of all ages and abilities continue to be attracted to the sport.
The Junior Competition enters its second year under the revamped structure of the Junior Premier and State League. These two structures provide opportunities for players of all abilities to participate in our sport. In addition, clubs are providing opportunities for more players to play the sport through the Small Sided Games programs as more and more clubs embrace the concept of small sided games.
I would like to wish all Football Federation SA Affiliated Associations every success as they embark on a new season. Their contribution to the sport is invaluable.
I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of myself and the Board, to again acknowledge the enormous contribution that is made by volunteers of all clubs and associations. The recruitment and retention of volunteers continues to be challenging for all sports and it will be one of Football Federation SA’s objectives to develop a volunteer program in the near future.
Thank you to my fellow Board Directors, Vice President Morry Bailes, Ted Iuliano, Bev O’Brien, David Hewitson, Oleh Bilyk and Claudio Galloni for their valuable contribution and ongoing dedication to Football in the state of South Australia.
On behalf of the Board I would like to thank and acknowledge the tireless efforts of the FFSA staff whose hard work continues to develop and benefit Football in our state.
I look forward to a successful and enjoyable 2012 for everyone involved in our game.