Friday 3 June 2011

The 2011 AFL Women’s National Championships starting in Adelaide on Tuesday herald the start of a new era for female football.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou addressed the National Press Club in Canberra last week and told how he wants to see one million participants and one million AFL members in five years time.

It is hoped a proportion of this number will be made up of females as well as opportunities for women to hold high positions as club CEO’s, umpires, coaches and administrators.

The stepping stones are being put in place for this vision to come to fruition with state talent academies and Youth Girls leagues being established Australia-wide.

To have a national event, which for the first time ever includes every state and territory with Tasmania now taking part, also provides players with a clear pathway of what they can achieve by playing AFL.

AFL Manager – Female Football Development Jan Cooper said the long-term goal for female football is to have a national competition which is watched by thousands at home on television.

“That’s the national vision … we believe it is achievable by 2020 to have a national televised competition just like netball and basketball,” Cooper said.

In order for this dream to come true the standard of female players and the number of participants needs to improve.

This year’s Women’s Nationals will be the first time the best eight footballers from each state will be invited to attend a week-long AIS-AFL Academy camp with the top boys.

With access to first-class coaches, facilities and training these women will be given every chance to improve their football which will have a flow-on effect at club level.

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