AFL announces big increase in investment in community soccer

The AFL Commission has enshrined a higher minimum annual funding level in community football that will result in an immediate injection of $17 million of investment into the grassroots game in 2023, a massive 35 percent increase from this year.

The increase solidifies the AFL’s commitment to protecting the level of community investment for years to come, with the Commission endorsing that “no less than 10 per cent” of AFL football’s assessable annual revenue will go to community football in 2023. and beyond.

The decision to earmark 10 percent of taxable gaming revenue to invest in AFL game development projects means that the minimum level of community investment to benefit volunteers, referees, coaches, players, clubs and leagues is set to future and cannot be changed without a further resolution from the AFL Commission, ensuring that community investment will continue to grow as AFL broadcast and commercial revenues grow in the future.

In 2023, the investment will increase from the current level of eight percent to 10 percent, with the overall investment in community soccer increasing from just over $50 million to $67 million. This upgrade reflects recent and projected growth as the game strives to encourage more women and girls to play, officiate, coach and manage, while expanding the game to Queensland and New South Wales, and making it more inclusive for girls. multicultural communities.

The AFL Commission has enshrined a higher minimum level of annual funding in community football.

With overall football revenue projected to increase in the coming years, having a guaranteed investment of no less than 10 per cent will ensure that community football funding continues to grow and support all the volunteers who drive the success of the grassroots game. .

An investment panel including representatives from the AFL Commission and community football will be established as part of the governance model, ensuring that funding is directed towards main focus areas, including:

  • Recognize the changing face of Australia and develop new inclusive football offerings to engage people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities so that we remain a game for all.
  • Create an inclusive and accessible club environment at all levels of football to cater for the growth of the game, particularly to cater for the massive increase in women and girls playing football.
  • Develop credible alternative formats for playing the game, particularly in areas where people have limited numbers or limited space
  • Enhance the digital community soccer experience and provide more online resources for community soccer clubs to support volunteers.
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AFL Executive Director Gillon McLachlan said: “The AFL’s commitment to enshrine investment in community soccer is a truly historic game changer for soccer and everyone involved, from volunteers to players, coaches, referees and administrators at the grassroots level.

“A key priority for us in 2022 was to ensure that community football, which is the foundation of our game, would bounce back and thrive after all the challenges we have faced in recent years, particularly at grassroots level. While the game has come back strong, it has still been difficult for many of the volunteers who drive our game and we recognize that more support is needed.

“Footy means so much to so many people in communities across the country and we have a vital role to play in protecting and growing the game for everyone involved, especially the volunteers, while making sure more people in more places and in more moments they can experience and enjoy our game.

“Devoting 10 percent of gaming revenue to Game Development is a major milestone for the industry to celebrate and signifies the AFL’s long-term commitment to the success of the game at the grassroots level, benefiting current and future generations. future.

“This is the largest commitment ever made to community soccer and it means that as broadcast and commercial revenues continue to grow, so does the AFL’s commitment to supporting all levels of community soccer, from NAB AFL Auskick to talent pathway programs.”

AFL Game Development Executive General Manager Rob Auld said: “The AFL Commission’s endorsement of time honored investment in community soccer shows how serious we as a code are about protecting and growing community soccer.

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“This is a groundbreaking moment for the grassroots game, one that will allow us to invest significantly in the parts of community soccer that need it most and achieve our ambitions, including supporting volunteers, cutting costs and making the soccer experience of everyone. everyone is positive.

“With over 480,000 people registered from NAB AFL Auskick to junior and senior club soccer in 2022, the game has bounced back remarkably well overall from what we’ve seen in recent years.

“Through this investment, the AFL is able to take its support of community soccer to a new level and address the challenges and opportunities associated with engaging new entrants, creating inclusive environments, facilitating participation and volunteering, and developing a new oval for week, every week for five years.

“The entire soccer community will benefit, including players, referees, coaches, volunteers and administrators. This is incredibly exciting for the game and for the hundreds of thousands of Australians who participate and love community football.”

The announcement about the time-honored investment in community soccer comes after a number of commitments have been met to ensure the grassroots game survives and thrives, including:

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