Though the Matildas were stopped short of playing at a home World Cup final by the English, with 11.76 million people watching the semi-final just on Channel 7 alone (not including Optus Sport and live site attendances), it has proved that this sport truly belongs in our country.
It’s a sport that over the decades has been chewed up and spat out by rival codes and the media. But now that Australian football has this golden opportunity of momentum behind them, what do they do next to capitalise fully?
Funding, Funding, FUNDING
Football, compared to other codes in this country, has been suffering from a lack of funding for a while now and from this tournament, there is new interest in the sport. Because of this, there has been some progress made as Anthony Albanese announced $200 million of funding will go into women’s sport which will not only benefit football, but all other sports.
A-League Women Promotion
With this monstrous interest in women’s football, the upcoming A-League Women’s season will be crucial in converting people into week-in-week-out football fans.
I believe that highlighting the results of the games is a crucial element for advertising. The winning penalty taker from the shootout against France was scored by Cortnee Vine, a player who currently plays for Sydney FC in the A-League Women. And of course, highlighting all the Matildas players at some point playing in Australia before venturing to America and Europe.
Make Playing Football CHEAPER
This is going to be a sizeable ask but, with the funding, this can potentially help lower the costs for people wanting to play the sport. Playing football is not cheap after registration and equipment, especially if you’re good enough to get picked for a rep team, where in some cases you need to pay thousands of dollars a season.
Almost everywhere around the world, football is seen as a working-class game, except for two, America and Australia. Which, with the amount of money, makes it a sport not really for the working class like Aussie Rules and Rugby League are. So, moving away from that is going to be major.
Don’t Anger the Fans Again
This one is kind of self-explanatory after the Socceroos run in the Men’s World Cup last year as Football Australia made the decision to make Sydney host the next three grand finals, regardless of any Sydney teams make it.
This decision alienated football fans from supporting the domestic game because before this, the team that finished highest and qualified would host it. And this being a decision that had no fan interest in mind, fans protested and made boycotts of the games. This would inadvertently lead to the Melbourne Derby fiasco where fans from Melbourne Victory would attack Melbourne City goalkeeper Tom Glover, after he threw a flare back into the crowd after it was on the pitch, leaving the match abandoned.
So pretty much, if they don’t do something stupid like this again, they should be fine. But it’s Football Australia we’re talking about, so you never know.
All in all, this tournament has been not only the best Women’s World Cup, but arguably the biggest sporting event and achievement that Australia has made. And with the goals set in this article, we’ll win the whole thing next time.