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As the FFA Congress Review Working Group finalises its report for FIFA, we thought it would be timely to re-look at the gender and cultural and linguistic diversity (CALD) of the boards of the major stakeholders in Australia football, ten months on from our initial examination in August last year.

For the sake of convenience and comparison, we have also included the current FFA Congress, as well as the Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC). 

We have included AAFC as it has now been in existence for 17 months and was expressly included in the CRWG’s deliberations at FIFA’s request. AAFC is a properly constituted body with a Constitution and democratically elected Board, and has been instrumental in driving some positive change in relation to matters such as broader representation at Congress level and a national second division competition. 

The CRWG also met with other groups including the new Coaches Association and Football Supporters’ Association, as well as the small and exclusive lobby group that calls itself ‘Women Onside’.

We understand that there will be significant changes recommended by the CRWG to the governance structure of football in Australia, including the A-League. There is also an understanding that by the end of this year, and barring a last-minute and unforeseen action against the CRWG’s recommendations by the existing FFA Board, the FFA Congress will be larger, and there will be more representation of various stakeholders. In turn, that should lead to an FFA Board that is different from its current composition.

The current state of play is provided below with the change from ten months ago annotated. No change is denoted without annotation.

 TotalMenWomenCALD
FFA Congress101003
FFA Board7 (-1)6 (+1)1 (-2)4 (-1)
NSW8714
Northern NSW6512
Victoria6336
Queensland7610
Western Australia6515
South Australia9725
Tasmania7 (-1)5 (-1)21 (-1)
ACT6 (-2)5 (-1)1 (-1)2
Northern Territory4311
Adelaide Unitednot stated  
Brisbane Roar3 (+2)3 (+2)02 (+2)
Central Coast Mariners2110
Melbourne Citynotstated  
Melbourne Victory7613
Newcastle Jetsnotstated  
Perth Glorynot stated  
Sydney FC5 (-2)4 (-2)14 (-1)
Western Sydney Wanderersnotstated  
PFA10 (+1)7 (+1)35 (-1)
AAFC8715
TOTAL111902149
As a proportion of all (known) Board members (%) 81.1%18.9%44.1%

Table 1: Gender and CALD diversity in Australian football stakeholder groups, July 2018

Of the 111 people in Board positions in Australia's top tier football organisations - and noting that five A-League clubs choose not to make their Board compositions public on their websites, if indeed they have boards - less than one-in-five (18.9%) are women, and more than two-in-five (44.1%) are of a CALD background.

The total number, and proportion, of women in Board positions has fallen since August last year due to a loss of female directors on the FFA Board and the ACT. However, other than Football Federation Victoria which has 50-50 Board membership, all stakeholders fall well short of a benchmark of women directors of, say, one-third. This issue is particularly relevant considering the overall rate of female participation has declined in recent years (although the total number of participants has increased), at a time when there is increasing competition for female participants in major spots. 

There are also no women CEOs of state federations or A-League clubs, with positions often going to the same men in a type of merry-go-round of roles. The PFA has a woman, Kathryn Gill, as Deputy CEO who has taken part in many of the CRWG meetings. The Deputy Chair of AAFC is also a woman, Victoria Morton, from South Hobart football club which has seven women (58.3%) on its 12-person board. 

The proportion of people from CALD backgrounds is the same as in August 2017 (44.1% compared with 44.3%). This is less than the number of people who identify as CALD in the 2016 Census (40%). We are aware of only one Indigenous Board member from the stakeholder group, and that is Lydia Williams on the PFA executive board, which is less than 1% compared with the 2016 Census of 2.5% of Australia's population identifying as Indigenous.


For a reminder of how we determined cultural and linguistic diversity, please see our article here from August last year. In summary, in the absence of actual knowledge, we have assumed a CALD background based on family name. All information is derived from the respective stakeholders' websites in July 2018. 


Categories: Analysis | Women | Football Business

ffa governance, ffa congress, gender diversity

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