The Football Federation of Australia (FFA), which governs football (soccer) in Australia, has contributed just $10,000 to Indigenous football this year — slashing its annual funding in half from last year, the Sydney Morning Herald revealed on March 31.
The SMH said: “Sources suggest the FFA cut its funding for Australia's only rural Indigenous football program - John Moriarty Football — in a week where the organisation has publicly celebrated Indigenous football week.”
Australian football “is at risk of falling behind all major codes in its support of Indigenous Australians with the game making one of the lowest financial contributions to grassroots programs and lacking a 'reconciliation action plan'”, the article said.
Professional Footballers Association, the union representing professional players, raised approximately $8000 this year for John Moriarty Football and the Socceroos donated match appearance fees worth $90,000 last year for the program.
The SMH said: “Despite boasting a large junior participation rate of Indigenous players, compared to AFL and rugby league, football has one of the lowest rates of professional Indigenous footballers.
“Only three A-League players identify as Indigenous Australians, little more than 1% of all senior male players in the last year. There is a greater participation in women’s football, notably with Matildas' stars Kyah Simon and Lydia Williams.
“The FFA unveiled the Indigenous “Football Dreaming” program in 2012, which was set to run for up to seven years. However, federal and state government funding was cut shortly after its inception and the program was subsequently discontinued.”