Former Australian national soccer team player Craig Foster has delivered a clear message to Australian politicians, emphasizing that their vocal support for the Matildas must be accompanied by increased funding for the global soccer scene.
Foster has urged the government to intensify their efforts in promoting the growth of soccer within Australia. He made this appeal during the inauguration of a new community soccer field in Sydney’s western region. The funding for this project was secured through a partnership between EA Sports’ FC Futures and PCYC girls, contributing to grassroots development.
The outdoor enclosed pitch, proudly adorned with the name of EA Sports ambassador Sam Kerr, serves as a tangible example of private investment facilitating the expansion and progress of women’s soccer. Despite the government’s contribution, Foster believes there is ample room for further advancement in the years ahead.
He initially implored Football Australia to restructure the sport’s framework to ensure a more effective distribution of funding. Following this, he emphasized the necessity for governments to play a more substantial role, particularly in light of the successful hosting of the Women’s World Cup on home soil.
Foster remarked, “Every Member of Parliament who has displayed a ‘go Matildas’ sign or expressed support on social media, I’ve taken note of them all, and I’ll be holding them accountable in the future, because there are consequences for such actions.”
He continued, “I recently heard Sports Minister Anika Wells acknowledge that soccer still faces challenges. What she indicated was that she receives multiple funding proposals from football, due to its fragmented structure, whereas she receives unified proposals from AFL, rugby union, and others – and that’s a valid point.”
Foster stated, “Individuals within soccer often voice concerns about inadequate funding, and my response is that structural improvements must be prioritized. We need a cohesive national strategy, and this must be established immediately after the conclusion of this World Cup.”
“When this transformation transpires, we will call upon all levels of government, including regional, state, and federal bodies, to recollect their sentiments during this World Cup.”
Foster underscored the importance of capitalizing on the ongoing World Cup momentum, with the spotlight on Australia and the Matildas.
“Australia has only just realized the immense power of football and the impact of a FIFA World Cup,” he affirmed.
“We are all entranced, united, and captivated by the Matildas. The question we all face, including the ACT, is: What comes next? If this is the sentiment that unifies our nation, then what steps are we going to take to ensure that we can sustain and amplify this sentiment?”
Foster firmly believes that this Women’s World Cup presents Australia with its best chance to secure victory in the FIFA tournament. The fervor surrounding the Matildas is unprecedented.
With the Matildas’ journey to the final on August 20th set to unfold on Australian soil, Foster urges those who have not yet joined the supporters’ ranks to do so and make their voices heard.
“The women’s team has previously reached the quarter-finals three times, whereas the men have never progressed beyond the round of 16, and they are far from winning a World Cup,” Foster highlighted.
“This current team is the most seasoned and professional ever, and it’s the first generation to predominantly play for top European clubs. They possess experience and resilience, and, significantly, they have the advantage of playing at home.”
“Home advantage holds immense value and provides a substantial boost. If you attend the matches, make sure your voice is heard. This is a significant opportunity to secure a FIFA World Cup victory.”