Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Women's football is crumbling and the silence of FFT has been deafening

Photo:  Deb Banks, FFT's newly appointed Women's development officer, will have her credentials tested by the current situation [PlessPix]

One of the pillars of Football Federation Tasmania’s strategic plan in recent years was the promotion of women’s football.

It was going to be the next best thing to sliced bread.

It was going to be up there with the men’s NPL Tasmania competition in terms of status and support.

FFT have surely failed dismally in this regard.

By any KPIs [key performance indicators, to use the business jargon in vogue these days), FFT have not delivered in this regard.

The much-vaunted Women’s Super League has been reduced to just six teams, with Ulverstone the only team north of Oatlands.

Launceston City, one of the big names in women’s football in times past, have pulled the plug.

And so have Taroona, one of the southern-based teams.

That leaves just Ulverstone, Hobart Zebras, Olympia Warriors, Kingborough Lions United and South Hobart to fight out the State title.

FFT finally came out today to announce that the Women’s Super League would consist of just six teams, which everyone in the know was aware of last week.

Football Federation Tasmania CEO Matt Bulkeley said that, while he was disappointed by the outcome, he respected the clubs’ decisions to step away from the Super League and look to rebuild.

"We’re obviously disappointed that Launceston City and Taroona will not be part of the competition next year as they’ve been tremendous supporters of the women's game in Tasmania,” Mr Bulkeley said.

"Having said that, we understand and respect the clubs’ position.  We remain committed to working with and supporting both clubs and hope they can return to the top level in the near future.

“We also remain excited about the future of football for women and girls in Tasmania.  We have thousands of girls and women playing the world game in our state.  26 per cent of our players in Tasmania are female, which is the highest proportion of any state or territory.  Our next objective is to grow this to at least 30 per cent.

“However, it isn't just about raw playing numbers when it comes to the Super League, but about having players capable of playing at the top level in the State.  The challenge has always been having the development pathways in place so we have enough players to ensure the WSL is sustainable.

“It’s a technical game and you can’t just walk into the top level having never played before, which has made it hard for the likes of Taroona and Launceston City to replace the players they have lost, and it’s clear that there is more for us to do in this area.”

Mr Bulkeley said Football Federation Tasmania was committed to continuing to support clubs and associations with the development of football for women and girls.

“Our new Women’s Development Officer, Deb Banks, has recently started with us and has hit the ground running.  We will shortly be announcing the composition of our new Women’s Standing Committee, and we also continue to work with our clubs on ensuring facilities are meeting the requirements of our sport, especially females,” he said.

“Many of our clubs still only have two change rooms..-  home and away  -  which is really difficult when needing to accommodate male and female teams in a quality, high-performance football environment.

“This is a major reason FFT has been pushing so hard for badly needed infrastructure upgrades at facilities around the state, so we can provide the best possible pathways for our players and we can maintain a healthy top division for our best players to compete in."

Despite the disappointment, Mr Bulkeley said the Super League would still provide a quality competition in 2019.

“We are confident the WSL will still provide a strong level of competition in 2019.  FFT will also continue to evaluate our competitions to ensure that what we have in place meets the needs of our clubs and their players.  This is a process that will continue throughout this year,” he added.

Men’s football also has its problems.

Northern Rangers withdrew from the NPL Tasmania competition, making it a nine-team league instead of the proposed 10-team competition.

FFT have much to grapple with.

At a media conference yesterday, attended by both local television channels as well as print media reporters, a request was made to interview CEO Matt Bulkeley in regard to the Women’s Super League.

He refused the request, which was hardly diplomatic and did nothing to add credibility to the organisation in the eyes of the media.


Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever seen the CEO apart from his Staff!

Anonymous said...

FFT do not help themselves by remaining silent and/or avoiding the media. They are accountable and should have the guts to face questions and give answers. In my opinion the women’s game is not if s high enough standard to warrant a State League. The overall standard of play is not where it should be other than one or two teams. One or two is not enough . FFT must make a decision now and be proactive rather than reactive. Maybe they need to take a step back from State League for a little while.

Rod Fulton said...

FFT look to the future, and think and plan on a strategic level, which I understand is important. However, for a number of years I believe there has been a failure to deliver at an operational level. Forgot the 5 year plan for just a minute, and put the fire out.

Paul said...

I got an idea , how about get rid of the people in FFT that won’t even do their job an front the media but have the audacity to command 6 figure salaries and put the money into the women’s juniors and development areas and get local savvy people to run it , people that love the game like Ken Morton for example , ( just an example ) the current fools do nothing right even the Men’s NPL ! Here is a prime example I’ve sent around 4 emails to them at FFT asking for advice on my 2 boys age group for local clubs since we moved here for good and guess how many replies I have got ? YEP YOU GUESSED IT ,,,,,NONE

Anonymous said...

so clarence wont be a factor in the SWL

Anonymous said...

The Board need to act a broom is needed at KGV far to much dead wood .

Stan said...

7-8 years ago there were 5 staff in Coaching and Development. 1 Technical Director (with no experience in doing that job) 2 NTC coaches who were paid full time to hold 2-3 training sessions and maybe a weekly match, but were paid full-time and did little else. There were 2 Development coaches 1 based in Hobart and 1 in Launceston who visited schools, clubs and associations to hold clinics and courses and train the state squads and SAP. Where are they now? who does those jobs? why is the new Womens Development Officer inexperienced at football when football experience in the game is absolutely critical? What are the KPIs of the full-time coaching staff? When does any of the staff go further north than Brighton? The Board do nothing, the website is abysmal, the information emanating from Glenorchy is sadly lacking and yet FFT charge top dollar for players and clubs to be treated poorly. Bring on the revolution I say.

Anonymous said...

Improvements to the standard of the women’s game should be the priority . Worry about facilities etc later. No point providing upgraded facilities if clubs withdraw teams and the standard and growth ho backwards.