The Federal Minister for Sport, Kate Ellis, has announced the establishment of the Westfield W-League – a national football league for women.
Speaking at the launch of the Westfield Women’s League, also known as the W-League, Ms Ellis said the new competition would help raise the profile of football, putting the game at the forefront of women’s sport in Australia.
“Women’s sport in Australia has been stuck in a cycle of poor media exposure for some time, leading to less and less media coverage, shrinking sponsorship and fewer remuneration opportunities,” Ms Ellis said.
“For a country that idolises our sporting heroes, women’s sport doesn’t receive the profile it deserves. This cycle must be broken, and the formation of the Westfield W-League is a giant leap forward, and one the Australian Government is proud to support.”
The new competition to start in October will feature eight teams from around Australia – seven teams from the existing men’s A-League clubs, as well as a team from Canberra.
Ms Ellis said this year the Australian Government committed an extra $32 million in funding over four years to the Football Federation of Australia (FFA). This included $16 million to help FFA establish the eight-team W-League, as well as support for the national women’s team, the Matildas, the Young Matildas, and the Women’s Under 17s competition.
“We’ve also pushed for a higher profile of women’s football, including a televised national women’s league,” Ms Ellis said.
“Raising the profile of women in sport is an important challenge for the Rudd Government, and one that we are determined to meet.”