Football Australia (FA) want upwards of $16 million in government investment for high-performance programs to get the Matildas’ preparations for the 2023 Women’s World Cup off the starting block.
The governing body’s chief executive James Johnson will meet with senior government figures in Canberra on Tuesday to present football’s Legacy ’23 plan.
Johnson aims to secure a funding package stretching into the hundreds of millions of dollars for Australia and women’s football to reap ongoing benefits of co-hosting the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
The pitch focuses on five pillars: participation, community facilities, high performance, tourism and international engagement, and leadership and development – including the long-term goal of a national home of football.
But the high performance investment is needed now for the Matildas, with Johnson describing football as “underfunded” compared to other sports.
“We’re going to need about $16-and-a-half-million for the 2021-2024 cycle to allow this team to unlock its potential and win a Women’s World Cup,” Johnson told AAP.
“The investment that we need is really to ensure that our Matildas can play more matches against unique opponents. This is really important to us.
“And secondly, that our youth national activity is really invested in over the next three years so that we can also broaden the core players that can play at this level.”
The funding injection would allow FA to deliver eight additional domestic Matildas games against top-class opposition, add 35 specialist jobs and expand pathways for younger players.
Funding would also result in the addition of national team programs at the under-15s, under-16s, under-18s and under-19s age groups – alongside the Matildas, Young Matildas (under-20s) and Junior Matildas (under-17s) – and an additional 92 domestic camps and 38 international tours for youth national teams.
Getting the Matildas back in action under new coach Tony Gustavsson is also a focus.
The Matildas haven’t been in camp or played since qualifying for the Olympics in March last year.
Meanwhile, the US, England and Europe’s top teams have met regularly in recent international windows, including the current February window.
The FA is eyeing the April window for matches though Johnson admitted having a squad predominantly split between Europe and Australia presented difficulties.
“There are question marks around activity in April, although we are trying to have a camp and possibly some games,” Johnson said.
“I can say with a high degree of certainty that we will have activity, and a lot of it, starting in June.
“What I would like to see in June, is we have the Matildas together for weeks and possibly months in the lead up to the Olympics that will be played in July and August.”
To deliver that on home soil in June the FA would need government exemptions allowing training and games in quarantine, Johnson said.