Australian Football is continuing to win the hearts and minds of Victorians, with more than 461,000 participants picking up the football in 2017.
AFL Victoria’s 2017 census data has revealed a 12% increase in the total number of Victorians playing Australian Football, with more than 316,000 footballers lacing up the boots in community and school competitions across the State, and a further 145,000 participating in our various football programs.
The rapid growth in female football has continued to reach new heights, with more than 108,000 females participating in various programs and competitions.
The number of female teams in Victoria has more than doubled in the last 12 months, with the establishment of 392 new teams in 2017 bringing the total number of female teams to 747.
AFL Victoria Chief Executive Officer Steven Reaper said the huge growth in female football this year is a major achievement for everyone involved the game’s fastest growing segment.
“The integration of female football competitions within community leagues is creating more opportunities for females to play the game and they are taking up these opportunities in droves,” he said.
“Our strong female numbers this season has helped create a complete talent pathway for females in Victoria, with the introduction of our TAC Cup Girls program and increased numbers in our Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s and community competitions providing females with the opportunity to continue to play our game, from juniors right through to the elite level.”
Children continue to flock to the game whether in introductory programs like NAB AFL Auskick and Sporting Schools, with a 43% increase in the growth of participants in school programs and competitions.
Australian Football’s ability to embrace cultural diversity was also highlighted with a rise in Indigenous and Multicultural participants, while the number of accredited umpires and coaches also rose by eight per cent each.
Furthermore, a total of 1,123 people with disability participated in Australian Football in a variety of programs including AFL Wheelchair, Victorian FIDA Football League, NAB AFL Auskick and AFL Blind.
Reaper said the overall growth in Victorian football illustrated the success of AFL Victoria’s many programs and initiatives and the tireless work undertaken by community leagues and clubs across the State.
“To achieve such positive figures in a highly competitive market is a testament to the hard work of our employees around the State and the estimated 78,000 volunteers that drive football in their local communities,” Reaper said.
“The number of football opportunities now available to participants is continuing to capture the hearts and minds of Victoria’s ever-changing and increasingly diverse population.
“With over 1,100 community clubs and multiple football programs available, there is no better time to get involved in what is arguably the most accessible sport for all Victorians.”