FFA release ‘XI Principles’ discussion paper targeting future of football

Football Federation Australia (FFA) today released a discussion paper detailing eleven proposed principles to underpin the future development and growth of football in Australia. 

The discussion paper, titled XI Principles for the future of Australian football, has been compiled over several months as FFA has navigated the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has been published as a ‘living document’ which will continue to be shaped by FFA as it uses it as a basis for engagement and consultation with the Australian football community. 

With Australia and New Zealand having secured the right to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ late last week, FFA Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson, said he believes that the time is right to release the document to enable Australia’s broad football community to share their thoughts and make an important contribution to the future of Australian football.  

“Throughout the course of 2020 FFA has received extensive feedback in relation to areas of possible transformation from stakeholders, partners and participants across the Australian football ecosystem,” Johnson said. 

“Based on this feedback, FFA has developed the eleven principles outlined in the document, supported by a range of proposed measures that could be introduced in pursuit of these principles. 

“The eleven principles cover a wide cross-section of the Australian game and seeks to address some of the major challenges it faces today – from the development of Australia’s football identity, to the optimisation of competition structures, the establishment of world class youth development pathways, and the ongoing positioning of Australia’s national teams – especially the Westfield Matildas and Socceroos – as the unifying symbols of the sport.

“Australian football has taken a massive hit because of COVID-19 and there is no doubt the game will feel the effects for years to come. The process of rebuilding Australian football has however, already begun.

“The Starting XI, who provide guidance to FFA on football-related matters, was established in April this year. FFA also recently negotiated a fresh broadcasting deal with Fox Sports which secures the immediate futures of the Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League. And late last week we realised a watershed moment for Australian football as we were awarded co-hosting rights to FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™.


“Despite a tumultuous few months, FFA has felt it necessary to consider the direction and future of Australian football. The eleven principles are the next step in not just the rebuild, but the transformation of Australian football. 


“Each principle is reflective of Australian football’s need to embrace change and innovation as the game emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. The principles are bold and innovative, and we believe will challenge, excite and inspire our football community.

“The game achieved great impetus last week with confirmation that the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ will be heading to Asia-Pacific in 2023. We believe that this document and the discussion which it will generate within the football community will provide an important steppingstone towards developing a united vision for Australian football,” he said.

From Monday, 6 July 2020 onwards, FFA will release a series of online surveys to enable the football community to provide their views on the principles listed. These surveys will enable FFA to capture key trends, and consider what consensus exists among the community regarding the game’s big issues.

All surveys will remain open through to close of business on Friday, 31 July 2020.

The proposed XI Principles for the future of Australian football are:


  1. Build a consistent and strong identity for Australian football which inspires all Australians.
  2. Develop a new narrative for football which signifies a fresh start for the game in Australia, successfully ties together all new initiatives and distinguishes it from other sporting codes in the country.
  3. Establish an integrated and thriving football ecosystem driven by a modern domestic transfer system. 
  4. Create a dynamic and engaging football product by optimising competition structures to connect Australian football; promote competitive balance and tension; promote uncertainty of outcome; incentivise sporting achievement; and prioritise the fan experience.
  5. Create a world class environment for youth development / production by increasing match minutes for youth players and streamlining the player pathway.
  6. Create a strong culture around coach development by emphasising the importance of the role as a skilled position and a vital link in player development. 
  7. Transition towards a modern, fit-for-purpose governance framework for football in Australia in line with global standards and best-practice sports governance in Australia.
  8. Create an operating and governance model for the A-League, W-League and Y-League which is fit for the current circumstances. 
  9. Ensure that football becomes more open and accessible to the Australian community and that cost does not remain a barrier to participation.
  10. Continue the growth of the game by driving participation of women and girls and enhancing existing competition structures to promote player development.
  11. Position the Westfield Matildas and the Socceroos as the unifying symbols of the game and heroes who epitomise the Australian football identity to inspire every young Australian regardless of their ability or background.

Please click here to access the discussion paper.