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Welcome back to Junior Football in 2016

Friday, April 29, 2016 - 11:01 AM

Junior Football is the foundation of the sport in Western Australia, and it is continuing to grow and develop. It is imperative that we continue to create the right environments for our children to play Australian Rules Football, and this is the responsibility of everyone. Whether it is the parent on the sideline, the youth coach, the canteen manager or the club president, we all play a role in ensuring that we create safe and positive environments that assist clubs in recruiting and retaining participants.

The critical role that football plays in our community is well understood by the broader West Australian community. The game has the ability to draw communities together, it has the passion to ignite emotion and it has the platform to deliver important social messages that few other sports can provide.

These attributes are nevermore evidentthan in the juniorfootball sector of our game. Through the 9 District Football Development Councils and the 8 Regional Football Development Councilsthat support and deliver our game in metropolitan and Regional Western Australia, the opportunity to positively impact our community is a responsibility that allstakeholderstake seriously. The role that these important stakeholders play as custodians of the game is absolutely critical and the WAFC acknowledges this role as integral to the ongoing success of the code.

Football in WA is in a strong position with participation numbers at record highs, our two AFL clubs performing well on and off the field and a state league competition that is well resourced and supported. Whilst these strengths are acknowledged, it is also critical that we accept the inevitable challenges that face our game.

Whilst overall participation numbers are encouraging, we do face challenges in the youth sector. We face challenges in how we develop our coaches, umpires and club volunteers and ensuring that they receive the necessary support to fulfil their critical club and league focussed roles. We face challenges in determining our future funding model that will alter significantly with the introduction of the new Perth Stadium in 2018.

These are just a few of the challenges that the game is currently working on. No doubt, there will be more to come. The WAFC looksforward to working with all ourjuniorfootballstakeholders in tackling the key issues and partnering in a collaborative fashion to ensure the health of our game.

On behalf of the WAFC, can I take this opportunity to thank all of the volunteers and staff who play a role in the delivery of junior football in 2016. Your time, effort and passion is greatly appreciated by everyone in the football family.

Jon HainesGeneral Manager Football Affairs. West Australian Football Commission