Manly Warringah Football Association tackles inclusivity on the field


The northern beaches has long been a hotbed for football in Australia and the Manly Warringah Football Association (MWFA) hopes to improve the local football experience even more in 2019.

With an ever-growing participation base, MWFA has demonstrated its ongoing commitment to coach development to ensure all players within the association have access to qualified coaches who enhance the playing experience.

The association’s Grassroots Coach Education program has been a resounding success since its inception and will be expanded even further in 2019.

Manly Warringah Football Association Chief Executive Officer David Mason said the program was central to the association’s ability to deliver exceptional community football programs to all its members.

“We know that to keep player recruitment growing, we need to give our coaches resources and skills to ensure that they can put on training sessions and an environment that will allow players to enjoy the game and improve,” he said.

“We’ve made a call this year to grow the program and we’ve offered to pay for every member club to put two coaches through the FFA C License course.

“The coaches nominated for the course by their clubs will then be responsible for driving coach education programs within those clubs, so we see this as an effective way of increasing the level of coaching within our association and member clubs.”

With 17 clubs and over 18,000 registered footballers in the MWFA for 2018 (up from just over 17,000 in 2017), the new season promises to be even bigger.

The MWFA will launch an over-40s women’s competition this season which will help to keep women who have grown up playing the game involved in a playing capacity, as well as providing a new avenue for women to give the sport a try.

“We’ve always had an over-35s competition for women, but we’ve had a lot of feedback from clubs and players suggesting that an over-40s competition would help to keep women involved in the game even longer,” Mason said.

“One of football’s true advantages is its inclusiveness, football isn’t just for the youngsters, and I think this is a great way to make sure women have an avenue to keep playing the game they love.”

With growing player numbers and competitions, the MWFA also recognises the importance of referee recruitment and respect for officials.

Following the association’s participation in a FIFA trial last season, the MWFA will introduce a player ‘sin bin’ in 2019 to help drive home the message of respect for officials.

The new rule will allow referees to send players off for 10 minutes for any dissent to the officials.

“This is specifically about stopping dissent against referees. We trialled it in our under-18s and midweek Premier League competitions last year and in both we saw a marked decrease in yellow cards for people abusing referees,” Mason said.

“The feedback we received from the referees and all 17 clubs was that this trial helped to deal with a problem so many of them faced, so it will apply to all men’s and women’s competitions this season.”

Anyone looking to take up the sport in 2019 should head to the association’s website to learn more about the competitions on offer and their local clubs: or check out the club listings below.