The Central Coast Mariners have received confirmation from the Football Federation of Australia (FFA) that they will not be moving to a ten team format for the 17/18 Westfield W-League season – delaying the introduction of a CCM W-League team.
The FFA confirmed the following:
- The 2017/18 season will remain a nine team competition and this position will be reviewed again in 12 months time;
- There remains the opportunity for the Mariners to return to the competition in the 2018/19 season;
- That the provision of additional change rooms at Central Coast Stadium prior to the 18/19 Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League seasons is paramount to CCM successful inclusion in the W-League competition.
- Adequate player facilities (change rooms) are fundamental for FFA to ensure Central Coast Stadium can host Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League double headers.
In response Central Coast Mariners would like to ensure our Members, the FFA, elected representatives, football fans, players and stakeholders are aware of the following:
- The Central Coast Mariners are ready NOW and will remain ready to enter a highly competitive elite W-League team that represents our region;
- We have already heavily committed resources and over 2 years of strategic planning to make sure our W-League side is successful right from the start;
- Our financial capacity and commitment is equal to highest financial investment by clubs currently in the W-League;
- We have multi-year major sponsors ready to ensure long term financial stability;
- Our strategy places top priority on player’s salaries, careers and playing conditions;
- Our women’s player pathway structures is designed to support our W-League side and ensure quality players are available now, with plenty more being developed everyday;
- Our commitment to women’s football is concrete and our aspirations lay in giving local girls and young women a chance to play for the Mariners;
- To coincide with this, we aspire to create Matildas. Our expertise in player development has already been proven and is demonstrated by the number of how many Socceroos we have produced in our short past and implore the FFA to seriously consider how an improved and balanced 10 team W-League competition will improve the standard of women’s football at a time where the bid for the 2023 Women’s World Cup is being prepared;
- Our strategy is endorsed by and was built in strong collaboration with the Professional Footballers Association (PFA);
- We desperately need improvements at Central Coast Stadium to ensure we are compliant with FFA requirements and can facilitate women’s football at the highest level;
In addition the Central Coast Mariners CEO Shaun Mielekamp had the following comments:
“Whilst we are extremely disappointed by the decision to delay the introduction of a Mariners W-League team for the 2017/18 season, we are determined to push forward and continue with our plans to join the W-League and play our part in the growth of women’s football.
We will not give up on this and will continue to work closely with every player, coach, administrator, stakeholder and potential sponsors who have helped us over the last two years with the aim of creating a W-League team that we can be proud of.
A major factor in the delay is the uncertainty surrounding the current change room situation at our stadium. Whilst we have notional assurances additional change rooms are part of the Stadiums future plans, the reality is that by October this year when we need to have the stadium ready for W-League, it simply won’t be. There was easily enough time to get this done and there is easily enough funds, we even offered to pay for it ourselves but this offer was rejected by Central Coast Council. Our politicians at all levels, from all sides, need to link arms for progress here. We need your actions not just your kind words;
We fully support the PFA in their strategy and stance for better conditions for elite female players. Our aim is to be the flag bearer for the PFA in how to make sure that careers are made in the Women’s game, not just participants.
We know there are a large number of players who deserve the opportunity to play in the national competition, along with more coaches, better resources and stronger pathways. This is a step in the right direction that will help the Women’s game grow at a time when the competing codes are moving much faster than we are.
We will get there and won’t stop until we are there. Our licence references that we can have a W-League side and we intend to activate that right.”