Earlier today, Football Federation of Australia (FFA) announced a plan to reinstate funding for the Pararoos, Australia’s 7-a-side football team, that was cut last year by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC).
The Football Federation of Australia and Australian Sports Foundation will work together to create a new funding model that will inject AU$300,000 into the team. This model will allow the team to reform, after having gone dormant following the ASC decision to cut AU$175,000 from the team’s budget after they failed to meet performance expectations. Much of this new funding is expected to come from donations, with the public being requested to support the team by donating through https://asf.org.au/project/go-pararoos/ .
Australian Sports Foundation Chief Executive Officer Patrick Walker was quoted by the FFA as saying, “This campaign is important for ensuring the Pararoos are able to compete at the highest level, just like the Socceroos. However, if anything, it is more important for the inspiration the Pararoos provide to all Australians challenged by disability, I urge the football community to get involved and support the Pararoos.”
FFA CEO David Gallop was quoted by the FFA as saying, “I would like to thank all the supporters of the Pararoos, and in particular the efforts of young Claire Falls from the ACT, who signed petitions, contacted media organisations and made representations to elected members of Parliament in championing the cause during the difficult times. […] As a result of your passion, we have the confidence that the Pararoos will have a long and bright future.”
The team was without a head coach following the cuts. Kai Lammert, an assistant coach for the team, was named as the near head coach earlier today. Two Socceroos players, Mark Bresciano and Mark Schwarzer, have been named team ambassadors. The team’s reinstatement also comes with a plan to bring the sport under the FFA national curriculum, and to get a women’s program underway in the next three years.
Following the budget coach, more than 80,000 people signed a petition requesting the funding for the team be reinstated. Claire Falls, a vision impaired 12-year-old Australian football player, called on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to reinstate funds, and received national attention for her efforts.
The long term plans for the Pararoos are still in doubt, with 7-a-side football having been cut from the Paralympic program for 2020, with the IPC citing a lack of countries competing internationally and a lack of sustainability of the sport being among the reasons cited. The sport was joined by sailing, who dealt with similar accusations when they too were cut from the program.