The latest AusPlay survey released today by Sport Australia has confirmed football’s position as the number one organised sport in Australia, with more than 1.76 million participants.
Recreational sports such as walking, fitness/gym, swimming, running and cycling top the list of physical activities, with football having almost twice as many participants as any other football code.
The AusPlay survey, now in its third year, highlights the fact that 5.4 per cent of the adult (15 years old +) male population regularly participates in football, with more than 396,000 girls and women participating, one of the highest numbers of any sport. More than 681,000 children aged up to 14 years took part in organised out-of-school football.
The survey, comprising 20,000 interviews, showed that the median spend for an adult participant in football is $300 per year, with the median cost of football for a child being $200.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) Chief Executive David Gallop AM welcomed the results of the latest survey.
“This confirms our own data that football is by far the most popular club-based participation sport in the country,” Gallop said. “As a sport that you can play whether you’re under five or over 75, the opportunities to participate are limitless.
“Football plays such an important role in our communities, providing significant physical and mental health benefits, helping the fight against obesity, promoting social cohesion and multicultural inclusion.
“I applaud the Federal Government for working with FFA on programs to increase participation to improve the health and wellbeing of our nation. In conjunction with Sport Australia, we recently announced a brand new national Walking Football program targeting older Australians, and have received funding for three new safe, inclusive and social football programs for females, ‘Soccer Mums’, ‘Kick On’ and ‘Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Women and Girls’.”
The first three years of AusPlay recorded an increase in the overall number of Australians participating in sport and physical activity, but Sport Australia Chief Executive Kate Palmer gave a word of warning, saying: “It’s a small step in the right direction, but we’re still falling a long way behind when it comes to meeting recommended physical activity guidelines. For example, research tells us only 19 per cent of children meet the recommended one hour of physical activity a day.
“Our general lifestyles are becoming more sedentary than ever before because of things such as technological advances, so that makes it critically important to find dedicated time for sport and physical activity in our lives.”
To find out how you or your child can play football, please go to www.playfootball.com.au.