History was made today at the MCG with AFL Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick announcing the clubs which have been granted a licence to compete in the inaugural season of the national women’s league in 2017.
The Adelaide Crows, the Brisbane Lions, Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, the GWS Giants, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs were named as the successful applicants after the AFL Commission ruled on the submissions yesterday.
The Geelong Cats, North Melbourne, Richmond, St Kilda and the West Coast Eagles have each been granted provisional licences, and in the coming days will be provided with an outline of how the AFL will work closely with them to develop the talent base and ensure they are part of an expanded competition at the earliest possible opportunity, some as early as 2018.
Specific information will be provided to each club on how they can develop partnerships with state-league clubs, contribute to the talent pathway by supporting Youth Girls Academies, and enhance their capacity to support a women’s team.
Star players Daisy Pearce, Tayla Harris, Lauren Arnell, Brianna Davey, Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Darcy Vescio were in attendance for the historic announcement this morning and are available to media.
A copy of the speech made by AFL Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick at the announcement is provided below.
Clubs which will compete in 2017 are currently attending an AFL briefing to work through the licensing agreement and to discuss the process for recruitment along with other plans for the inaugural season.
Speech delivered by AFL Commission Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick
Good afternoon ladies and gentleman and thank you for being here today for what is truly a defining moment in the history of Australian Football.
Our game is on the cusp of changing forever and changing for the better.
Today we name the teams who will be part of the inaugural season of the AFL’s National Women’s Competition.
The concept of a national competition has been put together in short space of time but this day has been a long time coming.
The number of women and girls playing club football has doubled over the past five years, as record growth year-on-year has seen female participation reach 25 per cent of the total number of Australians playing our indigenous game.
In 2015 there were 163 new women’s teams and more than 318,000 total female participants.
This year we are forecasting 250 new teams will take the field.
Our CEO Gillon McLachlan calls it a revolution.
The AFL Commission would like to thank Gillon and his team at the AFL, along with AFL clubs, for turning a bold plan into what will soon be reality.
A fully fledged national competition where the best women in the country will grace AFL grounds, wearing AFL club jumpers, representing immensely proud and passionate tribes.
Before we announce the clubs who will be part of the inaugural season, I also want to thank those who have been championing women’s football since the first organised match was played in 1915.
The contribution and persistence of these pioneering individuals, who never lost the belief this day would come, will not be forgotten.
On behalf of the AFL Commission, I want express our deep gratitude and may you continue to help grow and develop women’s football at all levels.
Today we are joined by some of the best players our game has to offer, women who are already becoming house-hold names, role models and heroes for the next generation of players.
The establishment of a national women’s league will provide a platform to inspire young girls to reach for the stars and provide another avenue for fans of Australian football to enjoy.
Our game will never be the same.
Thirteen AFL clubs put forward a submission for a women’s licence and all 13 were outstanding.
We have been delighted by the quality of the submissions, and encouraged by the passion and desire each of these clubs have expressed to have a women’s team.
We want all 13 to know that they will be part of a successful AFL women’s league in future.
I will shortly be announcing the eight clubs that will be part of the inaugural 2017 season.
The other five clubs will be granted provisional licences, and we will be working closely with them to ensure they are part of an expanded competition by as soon as 2018 depending on the development of talent within their regions.
We are today committing to those five clubs that we will work with them on developing talent and capacity to be part of the new league as soon as possible.
Simon Lethlean and his team will be meeting with the inaugural eight clubs after this launch to discuss the process from here, and Simon will be available later to the media to answer any questions and outline some of the plans for 2017.
As I said earlier, this is just the beginning.
To those clubs who will compete in the inaugural season in 2017 – congratulations and good luck.
The hard work starts now.
In alphabetical order, the teams that will compete in the inaugural national women’s league are:
1. The Adelaide Crows
2. The Brisbane Lions
5. The Fremantle Dockers
6. The GWS Giants
8. The Western Bulldogs
Once again congratulations to all of the clubs that will compete in the national women's league next year and in the years to come.
Thank you for your attendance for this historic announcement and may today signal a new and exciting era for the AFL