An open letter to the Football community

To our football family across Australia and abroad

We would like firstly, to send our thoughts to the people, families and communities around Australia and the world who continue to grapple with the many impacts of COVID-19. A special thanks must go to the brave healthcare workers and volunteers on the front-line who continue to place themselves in the path of COVID-19 to save the lives of others. We are all extremely grateful.

COVID-19 continues to affect our lives in ways we could have never imagined. In response to the impact on human health, Governments across the world, like ours, have introduced measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 which have brought society to a standstill. This has resulted in significant changes to our social behaviour and the most crippling economic challenges which this generation has seen.

Football, as the largest club-based participation sport in Australia is doing its part to aid our collective efforts to arrest the spread of COVID-19 across the country by suspending all forms of football. While we are still hopeful that we can restart football soon, we have a civic duty to society and must continue to prioritise the health and wellbeing of our football community and society at large. A strong response now will hopefully give us the best chance of getting back onto the football pitch faster and in line with Government and medical advice. We thank the Hyundai A-League clubs, players and staff who did as much as they could to support the Hyundai A-League and of course, our wonderful community for your cooperation and understanding during these difficult times.

To adjust to our new landscape and to ensure we can continue to service the game, we made the decision to significantly downscale our operations. It is imperative that we adapt to the current circumstances and make extremely difficult but necessary decisions. This has meant standing down a large proportion of our people and maintaining a skeleton staff on reduced hours. We have been extremely lucky to have a dedicated and passionate group of people working at FFA and we could not be more proud and grateful for how everyone has conducted themselves.

We have made moves to stabalise the organisation and put in place a strong short-term foundation which will provide the platform for football to bounce back quickly. This has included maximising our digital products to launch a football-focused digital ‘Skills Hub’ and a partnership which will see us utilise our platform to connect our community to the important work of Australia Red Cross to support vulnerable Australians during these hard times.

We recognise that our best chance of getting through this is to maintain our sense of community and family so these initiatives are designed to ensure that we can all remain engaged and connected through the game we all love. We hope that you can maximise your use of these platforms to ensure that you remain fit, healthy and happy so that when football eventually resumes, you are ready and enthusiastic. Please be sure to continue to visit our websites and digital platforms to ensure you receive the most up to date information and the latest challenges.

We would like to thank our Member Federations, Regional Zones and Associations, and all our clubs across the country which have been extremely supportive throughout this period. It is crucial that we all continue to work together for the benefit of the game. Now more than ever, we need your support and assistance to manage the many challenges facing the game.

What was meant to be a year of celebrating Australian football through the participation of our national teams in competitions like the Olympics and Copa America (for the first time), has now become a case of triage and navigating our way through some of the most difficult times our sport has ever seen. FFA has a responsibility to guide and protect our game through these challenging times. We want you to rest assured that the team is doing everything it can to ensure that our game not only survives this – and we will! – but comes out stronger and better for it.

Through challenging times, it has always been our sense of community and love for the game which have always brought us through. Let these light the way through these dark times. We will be right by your side.

Stay safe and take care of each other.

Chris Nikou (Chair) and James Johnson (Chief Executive Officer)