Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports

Member Sports


Australian Football League

The AFL is the administrator, operator, promoter and ultimately the custodian of the elite national league of Australian Football. Australian Football is one of the most popular sports in Australia in terms of match attendances, broadcast audiences and participation rates. In 2011, 7.14 million people attended AFL matches, the national weekly television audience was around 4.7 million and there were nearly 800,000 registered participants in Australia and 45,000 overseas.

Australian Football has a long, proud history. In 1857, Tom Wills returned to Australia after schooling in England where he was football captain of Rugby School and an accomplished cricketer. Initially, he advocated the winter game of football as a way of keeping cricketers fit during the off-season. The new game was devised by Wills, his cousin H.C.A. Harrison, W.J. Hammersley and J.B. Thompson.

The Melbourne Football Club was formed on August 7, 1858—the year of the code's first recorded match between Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar School. The game quickly blossomed with new clubs being formed and in 1866 an updated set of rules was put in place and competition started.

The Victorian Football League (VFL) was established in 1896 and the following year the League's first games were played among the foundation clubs—Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon, Fitzroy, Geelong, Melbourne, St Kilda and South Melbourne.

In 1989, in parallel with the commencement of a new governance structure under an independent Commission, the VFL evolved into the AFL as the league expanded into a national competition.

The AFL now has 18 clubs located in five States and holds matches across Australia. The AFL generates significant revenue for participating clubs and to develop the code through licensing media and broadcasting rights, club memberships, match attendance, corporate sponsorships and hospitality events and merchandising. The AFL reached revenue in 2011 of $234 million and achieved a broadcasting rights agreement for the 2012-2016 period for an Australian record $1.253 million.

Australian Football is a major sport in Australia and is among the largest individual business sectors within the sports and recreation industry. It is an industry sector which supports more than 4,400 full time equivalent jobs (excluding players and umpires) and which is estimated to have generated $4.200 billion in financial contribution to the Australian economy in 2011.

Andrew Dillon, Chief Executive Officer


Cricket Australia

Cricket Australia (CA) is the custodian of cricket in Australia. CA's vision is for cricket to be Australia's favourite sport, which means being a sport for all Australians of all backgrounds.

CA's objective is to develop the game of cricket in Australia with the aim of cricket being Australia's number one sport for viewership, fan passion, participation and men's and women's national team success.

More than 880,000 Australians are registered participants in the game of cricket, making cricket Australia's number one sport for organised participation. Some 1.4 million people attended a cricket match in 2011-12 and cricket had the highest television audience reach of any sport in 2011-12, exceeding 18.4 million.

The Australian men's and women's cricket teams continue to excel at international level, most recently in 2012 with the women's team, the Southern Stars, retaining their crown as the World T20 champions for the second tournament in a row.

In 2015, Australia will host the world's 4th biggest sporting event when the ICC Cricket World Cup is held in venues across Australia and New Zealand.

Member associations

Cricket Australia is made up of six member associations:

  • Cricket New South Wales
  • Queensland Cricket
  • South Australian Cricket Association
  • Cricket Tasmania
  • Cricket Victoria
  • Western Australian Cricket Association

The Australian Capital Territory Cricket Association and the Northern Territory Cricket Association are non-member associations.

Australian cricket employs more than 600 staff across the country (excluding players, coaching staff and umpires) and supports an extensive volunteer base at the local and club level.

Board of Directors

Following a recent governance restructure, the Cricket Australia Board comprises six State-appointed Directors and three independent Directors. The Board currently comprises five Directors who are independent of state association roles and four Directors who also sit on their respective State Cricket Association Boards.

Nick Hockley, Chief Executive Officer


Football Federation Australia

Football Federation Australia (FFA) is the governing body of football in Australia and is a member of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the international governing body for football.

While FIFA has the FFA and 207 other national associations as its members, it also recognises six confederations loosely grouped along continental lines. Each FIFA member is also a member of a confederation. FFA is a member of the Asian Football Confederation, having joined that body on 1 January 2006.

FFA was established in 2004 and is a member-based organisation. FFA's membership is loosely based on Australia's federated system of government and is comprised of New South Wales, Northern New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania and Northern Territory. Each of these governing bodies has a commitment to comply with the FFA constitution, applicable statutes, by-laws and regulations and is responsible for the game within their respective geographic regions.

In 2005, FFA established Australia's first ever fully professional national football league – the Hyundai A-League. Today, the Hyundai A-League consists of the following football clubs: Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar, Central Coast Mariners, Melbourne Heart, Melbourne Victory, Newcastle Jets, Perth Glory, Sydney FC, the Western Sydney Wanderers FC and Wellington Phoenix. FFA's membership also includes a representative of the clubs participating in the Hyundai A-League.

FFA's long-term vision is to establish Australia as a truly world-class football nation.

In order to achieve this vision, FFA's business operations are structured across three core strategic pillars:

  1. National Teams & Elite Player Development,
  2. A-League & Competitions, and
  3. Football Community.

In 2011, FFA was awarded the right to host the AFC Asian Cup in 2015. The AFC Asian Cup 2015 will be the first ever senior men's football tournament staged in Australia and is expected to attract a cumulative global television audience of over 1 billion people.

James Johnson, Chief Executive Officer

National Rugby League


From its flagship competition the Telstra Premiership, to the unrivalled passion of the Holden State of Origin series, the honour of representing the Holden Kangaroos and to state league competitions and the simple joy of boys and girls just having a game - Rugby League has a place for everyone.

Over thirty weeks each year the Telstra Premiership brings together millions of fans across Australia and New Zealand in a competition that is breathtaking in terms of the speed and skill of its athletes and captivating in terms of the closeness and unpredictability of its matches.

Each of the sixteen teams has featured in the finals over recent years with fans across Australia and New Zealand looking to each and every game with a genuine sense that their side can win.

Since Rugby League was introduced as a professional sport in Australia in 1908 it has always had a focus on innovation, entertainment and professionalism which saw it heralded as the Greatest Game of All.

Today that commitment and the closeness of the Telstra Premiership and Holden State of Origin contests are inspiring an era of record support across membership, crowds and television audiences.

It is also inspiring more and more young Australians to play the game with Rugby League development programs reaching more than 1.4million Australians a year and with 500,000 of those taking part in a club or school competition.

Beyond the playing field, Rugby League has been internationally recognised for its commitment to making a difference in people's lives through education, leadership, nutrition and indigenous programs.

In an era of unprecedented success for the code there is also a strong commitment to setting new standards in sporting governance.

The Australian Rugby League Commission established in 2012 has united the various levels of the game under one governance structure and under one strategic plan to grow the game.

Its mission is to bring people together and enrich their lives through a commitment to Excellence, Courage, Inclusiveness and Teamwork.

The Greatest Game of All is taking the millions of fans who live and breathe Rugby League into an exciting new era.

Andrew Abdo, Chief Executive Officer


Netball Australia

Netball is more than a game – Australia's leading female sport leads social change, strengthens and builds capacity in communities and empowers women and girls.

Formed in 1927, Netball Australia (originally known as All Australia Women's Basket Ball Association), is the preeminent sporting body for netball in Australia.

Netball is ranked as the leading women's participation team sport and the top team-based sport in Australia for 15 to 24 year olds. Over 1.2 million participants enjoy the game nationally and Australia has been dominant on the international stage since 1963.

Netball Australia has more than 330,000 registered members; 5,000 clubs nationally; 570 Associations; and eight member organisations.

Netball has enjoyed numerous periods of sustained on-court success, having won 10 out of 13 World Netball Championship titles and, combined with netball's off-court community programs, plays a pivotal role in grass roots sport and the local community, impacting on the social, political, economic, education and health status of women and girls.

Netball Australia has an important role in promoting and delivering best practice strategy, planning and decision making; providing a clear national perspective; improving the linkages between Member Organisation jurisdictions; and providing improved community programs and services.

Member Organisations

Netball Australia is made up of eight Member Organisations:

  • ACT Netball Association
  • Netball New South Wales
  • Netball NT
  • Netball Queensland
  • Netball South Australia
  • Netball Tasmania
  • Netball Victoria
  • Netball WA

The Chief Executive Officer carries out the role of Public Officer for the Company.

Stacey West, Acting Chief Executive Officer


Rugby Australia

Rugby first kicks off in Australia

As early as the 1820s, there are reports of Rugby games being played at Barrack Square in the city between the army and the crews of visiting ships. Rugby Union formally began in Australia with the formation of the first clubs, the oldest of which is the Sydney University Club, formed in 1864.

By 1874 there were enough clubs to form a Sydney Metropolitan competition and in that year the Southern Rugby Union was established. In 1892 the Southern Rugby Union of New South Wales and the Northern Rugby Union of Queensland (formed in 1883) became New South Wales and Queensland Rugby Unions respectively.

The First Tests

Representatives from these two unions combined in 1899 when an Australian team played its first Test series - against a visiting team from the British Isles. Four tests were played, Australia winning the first test at the Sydney Cricket Ground 13-3. The second test in Brisbane and the third and fourth Sydney were won by the British Isles who took out the series.

Without a national jersey, the Test matches in New South Wales were played in blue jerseys and in Queensland in maroon - both with the Australian Coat of Arms on their chests. In 1903 Australia and New Zealand played a single test at the Sydney Cricket Ground in front of a crowd of 30,000.

This was the beginning of intense rugby rivalry between the two nations. The crowd had grown to almost 50,000 at the same venue when Australia played New Zealand in 1907. As popular as Rugby had become, it would soon feel the impact of the breakaway professional game of Rugby League, which was formed in 1908.

The First Wallabies

That same year the first Australian representative team, the first Wallabies, went on tour. Sailing on the steamship 'Omrah', the team spent 9 months touring the United Kingdom, Ireland and North America. Of the players, their ages ranged from 20 to 27 years old, height from 5'5" to 6'1"(only 1 player was over 6") and weight from 10 stone to 14 stone.

Following on the heels of a tour by the New Zealand All Blacks, the Australian team was pressured to produce a war cry similar to the Maori Haka. The team were ordered to perform an Aboriginal war cry, but were embarrassed by it. The Australian Captain Herbert 'Paddy' Moran called it the first Wallabies gravest affliction.

The 1908 tour coincided with the London Olympic Games in which Rugby Union was a sport. Invited to play, the Australian team won the gold medal by defeating Cornwall, the Champion English team representing England. When the team returned home, eleven of its members were enticed by the money offered to join the newly formed Rugby League.

From amateur beginnings to today's highly professional organisation, Rugby Australia provides the launching pad for the highly successful Wallabies to make rugby union one of the biggest crowd drawers of any sport in Australia.

Phil Waugh, Chief Executive Officer


Tennis Australia

Tennis Australia is the governing body of tennis within Australia, linking to member associations throughout the country.

Tennis Australia promote and facilitate participation in tennis at all levels, and also conduct national and international tournaments. The most widely recognised of these include:

The Lawn Tennis Association of Australia - trading as Tennis Australia (TA) - was established by the existing Member Associations (MAs) and New Zealand in late 1904. In 2004/05 TA celebrated the centenary of the organisation and its marquee event - the Australian Open. Today TA is a AUS$150-million turn-over business and stages one of the world's four Grand Slam tournaments.

Tennis Australia's Mission is to grow, manage, promote and showcase the sport of tennis throughout Australia, recognising the health, social, economic and entertainment benefits of sport, and tennis in particular, for people of both sexes, all ages and abilities.

Craig Tiley, (Chairman) Chief Executive Officer

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