Victoria University today announced a collaborative partnership with Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), the body that represents Australia’s elite footballers, including A-League, W-League, Socceroos, and Matildas players.
The broad-ranging partnership, effective immediately, will see VU provide its sport expertise and football research to customise personal and professional education programs for players and those working within the industry.
It will also provide opportunities for detailed and on-going research in areas of importance to the PFA such as youth development.
VU students will have opportunities to be involved in unique learning experiences with the PFA.
VU’s Sport Strategy Associate Pro Vice Chancellor Professor Hans Westerbeek said the partnership cements VU’s position as Australia’s leading football university, building on its range of collaborations with FIFA, Real Madrid Graduate School, Melbourne Victory Football Club, and the Football Federation of Victoria.
Key time for Australian football
PFA Chief Executive John Didulica said the partnership comes at a time of huge importance for Australia’s football industry, particularly in the complex area of talent development.
A pioneer PFA study released last week showed Australia has fallen behind its ‘golden generation,’ when the likes of Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka, Mark Bresciano, and Tim Cahill distinguished themselves at some of Europe’s most famous clubs.
An analysis of hundreds of professional Australian players and millions of match-minutes revealed an 80% reduction in the number of minutes played by Australian players in Europe’s ‘Big Five’ major leagues between 2005 and 2015.
“One of the first projects we want to undertake with VU is to examine ways we can systematically improve the quality of Australian footballers relative to nations we compete with around the world.”
Today’s VU-PFA partnership announcement complements VU’s existing partnerships with other elite sport organisations such as the Western Bulldog’s AFL, AFLW and VFL teams; Melbourne Vixens Netball Club; Tennis Australia; and Swimming Australia.
Note: Victoria University and The Melbourne Vixens had a long-standing partnership until August 2018.