Football West Chairman Liam Twigger has announced his resignation after six years in the position and ten years on the Board.
The Football West Board will convene next week to elect his replacement.
Mr Twigger, who has been on the Football West Board since 2008, said it had been a privilege to oversee the transformation of football in Western Australia.
And he acknowledged the work of the clubs and the whole football community for the part they have played over the years.
“None of the progress we have made would have been possible without the co-operation of the clubs, club presidents, players and other representatives and volunteers. They deserve as much credit as anyone for the position the sport is in today,” Mr Twigger said.
“Our game has never been stronger. There are over 230,000 participants getting involved each week and football is the number one team participation sport across Australia.
“We have experienced significant growth across the female, regional and community spaces, and WA continues to produce superstars like Sam Kerr.”
Mr Twigger was particularly pleased with how football catered for all members of the WA population.
“With our clubs we have focused hard on ensuring that the game is accessible to all and our success in growth is shown by Football West committing to having regional staff in major regional locations across WA in 2019 for the first time in our 120-year history,” he said.
“We have kicked off major program initiatives including the Walking Football Program and the Aboriginal Community Football Program.
“Football West was also the first to implement a Female Football Plan in Australia across all aspects of the game, and I’m proud that we, along with Perth Glory, have always been at the forefront of female sport in Western Australia, particularly with the success of the Perth Glory Women’s Team.
“Our efforts in female football were rewarded with the Matildas playing in Western Australia for the first time ever in 2018, however it was a battle to bring them here with limited-to-no support and investment from the WA State Government.”
Mr Twigger said an indicator of football’s good health was the quality of partner Football West has been able to attract and the long-term partners that have underpinned the game over the years.
“To have mining giant Gold Fields and global car company Hyundai come on board recently shows that the world game in WA is in a great place, and that has a lot to do with some of our long-term partners that have been with us across the years,” he said.
Recognising the history and importance of having a strong WA State Team Program, particularly with a reach into Asia, has been a key focus for Mr Twigger.
“We have worked hard to strengthen ties with our Asian partners leveraging the rich history of our WA State Team and we are pleased to have been recognised within the region for leading the way in football development and exchange,” he said.
“Our partnership with Shanghai FA and football exchanges with China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore demonstrate the unique opportunity we have within the region to deliver football and economic outcomes for Western Australia.”
However, Mr Twigger also recognised the challenges that had been faced – and those that lie ahead.
“Our journey has been a hard and long one, no more felt than by the clubs, players, volunteers and football fans over the last 120 years,” he said.
“Successive governments have failed to show the courage and leadership required to support grassroots football in WA. Football in Western Australia has not received its fair share and we have not received the level of funding and investment that our counterparts have enjoyed.
“Our clubs and players deserve suitable and accessible facility standards that support the growth and ensure future generations don’t miss out, particularly female footballers.
“We are the only major sport in WA not to have a training and administration centre. We have not received the parcels of land or the settlement packages of other sports. We have been promised, we have done the business cases and we have met the moving goalposts.
“Our sport and our community deserve a fair go and we want to ensure that the next time the Matildas come to WA, we can provide the facilities and respect that they deserve.
“The upcoming Federal election provides such a platform, and with the $10million commitment from the Federal Labor Party in recent weeks, this may be the beginning. But there is a long way to go for game as a whole in WA.
“We know that things are changing and I’m very proud of the work that my Board, Football West staff, clubs and volunteers have put in to ensure that the game is stronger than ever.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to serve the WA football community.”