2018 Participation

Remove this Banner Ad


Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 20, 2006
AFL Club
On 25.2.19, Tas. FFT CEO M. Bulkeley said in the Press release link below, re Tas. soccer regd. nos. "We have also set a target to grow participation to... a total of 26,000 players, VOLUNTEERS, COACHES and REFEREES (my emphases)".
This suggests that the FFA might include volunteers, coaches and referees in its national regd. no figures of 1,851,683.

IIRC, the AFL has stated recently that AF has c. 200,000 volunteers. Its 2008 Annual report stated c.100,0000 volunteers.

Given that GR soccer is played 12 months pa (especially in schools & futsal), it is far more likely to have the same player counted two or 3 times (No sports cross reference player names in their Official regd. nos.). AS AF is likely to have far more volunteers, umpires & coaches than soccer, AF might, in 2019, have more total "participants" than soccer.

In the Tas. soccer 2019 State Of Play Report below, it states "Football (sic) participation in Tasmania is bursting at the seams, with over 17,000 registered participants, making football the state's largest club-based sport".
This is a falsehood, as AFL Tas., for 2019 has claimed 44,407 "participants".

What is your view as to whether "volunteers" are included in total Official regd. nos for the :-
.Cricket Australia etc
If AFL don’t and other codes do, just wait until Gil and Co put something in their contracts that ensures they get a bonus on grounds of participation growth. Than wham, 300k volunteers become participants.


All Australian
Mar 15, 2007
Mill Park
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
Danish Vikings
On 25.2.19,
What is your view as to whether "volunteers" are included in total Official regd. "participants" for the :-
.Cricket Australia, Netball, Basketball.
On this front the 2018 FFA Audit had the following tallies for volunteers that was tallied into each state/region total and the overall FFA total:

NSW 14,253
Vic 2148
Nrth-NSW 2180
Tas 836
Total 19,417

So - if they get their QLD, SA, ACT, NT and WA acts together they can claim another boost in participation.

Of note - FFV in Victoria.

Claim an increase in participation from 2017 to 2018 of 68,165. From 284,633 to 352,798.

Not a bad effort when the number of Outdoor Registered participants fell by 25.
MiniRoos 2017: 26,884; 2018: 26,683; var -201
Youth 2017: 26,943; 2018: 26,750; var -193
Senior 2017: 15,574; 2018: 15,943; var + 369

For 2018, about 240,000 via school progs (56K), comps (83K) and the Tournaments/Events (103K). And then 26,272 Futsal and 7,724 Social.

A fair bit of fluff there given the real club numbers are - stagnant.

Creative accountancy 101!!

I've put up an article today on TheRoar.....and included this table as as close an 'apples with apples' that I could do for AFL 2018 and FFA 2018.

They claim Aldi MiniRoos as the #1 intro program......but also claim it as their junior outdoor competition. As for the AFL - my experience over many years at Auskick was that perhaps 10% of kids might also play club footy....the drop off from grade 3 up was huge as mostly the remaining kids weren't playing club footy so Auskick was 'sport' or they were doing it still while a younger sibling was doing it too. In this table I've ignored Social and ignored 'Futsal'. And also ignored the 'tournaments/events'.


All Australian
Mar 15, 2007
Mill Park
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
Danish Vikings
If AFL don’t and other codes do, just wait until Gil and Co put something in their contracts that ensures they get a bonus on grounds of participation growth. Than wham, 300k volunteers become participants.
I note from the AFL Victoria - they listed 2018 total participation of 474,633.
That comprised comps 330,544 from 172,050 club participants, 154,828 school and 3,636 social.
Programs 144,089 from 42,366 Auskick and 101,723 school programs.

There's then reference to 80,000 volunteers, 7855 umps and 17,197 coaches - so - by FFA metrics that'd be a grand total of 580K instead of 474K.

Their 'fluff' portrays Vic as 352,798 soccer participants which is a lot of fluff clearly for only 69,376 on the paddock. Although - apples and apples in Vic.
Soccer school comps is reported 82,874 so still about 70K below AFL. Social is 7724. But they counted MiniRoos of 26683.

So - tally like for like in Vic
AFL: 172,050 club + 42,366 Auskick + 3,636 social plus 154,828 school = 372,910
FFV: 69376 club (inc MiniRoos) + 7724 social plus 82,874 school = 159,974

Main question then......the soccer tournaments/events??

Log in to remove this ad.


Jul 2, 2010
AFL Club
A pretty thorough Ausplay survey report - including individual reports for the top 20 - here

Australian football - https://www.clearinghouseforsport.g...tate_of_Play_Report_-_Australian_Football.pdf

Top 20 participation sports and physical activities
*Based on annual participation (organised out-of-school activities only for children 0-14; all activities for adults 15+)

Walking (Recreational) 8,783,064
Fitness/Gym 6,874,541
Swimming 4,505,531
Running/Athletics 3,334,693
Cycling 2,359,660
Football 1,767,288
Tennis 1,202,011
Bush walking 1,189,493
Basketball 1,017,968
Golf 1,015,150
Yoga 984,362
Australian Football 913,668
Netball 901,903
Cricket 798,618
Dancing (recreational) 688,293
Pilates 585,706
Surfing 508,015
Gymnastics 489,058
Touch football 464,721
Martial arts 316,826


Club Legend
Jan 5, 2017
AFL Club
SMH 7.5.19 D. Bossi

1. This soccer journalist has, again, made false statements about AF GR participant numbers (as have other soccer journalists, soccer officials, and general sports' journalists, who refer to Ausplay "estimates" of nos.). It reflects poorly on the SMH/The Age.
Bossi wrote that AF has "...half as many regular participants" as soccer.

He has relied on the very misleading & inaccurate Ausplay survey figures, which significantly underestimate AF nos. (Ausplay is a survey of only 25,000 people; & counts a person as a "participant" if they play only ONCE in the last 12 months!).


2018 AFL Official Registered Participant Nos. 1,649,178
2018 FFA Official Registered Participant Nos. 1,851,683
Soccer journalists & Officials are deliberately minimising AF nos. by quoting the Ausplay survey only. They know the Official, registered nos. of a sporting organisation are far more accurate than any survey.

They would also know that GR soccer is played 12 months of the year (unlike GR AF); & participants are far more likely to play in various formats of soccer (eg Club, school, & community & school futsal)- because soccer is a FAR less physical/injury prone game, with shorter recovery times. This results in a much higher % of the same soccer player being counted multiple times, cf. AF participants (& many private schools -& parents- also ban their AF & RU school team players also playing in community teams).

2. There have been very few (if any?) detailed, public analyses of the AFL & FFA Official GR AF & soccer nos. AFAIK, the most detailed analysis is that conducted by Munro Mike in The Roar website- who has revealed that the FFA is counting volunteers, referees, & coaches in its total "participant" nos. of 1,851,683.

He has also noted an unusually high no. of soccer community event participants in recent years (ie not players in a minimum 6 week competition), whilst soccer outdoor competition participant nos. are stagnant in some areas in 2018.

I recommend the reading of the link in full ie article & comments, as it is very detailed, with insightful analysis.


The AFL does not publicly record or count its volunteers (the last time, in the 2008 Annual Report, it stated c. 100,000 volunteers. Probably has c. 200,000 volunteers in 2018). The AFL does publicly count the number of coaches & umpires, but it is unclear if these figures are included in its total Annual Report participant nos.

3. Whilst this relates to 2019 GR numbers, I will include it here.

AFL Tasmania, on 15.5.19, has stated that its registered competition male & female players nos. have increased from 11,385 in 2018 to 13,575 in 2019. Until 2019, male club GR AF nos. had been in decline in Tasmania.


Tasmanian soccer officials have claimed recently, in their State Of Play Report, that soccer has more participants than AF in Tasmania- another false claim.

Also, AFL Victoria has, in May 2019, stated that Victorian jnr & snr female GR AF Club competition numbers have increased to c. 28,500 in 2019, cf 24,875 in 2018. An increase of 15%.
There are also a record 1092 female club teams. At an average of 26 females per team, this indicates many females cant play every week, probably due to a shortage of ovals. Junior female teams have a maximum of 15 per team on the oval; some snr female teams have 30+ players.

Last edited:

Remove this Banner Ad