November 2020

Over 35s Football

What we did

Over 35s Football created a new business "Community Football Australia" to provide a platform for Community Football teams across South East Queensland to gather and enjoy football.

The key elements of this initiative were to provide:

  1. a governance structure for teams who are not part of Clubs;
  2. to organise training and playing venues and competitions for community teams;
  3. to connect community teams to venues local to them, to help assist in building relationships, gaining ownership and building a sense of belonging;
  4. to provide comprehensive insurance coverage not previously available;
  5. to seek donations of second hand playing and training equipment for teams, from Clubs;
  6. register all teams for donations through the Australian Sports Foundation;
  7. the introduction of an App (Footsy) to register players, organise competitions, and minimise administrative processes for players and officials; and lastly, but most importantly
  8. a "pay what you can afford" system with individual teams based on their individual ability to contribute.

The power of the Over 35s Football competition allows for a sustainable community football business model.

Three separate competitions have been created encompassing 31 teams over 3 different days of the week. Initial contact was made with Community Leaders, Settlement Services providers, community groups and known contacts seeking expressions of interest in:

  • forming teams,
  • finding home venues to train and play;
  • the need to training and playing equipment;
  • their preference for games days i.e. Friday night, Sunday morning, or Monday night games.

Some of these organisations also help sponsor individual teams. New websites such as,,,, were created to bring together the Community Football structure.

Team meetings were held to train Team Managers and Captains in the registration process with the Footsy App, determine ability to pay, training venue availability and training times (many teams share venues).

Why we did it

Community Football Australia was developed to;

  • fill a need in the market place for community groups looking to start football teams;
  • assist accessing venues to train and play;
  • assist teams looking for a competition to join,
  • provide financial assistance to community teams; and
  • provide a governance structure and insurance coverage not normally available.

The cost for teams to join affiliated football competitions has proven prohibitive. This new model allows community groups to create teams in an environment they find welcoming and cost effective. Joint access to training and playing venues has enabled more teams to join than would ordinarily do so. The community teams have ownership of the rules and assist with disciplinary procedures.

The option of having no football this season would have been a real negative for these teams. They need the interaction with others, the community connection, and the spirit of competition to help with their sense of belonging and reduce social isolation.

How we know it worked

The season is currently nine rounds into an 18 round season.

Teams and the Referees have adapted easily and comfortably to use of the Footsy App technology. They are self managing aspects of the competition not normally accessible to them.

The Managers meetings are proving a positive to cross cultural learnings, with some of the longer term teams/migrants happy to mentor the newer teams on the best ways to manage their teams.

In a difficult environment, teams are working closely with their host venue to implement COVID guidelines. The learnings from the COVID guidelines also complement codes of behaviour at venues that venue operators normally struggle to have community teams understand.

Our targets were for 10 teams in our three competitions, and we have exceeded that on Friday nights and Sunday mornings, but weren’t able to get there for the new Monday night format.