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The AFL and BHP are pleased to announce a game-changing AFLW partnership, focused on creating more opportunities for women to play, umpire and coach footy in the AFLW and in communities across Australia.

The three-year partnership will build on the two organisations’ shared ambitions to improve opportunity and equality in both business and sport.

The partnership is focused on seven key activities:

  • Player development managers at the 14 AFLW clubs
  • An annual leadership forum between BHP and the AFLW
  • The BHP AFL Women’s Coaching Academy
  • The BHP AFL Female Umpiring Academy
  • An annual gender equality roundtable
  • A Community Coach of the Year Award
  • Development of national female community football guidelines

The player development managers will provide support and development plans for female players, including pathways to consider becoming AFL coaches and umpires, as well as academic and/or workplaces pursuits.

The dedicated Community Coach of the Year Award will be presented at the W Awards, showcasing the outstanding leadership of community members across Australia in the area of inclusion and diversity.

Recognising the opportunity to learn from each other, AFLW players and BHP employees will also have access to an annual, co-designed “Think Big Leadership Forum” to provide further professional and personal development.

AFL Chief Executive Officer Gillon McLachlan, welcomed the partnership.

“The commitment by BHP is a genuine game changer – the commitment delivers player development managers in every club, and support to the academies that will deliver the next generation of women coaches and umpires,” Mr McLachlan said.

BHP’s Acting President Minerals Australia Edgar Basto said: “BHP and the AFL are two of Australia’s oldest and most iconic institutions, and we are excited by the opportunity to partner with the AFL to create more opportunities for women to thrive in business and sport.

“We each have histories that are traditionally male dominated – this partnership will help us learn from each other in our respective journeys to create a genuinely level playing field for both women and men.”

AFL Head of Women’s Football Nicole Livingstone said the partnership will play an important part in the growth of women’s football.

“2020 will be our fourth season of the AFLW. It’s been an incredible journey so far but there is still so much work ahead and to keep building and growing the women’s game, we need committed partners,” Ms Livingstone said.

“BHP has a global footprint and their long-term commitment to investing in the communities in which they operate – particularly in Australia – and this partnership will help us raise each other up.

“The AFL is very proud that they have chosen to partner with the women’s game.

“This is backing our game where it really counts – helping our players on and off the field to be their best. The AFL welcomes BHP to the AFLW – together we are going to change the game.”

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