The Matildas’ incredible run at the World Cup will not lead to an immediate cash injection in women’s sport, the federal government has conceded.
The team has captured the hearts of the nation, smashing TV records, selling out stadiums and filling out fan live sites across the country as they progressed through the tournament.
But fans hoping the call would lead to a cash splash in soccer and other women’s sports have been left wanting.
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles stressed a significant amount of money had already been spent in the lead-up to the landmark event when asked if the government would commit allocating more funds.
“Firstly, we put $84m into this World Cup, this Women’s World Cup, and $40m of that was into grassroots sport for girls taking up football, so a lot of money has been spent on women’s sport,” he told Nine on Friday morning.
He said he wanted the event to be a springboard to “inspire more women to take up sport”.
“I’m sure government will look at this to look at how we can use this to see more women playing sport,” Mr Marles said.
“I just think it’s about greater equality for women and men both on the field and off the field. This is a huge moment for the country.”
In a statement, a government spokesman said the government would look at “more ways” to ensure funding was “fit for purpose”.
“We are determined to help girls inspired by the FIFA World Cup, Netball World Cup, women’s basketball and rugby world cups have safer facilities to enjoy sport for life,” they said.
Earlier this week, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton used the Matildas’ momentum to pledge $250m in grants for community sport infrastructure, such as change rooms, should the Coalition be returned to government.
On Friday, Mr Dutton called for the states and federal government to match the commitment.
“I think that would encourage participation and that’s within our grasp to do,” he told Nine.
After Wednesday night’s heartbreaking 3-1 loss to England, captain Sam Kerr called for the Matildas’ efforts to be used as a catalyst for change.
She said the funding allocated to the sport compared with others was “not good enough”.
“I can only speak for the Matildas (but), you know, we need funding in our development, we need funding in our grassroots. We need funding, you know, we need funding everywhere,” Kerr said after the match.