Matildas receive Rio Games boost with AIS camps

Football Federation Australia (FFA) has announced that the Westfield Matildas have received a boost to their Rio Games preparations with additional funding assistance from the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) based on the Matildas’ medal-winning potential.

The ASC will assist with funding of five training camps at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra in May and June in the build-up to the 2016 Rio Games.

The confirmation follows last night’s draw in Rio de Janeiro for the Women’s Football Tournament at the 2016 Rio Games. The Matildas will play Canada (3 August 2016), Germany (6 August 2016) and Zimbabwe (9 August 2016).

Meet the Matildas opponents at the Olympics

FFA CEO David Gallop has commended the ASC for the additional funding, which will enhance FFA’s program of matches in June and camps in July.

“The camps in May and June at the AIS will give the Matildas a top-class training base and replicate the intense preparations that produced such wonderful results in the World Cup and the Games qualifiers,” said Gallop.

“The ASC has recognised the medal-winning potential of this exceptional Matildas squad and their popularity across the nation in making this funding allocation. It’s fantastic news that will be welcomed by the Matildas and the football community in general.”

AIS Director Matt Favier said the extra support was recognition of the stunning progress the Matildas have made over the past 12 months, lifting their FIFA world ranking to five and establishing themselves as a genuine medal contender in Rio.

“The Matildas have been one of the great growth stories in Australian sport over the past year,” Favier said.

The Westfeild Matildas celebrate Emily van Egmond's late equaliser against China.

“Their effort to make the quarter-finals of last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup was inspiring and grabbed the nation’s attention, but they have continued to improve and establish themselves as a truly world-class outfit.

“Their undefeated Rio Games qualifying campaign in Osaka in March, overcoming World Cup runners-up Japan on their home turf, shows how far the Matildas have progressed.

“The AIS is a regular home to the Matildas and we’re proud to continue supporting them on their journey. Head Coach Alen Stajcic’s squad deserves the very best preparation to keep pushing forward and to capitalise on their medal potential in Rio.”

In addition to annual grants to FFA and the additional funding for Rio, annual direct grants to Matildas players, known as dAIS,  have doubled to almost $330,000 since their breakthrough 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign.

Westfield Matildas Head Coach Alen Stajcic said the AIS camps would provide the ideal environment for the Rio preparations.

“Everything about the AIS is first-class,” said Stajcic. “The pitches, the sports science, the recovery facilities and the accommodation create the perfect environment to do the work and planning we need before Rio.

“On behalf of the players and staff, I thank the ASC and the AIS for this commitment. This gives the squad 21 days of top quality preparation together.

Matildas rocket up FIFA rankings

“The pressure comes from our own expectations of being on the podium in Rio. The support from the ASC and AIS is another boost to us.”

Matt Favier added that the Matildas are a great example of the success of Australia’s Winning Edge, the high performance strategy introduced by the AIS after the 2012 London Games.

“This strategy provides the foundational support for Australian sports and athletes to thrive, but it also creates a competitive incentive for those who step up their game and set the standards in excellence,” said Favier. “The AIS will, as always, invest in success.”

Westfield Matildas camps at the AIS

* May 1-4

* May 16-19

* June 13-16

* June 20-24

* June 27-30