'You can’t be what you can’t see': Girls-only mascots for A-League grand final


The role of mascots at the A-League grand final has historically been reserved for rising male stars of the game, but when 22 young girls run out accompanying players from Perth Glory and Sydney FC on Sunday, that tradition will be broken.

A mix of girls and boys has been introduced in recent A-League title deciders but Sunday’s game in front of an expected sellout crowd at Optus Stadium will be the first time an exclusively female group will be employed.

Sarah Walsh, Football Federation Australia’s general manager of participation and women’s football, said the move is an attempt to inspire a new generation of female footballers.

“You can’t be what you can’t see,” Walsh said. “For a long time, boys have grown up seeing their heroes on TV, and I think this year’s change will be an especially memorable moment for young girls.

“It might seem like a small gesture, but not only is this going to encourage more young girls to follow their sporting dreams, it’s also going to show the little boys that women have an equal place on the sporting field.”

It comes at a time when, despite a perceived growth in women’s football and women’s sport more generally, females remain under-represented in football – on the pitch, in coaching, in administration and on boards. A recent report by FFA revealed overall participation had grown by 13% in 2018, yet there was just a 2% growth in women and girls participation.



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