It has been a roller coaster off-season for the South Melbourne Women’s Football Club following their back-to-back Women’s Premier League titles. Despite their Grand Final triumph in September 2015, making them back to back champions, SMWFC were not included by FFV into the 2016 Women’s National Premier League. They have since undergone extensive restructuring in the off-season both on and off the park.
The most significant change has seen SMWFC’s teams now forming “One Club” with South Melbourne Football Club. That means that all male and female footballers, seniors and juniors, will be fielded by SMFC from 2016. Years of hard work, ensuring that men, women, boys and girls will be looked after and promoted equally in the best interests of SMFC and its members and supporters, culminated in a historic vote last Wednesday night (23 March), at the Club’s Annual General Meeting. Also at the meeting, SMFC members overwhelmingly supported the necessary amendments to the Club’s constitution to bring the club back together as one and to ensure every player and member is an equal part of it.
The SMFC membership supported changes to the Constitution to immediately provide for a minimum of one female director on the SMFC Board of Directors and other measures to ensure equal opportunities for all which the club expects will be to everyone’s benefit. This historic move shows the commitment of SMFC to strengthen and grow the female component of the Club and to ensure a strong and diverse Board of Directors to meet the Club’s future challenges and aims.
At the AGM, former SMWFC President Gabrielle Giuliano proudly officially accepted her position as the first female SMFC Director under the new structure. Gabrielle has a strong business background in her professional career and has worked tirelessly over numerous years to create a strong SMWFC that has enjoyed so much recent success. Gabrielle is also the daughter of legendary 1960s South Melbourne Hellas player John Margaritis (who also coached the club in the 1970s) and has been part of the South Melbourne family for many years.
Speaking to smfc.com.au, Gabrielle, was very proud of the new structure being so strongly supported by the membership. “We are all extremely excited and proud that the SMFC membership base has accepted and driven this change at our club. For the members to so clearly and enthusiastically support the necessary amendments to the Club’s constitution to include female representation on the Board of Directors and equality of opportunity for women and girls signifies the progress our club and our members are making. It is a historic day not only for our club but for women’s football in Victoria.”
2016 SMFC season pass holders also benefit from the move, with each membership allowing free access to all Women’s matches in 2016. We urge all members and fans to support our girls as we strive for yet another successful season.