Essendon Football Club is delighted to confirm it has today formally submitted its bid for an AFLW licence, which would see the Bombers join the national competition at the end of 2022.

The compelling submission highlighted the club’s strong women's football program foundations, as well as its existing and considerable membership base nationally, as well as its strong presence in the north-west corridor of Melbourne and NGA regions in the Northern Territory to attract and retain female talent. 

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Chief executive officer Xavier Campbell said it was a proud day for the Essendon Football Club.

“Our time is now. Our club and our people are more than ready to see our organisation finally become a true and complete club,” Campbell said.

“Put simply, we want to build a football program at Essendon that integrates all our programs – men’s and women’s – creating opportunities for development, mentorship and alignment.

“We have built up a strong, successful VFLW program over the past four years, evidenced by the fact we’re currently deep into a finals campaign with our side facing Collingwood tomorrow in our semi-final, the winner of which will progress to the VFLW Grand Final – a staggering thought in only our fourth year in the competition. Undeniably, strong foundations have been laid in this program.

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“Our investment in infrastructure and purpose-built resourcing at our state-of-the-art NEC Hangar facility at Melbourne Airport has furthered strengthened our submission. We also highlighted our club’s core focus on fostering football talent through a clear female pathway program, including the proposed expansion of our NGA programs in both metro and remote regions, and the growth of our flagship First Nations Women’s Pathway Program.

“We are in the formidable position of having already secured significant sponsorship revenue, and have had incredible commitment from our extensive commercial partners and corporate network for our impending AFLW team. This will only further strengthen our women’s football program and the growth of the game.

“We are a football club with a proud, rich, diverse, inclusive, and successful history, but it will take our 150th anniversary year in 2022 for our football club to be truly whole when we finally welcome our long-awaited AFL Women’s team. 

“We are excited by the support the AFL will no doubt show in recognising our football club has never been better positioned to now enter the AFLW competition in 2022.”