Football Federation Australia just proved Cricket Australia wrong about the most played sport

The Australian Socceroos. Photo: Torsten Blackwood / AFP / Getty Images

Four months ago Cricket Australia claimed it was the nation’s most popular sport, with 1,311,184 people playing it last year.

CEO James Sutherland crowed that “Cricket is clearly the sport of choice for many Australians”, but Football Federation Australia wasn’t buying it, trolling their sporting rivals thus:

CA included school and indoor cricket players among their numbers, but as Business Insider pointed out at the time, the figures varied dramatically from Roy Morgan Research findings, which had swimming as the nation’s most common sporting activity, with soccer in third place behind cycling. Cricket was in eighth place.

Today, it was the FFA’s turn to claim boasting rights with AusPlay survey from the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) concluding that more than 1.08 million people were signed up to a soccer club.

That figure is 401,000 people ahead of golf, with AFL recording 50,000 registered players behind them followed by netball and tennis. Cricket is in sixth place with 562,000 people, which suggests that only half of Cricket Australia’s claimed participants go to the trouble of signing up with a club.

No matter, since FFA CEO David Gallop, who used to run rugby league, a sport languishing at the bottom with around 248,000 club members, said the AusPlay report made it official that soccer is number one.

“Football is Australia’s most popular club-based participation sport for adults and children because it is the most inclusive and accessible,” he said.

“Football is also the biggest global sport with the world’s highest profile players and competitions and the planet’s biggest event, the FIFA World Cup.”

Cricket Australia has yet to jump on Twitter and offer a response.

In the meantime, here are the numbers from AusPlay:

Source: Australian Sports Commission

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