Facilities Development: Recent news articles
Facilities Development: A Club and Association Priority for the year
Hurlstone Park Wanderers has a wonderful history: this is our 95th year, and football in the inner west of Sydney was established by HPW stalwart Bill Brackenbury, after whom the premier men’s competition is named. With such a proud legacy, it can be frustrating that we seem to have facilities that belong to Bill Brackenbury’s era. We are very grateful for the work Council has done to ensure the playing surface at Ewen Park is the best in the Association, but we continue to be frustrated by our outdated and inadequate lights, storage facilities, canteen and amenities blocks.
The good news is that we are the priority for the Association for the year and there is hard work going on behind the scenes to get our facilities and lights to the top of the upgrade list. In this newsletter we share with you some of the media attention this has attracted. This is part of the hard work that the Association does in the background. CDSFA has been focussed in recent years on seeking investment from the various levels of Government in upgrading and future proofing community football facilities to meet community expectations and to enhance the desire to play the game. This has included working with FFA and Football NSW to keep this issue in the media, and lobbying politicians and council.
Below are some recent recent media stories.
FFA to lobby for funding increase to save grassroots football
Emma Kemp and Tom Smithies, The Daily Telegraph
February 18, 2019 9:15pm
It’s the sport played by more children across Australia than any other — but too often on pitches that are unlit, undrained and overused.
Now, with grassroots football bursting at the seams, a concerted lobbying campaign is to begin at all levels of government seeking to bridge a $500m funding gap by adding and improving hundreds of pitches across the country.
As association officials put caps on registration numbers due to a shortage of appropriate facilities, new research has revealed the backlog of upgrades and investment that means an average of more than 300 players using each pitch in some areas.
Too often, junior footballers are forced to play on unacceptable surfaces.
Football Federation Australia officials will begin a tour of state and the federal governments this week, armed with an audit of facilities across the country and aiming to show the code is under-resourced compared with its rivals.
As it stands, football receives $37 of government funding per participant while each rugby participant gets $113, NRL $110, AFL $109 and cricket $55.
The windfall from broadcast revenue reveals an even greater discrepancy, with each football participant getting $34 and each NRL counterpart receiving a whopping $1,539.
The Football NSW audit showed more than 350,000 players are registered to play football across NSW this year, on 2,284 pitches — each of which is played on by an average of 155 players.
According to the data, a third of pitches have no lighting, while almost half have no drainage and/or irrigation, leading to significant numbers of training sessions and matches cancelled in bad weather.
But of equal concern is the lack of new pitches to cater for increased demand, with participation numbers for football rising every year.
Female football numbers in particular are rising by 8 per cent per year, but local officials say they have nowhere to house the extra players.
Players at Gladesville’s Peel Park. Photo: Football Federation NSW
“I don’t have enough fields to play on,” said general manager of the Sutherland Shire Football Association Jeff Stewart.
“We do have an eligibility requirement to register to play football in Sutherland Shire — you must be a resident, presently going to school there or have played for one of our clubs in the past.
“If we had 20,000 players I would suggest we may have to start turning away local residents.”
They’re not far short off that threshold now.
Last year the Shire had 18,692 — of which about one-third were female — squeezed onto 61 fields at an average of 306 players per field.
Some of those fields are under-utilised because of the steep financial outlay required to make them more playable.
“We have one field, for example, where the goalkeeper’s feet at one end are higher than the goalkeeper’s head at the other end,” Stewart said.
“We play games on that field — we have to, because we have to play games on every bit of green grass we can.”
Inquiries have been made about levelling it out and refurbishing another smaller one next to it, but the association has been quoted about $4 million because of nearby sewage and stormwater lines.
Similar problems have long been festering in the Canterbury district, where decades of neglect in Sydney’s chock-a-block inner west has left structurally unsound facilities and outdated amenities, particular catering for female participation.
Canterbury District Soccer Football Association chief executive Ian Holmes said his board has been discussing capping registrations at a total 17,000 across the 27 clubs.
“It’s not a matter of if it’s going to happen, it’s going to start this year because there’s no more space,” Holmes said.
“The infrastructure cannot cope.
“We’re really jammed in, and given the neglect and lack of capital invested in community sporting facilities the fields start to deteriorate.
“Therefore the clubs have to say they can’t take anymore. They’re basically at the point where they have to do it because there’s no more space.”
Football bosses hope the need for more spending on grassroots facilities will become an election issue at the state and federal polls due this year, buoyed by surveys showing voters are likely to be swayed by such pledges.
Seventy per cent of voters in NSW polled said they would be extremely or very likely to support a party that improved local football facilities, and a further 24 per cent said they were likely to, in a survey of more than 8500 players around the country.
Football Federation Australia officials will argue that the size of the game’s participation base makes it an important constituency, as they seek to bridge what FFA estimates is a $500m funding shortfall for the sport’s facilities across the country.
A delegation of FFA officials met with politicians in Canberra on Wednesday, seeking “partnership” funding from national, state and local government, as well as clubs, of around $300m to address the shortfall.
Spending significantly less can make a major difference to individual clubs, with knock-on benefits in the local community.In 2015 St Clair United Soccer Club in Sydney’s West was awarded $25,000 by the NSW Government to upgrade the floodlighting at the Mark Leece Sporting Complex where its more than 60 teams train and play. “Previously our lights weren’t enough for training let alone playing matches at night — now we can do both,” said club registrar Julie Thompson.
“We are quite a large club with a lot of members, and they all want to train on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. The lighting not only means they can, but the ground staff can do the necessary maintenance out of hours from their own jobs on Monday and Friday evenings.
“The whole site feels a lot safer because the lighting is so strong, that’s a big thing for our members in feeling comfortable coming here at night — and the netball club that plays on the court next door can also use it at night because that gets lit up too.”
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