As reported in The Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday 7 May 2019, questions over sports funding have again resurfaced ahead of the 2019 federal election.
Northern NSW Football CEO David Eland said it was disappointing that football facilities weren’t being prioritised following a recent 10-month independent audit across New South Wales identified a $50m injection into local facilities is required by 2023 to simply keep up with the growth of the sport.
“Football is the largest participation sport in the country and continues to grow steadily each, and every year, 2018 saw 68,000 registered players throughout Northern NSW alone,” said Eland.
“Of particular importance, is the expediential growth of women’s football – it is absolutely crucial to improve facilities to include appropriate change rooms for female players and match officials,” said Eland.
The independent audit, funded by Northern NSW Football and Football NSW is the most comprehensive report of its kind and identified:
– Just 54 pitches are synthetic – 53 of which are in Metropolitan Sydney or Newcastle. Lismore in is the only remote regional area that has a synthetic or artificial surface in New South Wales;
– 32% of playing grounds have no lighting and of those that do, 42% have lighting which is considered inadequate for football;
– Only 41% of playing fields have irrigation and drainage;
– In times of drought the grass too often turns to dirt, and if and when, it rains, the dirt turns to mud;
– In some parts of the State, as many as 25% of training sessions and competitive matches are cancelled due to poor conditions and inclement weather;
– 65% of playing fields have no change-room facilities for match officials, and most critically,
– 88% have no appropriate change-room facilities for female players
Whilst $50m funding is required throughout Northern NSW, there has been some positive response within the region, including that of Member for Shortland – Pat Conroy who pledged $300,000 for the addition of women’s changerooms at Garden Suburb Football and Labor Candidate for Parkes – Jack Ayoub pledging $140,000 for the upgrade of the canteen, toilets and further amenities Club if successful in the 18 May election.
Mr Eland calls out to all sides of politics to consider investment in grassroot football facilities throughout regional NSW to match the demand and participation of the State and Country’s number one participation sport.
For more information surrounding how Northern NSW Football is assisting its clubs improve facilities visit www.footballfacilities.com.au