Canterbury Bankstown Council axe ground hire costs for clubs

The City of Canterbury Bankstown Council has announced it will waive ground hire costs in the area, to lessen the financial burden for clubs in the relevant associations.

Mayor of the council, Khal Asfour, explained the decision for community football clubs in the Bankstown District Amateur Football Association and the Canterbury District Soccer Football Association.

 “I’m really proud to confirm Council is waiving field hire fees and charges for our local sports organisations for this year’s Winter season,” he said.

“A total of $261,920 will remain with these local organisations and more than 70 per cent of that amount represents our football clubs and associations.

“The Bankstown District Amateur Football Association alone has about 6000 members who play nearly 500 games every weekend. We know football is growing in popularity locally, and waiving these fees and charges will help our grassroots clubs hold on to that growth.

“Collectively it is a huge win for all sporting codes. Our community has 71 clubs and organisations with about 28,900 members in them. I’ve heard their calls for help loud and clear, and our decision means every single club, big or small, has another lifeline at a time when everyone has been hit for six. Every little bit of help counts.

“For many community members, local sport is where they feel the strongest sense of community connection. It’s crucial we see this continue, especially as this pandemic has shown us how big this is for everyone’s wellbeing. We’ll do all we can to protect that for our people.”

Football NSW CEO Stuart Hodge echoed similar sentiments about the council’s decision.

“Well done to Canterbury Bankstown Council for pushing its support behind our code in what have been tough times for the sport.

“Decisions and moves such as this from Canterbury Bankstown Council go a long way to assuring our clubs and players are well supported and will continue to provide a positive and significant benefit to the community.”

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Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Sport and Recreation Events Funding Program a key investment in Western Australia

Western Australia events are receiving significant support through the Sport and Recreation Events Funding Program 2023-24.

The WA State Government has invested over $630,000 to a host of sporting bodies across a vast number of codes.

The objectives of the program are to:

  • build capacity and capability of the sport and recreation workforce and volunteers to plan, secure and/or deliver quality sport and active recreation events
  • provide opportunities for talented WA athletes, coaches and officials to participate at a national and/or international level in their home environment
  • provide opportunities for the public to participate in sport and/or active recreation events
  • provide opportunities for regional Western Australians to experience and conduct major sporting events and sport development initiatives in a regional location.

The program comprises three categories:

  • event projects (up to $15,000)
  • event hosting (up to $50,000)
  • the Country Sport Enrichment Scheme (up to $30,000).

In Round 1 of the Sport and Recreation Events Funding Program 2023-24, one of the successful applicants was Football West, who ran 2024 Goldfields Regional Festival of Football – a seven-day community engagement event that improved football capacity in the wider Goldfields area. After receiving $24,200, Football West’s main goal is to increase participation in the region.

There is still time to apply for the next round of funding, which closes 5:00pm on February 26, 2024.

For full information and eligibility to apply, you can find it here.

WSL eyeing enormous 150% increase to broadcast rights deal

In a historic first for football in the UK, every single Women’s Super League match is set to be broadcasted live from next season across multiple channels.

The WSL tender document issued to broadcasters this month features all 132 league games, with 56 to be sold exclusively and the remaining 76 available on a non-exclusive basis.

Under the terms of the existing deal that expires at the end of the current season, Sky broadcast 35 matches-a-season and the BBC 22, with the rest streamed for free on the FA’s website.

The tender document is asking for a huge £20 million ($38.48 million) a year TV deal and this 150% increase to the value of its broadcasting deal is far from surprising following the explosion of the women’s game. This figure is set to be confirmed as soon as they can find the right suitors.

In an attempt to gain an increase from the existing £7.75 million ($14.91 million) a year deal, the WSL have responded by making every match available for broadcast, which the league hoped would attract bids from beyond current rights holders Sky Sports and the BBC, It looks to be working.

Sky Sports and the BBC are set to bid again on the rights and extend the current partnership whilst it is said that this potential deal is also attracting networks like TNT Sports and DAZN.

The Premier League and EFL have stood firm on the UEFA blackout that suggests all 3pm Saturday matches are not shown on TV, to encourage locals to attend matches in person. This means the WSL will have to work around it and it is likely that Saturday lunchtime and Sunday afternoons remain as the most common kick-off times.

There is little the WSL are having to do to persuade broadcasters into putting their hands up for these rights, which is a testament to the sport’s current growth and upward trajectory it is trending towards.

FA Director of Women’s football, Kelly Simmons, explained how important it was to secure this monumental broadcast deal.

“While we’ve been developing this it’s been so hard to sit on it because it’s so exciting for the women’s game. It is transformational,” Simmons said in an interview with Guardian Sport.

“When I first came into this role, we said that we really thought women’s football could really break into the mainstream and this is mainstream, this is prime slots on television, big audiences, week in week out.”

This deal in particular launches women’s football into the mainstream and helps improve the quality of the product which goes a long way to opening the eyes of a huge audience to its impact as a sport and socially.

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