Football NSW announce funding for community ground lighting

On Wednesday this week, Football NSW released a statement declaring that they had received $300,000 that will go towards upgrading lighting fixtures for community clubs across the state.

This is a wonderful move by Football NSW, continuing to give to the community as they know they are their most important stakeholders. Their ‘Let’s Light Up Football’ campaign has now received over half a million dollars over the last year and a half.

The full press release can be found below:

Football NSW is delighted to announce the recipients of the second year of its highly successful ‘Let’s Light Up Football’ Campaign with 17 clubs/council’s being recently selected to receive funding.

Year Two of the Let’s Light Up Football Campaign has seen another $300,000 from the Community Investment Fund spread across NSW to provide much needed lighting upgrades for community football clubs across the state. The key objective of this Campaign is to incentivise a joint funding approach whereby matching contributions from a club and/or association is combined with local council support.

Together with projects supported in 2018, the Let’s Light Up Football campaign has now seen a total of $600,000 invested by football resulting in a further $5.8 million by clubs, associations and local councils. The key outcome is that over the first two years, 34 football fields in NSW will now be lit as a result of this campaign.

Football NSW CEO, Stuart Hodge commented, “Football NSW is thrilled to once again provide much needed funding to football clubs across NSW”.

“Improving field lighting is a fantastic opportunity for councils and clubs to increase the capacity of fields in a time when green space is scarce – none more so than in many of our associations in metropolitan Sydney”.

The recent NSW State-wide Facilities Audit revealed that lighting is a major concern across the state with 32% of fields not having lighting. For a sport predominantly played in the winter months lighting is a crucial element of any football facility allowing more hours for training and playing”.

“Lighting is a simple and effective way to improve a large number of community facilities for football”.

“The Fund was oversubscribed which again clearly demonstrates the need to light football fields across the state. Clubs are bursting at the seams and in some cases, there are multiple senior teams training on one full sized football field simply because there are not enough fields with lighting in their local area” further added Mr Hodge.

Fourteen grounds from metropolitan Sydney will be the beneficiaries of upgraded lighting with the remaining three projects, from as far south as Eurobodalla to as far west as Narromine, being from Regional NSW.

Successful applicants from the second year of the Let’s Light Up Football fund are as follows (alphabetical order):

The Community Investment Fund is a joint initiative of both Football NSW and Football Federation Australia (FFA) and is made possible by the FFA’s annual grant to Football NSW.

Caelum Ferrarese is a Senior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on micro policy within Australasia and industry disruptions at grassroots level.

Giant boost for female sport as NSW Government commits $30 million

NSW Government - Level the Playing Fund

The NSW Government has confirmed that $30 million in funds for female sports facilities will be in its 2023-24 Budget.

Although the funding will seek to support several growing and established sports, the grant is likely to heavily support women’s football as a reward for the Matildas’ efforts in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

One of the key initiatives of the announcement is a new program labelled ‘Level the Playing Field’.

This fund will be intended to help develop sporting facilities both in building new facilities as well as upgrading existing ones.

Projects that have a particular focus in empowering women to participate in sports will be eligible and the State Government hopes that the fund will be a critical step in addressing gender disparity and inclusivity in sports.

The Level the Playing Field will be able to be directly accessed by grass roots sporting groups; helping to place the direction for development in the hands of those who know the sports the best.

Under this direct funding approach, the NSW Government is hoping that up to a 100 new and upgraded facilities will be delivered.

The Government is expecting that organisations that access the fund will use it to deliver fit-for-purpose facilities and amenities such as much needed change rooms, accessibility upgrades, and improved lighting.

For a long time, these have been clear barriers to entry for women’s sport and by empowering the organisations who have been fighting for these changes to make the upgrades themselves it shows a great respect and trust between community stakeholders the NSW Government.

The state’s governing body, Football NSW, has welcomed this announcement and sees it as a pivotal step in securing the future of Women’s Football that the Matildas showed is possible during their recent World Cup campaign.

Football NSW CEO John Tsatsimas expressed this in the governing bodie’s press release.

“The FIFA Women’s World Cup was a game-changer for women’s football in Australia and New South Wales,” he said via press release.  

“We are thrilled to see the commitment of the Labor Government to further develop facilities that will empower women and girls to participate in our beloved sport. This investment aligns perfectly with our long-term vision for women’s football in NSW.

“Female friendly facilities are key component of attracting and retaining females in the game. We know that only 1 in 5 football amenity buildings across NSW are female friendly.”

Although this is a broad initiative it is clear that the program will be of pivotal importance to football in NSW and by extension Australia wide.

Football participation is strongest in NSW and by depoliticising the issue of investment in allowing direct stakeholder access, in contrast to the traditional model of waiting for code specific grants, the NSW government has shown that the paradigm is shifting.

By allowing those on the ground to dictate their own funding and to remove political or code-based bias this grant is showing that those sports that do have participation but perhaps have not be respectfully funded, such as football, may now in this new era flourish and begin to truly grow.

Australian Professional Leagues confirm new-look leadership with Danny Townsend departure

Danny Townsend

The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) have revealed that Chief Executive Officer Danny Townsend will take up a new role based in the Middle East.  

During a two-and-a-half year spell, Townsend has not always pleased the passionate fanbase, but he departs the APL with significant changes and additions that the game will now benefit from.

Townsend’s tenure includes the foundations of the APL where he began in December 2021, at the time where they separated from Football Australia.

Townsend was also the catalyst behind the five-year broadcast deal with Paramount ANZ we see today, backed by orchestrating new naming rights partners in rebranded A-Leagues competitions for men and women.

The creation of a record-length CBA embedded gender equity and extended further to welcoming three new teams to the Liberty A-League.

Going forward, A-Leagues Commissioner Nick Garcia and KEEPUP Managing Director James Rushton will lead the APL – reporting to the Board and newly appointed Independent Chair the Hon Stephen Conroy.

Garcia and Rushton will combine to oversee the A-Leagues strategic and tactical business operations in its administration, and the development of digital strategy to sustain and increase fan engagement.

Chair of the Board, the Hon Stephen Conroy, stated via media release:

“The APL has undergone extraordinary growth in just a two-and-a-half-year period under Danny’s leadership, and we thank him for his service to football in Australia and New Zealand, both as CEO of the APL and before that as CEO of Sydney FC. Danny leaves the game stronger than ever, and with a talented and committed executive team in place.  We wish him every success in his new role.”

“As the organisation moves into its next phase of development, we welcome the joint leadership of two highly experienced global sports executives and passionate football fans, in Nick Garcia and James Rushton.  Each of their appointments was the product of extensive search processes that resulted in what is an incredibly strong APL executive leadership team.

“The focus of the whole organisation remains on delivering a successful Isuzu UTE A-League Men and Liberty A-League Women 2023-24 season.”

In a closing statement, Townsend reflected on his time that saw considerable growth.

“We’ve made incredible progress over the last three years and I am extremely proud of what we have achieved as independent leagues.  I will always feel privileged to have had this opportunity to serve the game I love.  I very much look forward to seeing it continue to grow at pace,” he added via media release.

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