Football Tasmania CEO Matt Bulkeley believes it is time football received a fairer share of state government funding.
The governing body launched its state budget submission on Saturday, lobbying the government for appropriate funding for Tasmania’s most played team sport.
“Football Tasmania has made a submission regarding the 2020-21 budget, which outlines the areas we believe are key to ensuring the state’s most played and fastest growing team sport can continue to flourish and enrich the lives of Tasmanians,” Bulkeley said.
“At the same time that some sports are seeing declining participation, Football Tasmania’s biggest challenge is dealing with continual growth in demand to play football, which is only likely to increase now Australia has been selected host of the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
“With Ausplay statistics estimating over 38,000 people already play the world game in Tasmania, football is more popular than any other sport in the state, yet it continues to receive just a fraction of the funding provided to other sports.
“We are seeking our fair share of funding to expand our focus on increasing access to junior participation in low socio-economic areas, pushing towards complete gender equality in football and increasing our engagement in schools.
“We’re also proposing a partnership with the Department of Education to upgrade a number of school facilities to a standard which can be utilised for football in out-of-school hours.
“We believe these asks are reasonably modest when you take into account football’s position as the most played sport in Tasmania and the resulting community and economic benefit the World Game already brings to the state.”
The 2021 budget process has been pushed back due to COVID-19, with Bulkeley claiming the organisation’s submission had been revised to ensure the state would make full use of the opportunities presented by hosting a Women’s World Cup in 2023.
“The 2023 World Cup opens a host of exciting opportunities to grow the profile and participation of football in Tasmania and inspire the next generation of players pull on the boots,” he said.
“With a strong possibility of up to three tournament games being held in Launceston, as well as potential training camps and pre-tournament matches, Tasmanians will have never-before-seen exposure to the highest level of football in their own state.
“The soaring global popularity of women’s international football will also see Tasmania showcased to the rest of the world and it’s important we put our best foot forward as a state.
“It’s vital Tasmania does not miss out on this unique opportunity to provide an infrastructure legacy which will benefit Tasmanians for years to come by investing in enhancements to identified facilities throughout the state before the cup takes place.”