Football Tasmania releases plans for its Home of Football facility

In accordance with its 2023-26 Football Facility Strategy, Football Tasmania (FT) released its plans for a new Home of Football centre, to be based in the State’s South.

The $80 million investment promises three full-sized synthetic pitches, three full-sized grass pitches, and state-of-the-art changeroom and training facilities for men and women’s football. There will also be provisions for community football in the shape of four five-aside pitches.

The organisation’s Facilities Strategy is aimed at increasing grassroots participation in football and creating a clear pathway for juniors to the elite level of the game.

The release of artists’ impressions for the HOF suggests the Facilities Strategy is running on schedule, with initial plans for a state football facility master plan to be released by 2025-2026.

In addition to these plans, FT is working on regional football hubs in the North and North-West of the state, which it hopes to have completed in the near future.

Artists’ impressions of the new facility, to be based in the Tasmania’s South.

As an organisation, FT has consistently demanded more from local and state governments. Speaking about the plans, CEO Tony Pignata produced some statistics in a rousing speech via the governing body’s website.

“Right now, we are the poor cousin. The Tasmanian Government invests around $540 into every Tasmanian who plays Australian Rules and around $138 into every basketballer, yet only $19 in a football player,” Pignata stated via press release.

“A simple levelling of the funding playing field will go a long way to realising our priorities for football in Tasmania, and take football to the next level.”

The demand is there for better football facilities in Tasmania, with the game reaching 38,000 participants in 2023. FT projections suggest this figure will grow by 20% in the next few years.

“Football’s popularity is not only because of our inspirational Matildas, but because it’s one of the safest sports our kids can play, it encourages an active lifestyle, and creates a strong sense of community,” Pignata added via media release,

“It’s now more important than ever to ensure football has the pitches and facilities it needs for the long term.”

Elite football arrived in Tasmania earlier this year in the shape of two A-League Men encounters, with just over 5,000 spectators attending the encounter between Western United and Sydney FC at North Hobart Oval. That eclipsed the figure of 3,850 set the previous week when United faced Western Sydney Wanderers.

Investing in state-of-the-art football facilities promises not only to bring more elite football to the state, but increase its own contribution to the elite level of Australian football. This creates a recognised elite pathway for boys and girls at the grassroots level of Tasmanian football, and delivers numerous benefits to coaches, referees, and various stakeholders operating within the game.

The growth of football in Tasmania is an interesting space – thus, bold infrastructure plans by FT shows a commitment to both expanding and unifying the state’s football community.

WOW HYDRATE and Manchester United’s ‘Red Cherry’ drink aligned with mutual values

WOW HYDRATE launched its first-ever co-created ‘Red Cherry’ flavoured drink, working alongside one of the world’s biggest football clubs – demonstrating the shared mission of the two organisations that started with a multi-year global sponsorship from November last year.

WOW HYDRATE is a sports drink brand influencing the future of sports and fitness hydration, through its health benefits in the products.

Their range contains drinks with four essential electrolytes and vitamins B6, C & D – while also being sugar, fat and gluten free.

England and Manchester United centre-back Harry Maguire is a brand ambassador for WOW HYDRATE, who also partner with world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, UK boxing promotion company BOXXER, West Ham United Women’s team, rugby club Castleford Tigers and Essex Cricket.

At the heart of these collaborations is WOW HYDRATE Managing Director Queenie Porter, who shared how the new ‘Red Cherry’ drink came about.

Harry Maguire is an ambassador from Manchester United.

“We had a board meeting last summer and we have some great individual ambassadors while also prominent in the world of boxing, so we asked how can we take the next step,” she told Soccerscene.

“We were wondering how we can resonate with the sport world and touch base with the consumer.

“When looking at football clubs, the number one priority was Manchester United because they are the biggest in the world.

“It was a mutual connection because they were looking for a hydration partner, and we were of course looking for a football club. The deal happened so quickly not in a rush, but because our values aligned so well – Manchester United are fan first, whereas we are consumer first.

“The way that Manchester United run their business is like one big family – from a receptionist all the way up to CEO.

“Both of us operate in the same manner and we just clicked as a result.”

While the sports drinks are prominent in UK-based Tesco stores, we will expect to see a greater expansion in the near future.

Porter shared what we can look forward to.

“We are planning to rollout WOW HYDRATE into 600 Woolworths stores in Australia from late April this year,” she said.

“It adds to our existing reach in Dubai and Saudi Arabia, while this year will also see the push into Europe including Spain and France – while we’ll also enter the United States towards the backend of 2024.

“We want to ensure that everything will be aligned and Manchester United will be a key part of that – whenever we venture somewhere new, the Club will be involved in the launch.”

Porter on the touchline of Old Trafford with the ‘Red Cherry’ drink.

In her role, Porter is passionate about getting the very best out of women’s sport.

Rather than competing, she sees it from a different lens when assessing fan demographics.

“Naturally I’m really passionate about women’s sport, particularly in football,” she said.

“What I want to use my platform for is to support the women’s game in its own identity.

“There’s a lot around people wanting to make the men’s and women’s game equal, but I just want to focus on making the women’s game the best it can be in its own standing.

“It brings in a much more family audience, so from a brand perspective you can tap into what you otherwise would not have before.

“Women have different needs to men such as in recovery, so I want to ensure that women have the support there.

“For example with ACL injuries, our protein drink is one of the best ways to recover white muscle tissues.”

Porter with the Manchester United home shirt.

A key orchestrator of the collaboration was Victoria Timpson, Manchester United’s CEO of Alliances and Partnerships.

The Red Devils will support WOW HYDRATE in promoting all the benefits they offer.

“We are very proud to have welcomed WOW HYDRATE as Manchester United’s official sports hydration partner and excited to work with the brand on educating our fans on the importance of hydration and the science behind its products,” she said exclusively to Soccerscene.

“WOW HYDRATE’s ability to work with the club to collaborate on the dual branded Red Cherry hydration drink and make it available to our fans within months of announcing the partnership, demonstrates its strong position within the global market. WOW HYDRATE has been well received by our fans and we look forward to building on this throughout the partnership.”

WOW HYDRATE’s health benefits in its drinks allow a club like Manchester United to rest and recover from strenuous schedules including the Premier League and European competition.

The household name that is Manchester United, coupled with international expansion, makes WOW HYDRATE a name that’s one to watch.

For full details and its products, you can view WOW HYDRATE’s website here.

Play Our Way grant available until end of April in 2024

Following the respective successes of both the CommBank Matilda’s performance and Australia’s hosting abilities of the 2023 Women’s FIFA World Cup, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has committed $200 million into the “Play Our Way” Grant Program.

As the current biggest investment into Women’s sport across the nation, applications for the grant still remain open with the closing date on April 29, 2024.

Working in conjunction with non-for-profit businesses, local government officials, and sport organizations nationwide, the overall aspiration of the program is to make sport for woman and girls ‘more welcoming and equitable.’ 

The $200 million grant is available in funding over a three year period in which will be split into two streams:

Participation and equipment:
Funding will be placed into programs that inspire females of all ages to become involved within sporting and physical activity obligations. The employment of recruitment and commitment officers, coaches, officials and volunteers is crucial for the growth and sustainability of women’s sport. Further funding will be implemented into equipment to assist with the encouragement of women’s participation. There is nothing more off putting than using out dated, uninspired equipment hence the importance in which surrounds its necessary upgrade.

Facilities:
Much in the same vein as the previous entry, the establishment and improvement of facilities is another primary focus of the program. To encourage and inspire woman to be involved within sport, it is crucial that they are recipients of facilities in that are of a high-standard. The lack of adequacy within facilities can be a deterrent across all sporting codes for all of its participants, regardless of age, ability or gender.

Clubs with all the relevant information are urged to apply for the grant in which can be completed upon the Football Australia website, as well as each state football website. The grant is assessed and determined by the Department of Health and Aged Care, in whom are transparent and impartial. Guidelines within the application process showcased a clubs eligibility, grant amount and time period, application process, and what the grant can be used upon.

The game within Australia is on a trajectory, especially within the women’s cohort. The government backed program presents a monumental opportunity for current and emerging women’s football contingents across the state.

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