Football West commits to improved facilities access for TSP players

Football West has signed an agreement with the Mid West Academy of Sport in a bid to unearth and develop talent in and around the Geraldton region.

The deal will give players in Football West’s Hyundai Mid West Talent Support Program (TSP) access to a number of extra facilities. As well as receiving additional football training throughout the season, players based in the area will now have access to further strength and conditioning sessions, gym and physio, physical screening and testing and other services.

Football West Chief Football Officer Jamie Harnwell was pleased to announce the news.

“This is a great opportunity for our talented footballers in the Mid West to continue to develop without the constant burden of having to travel to Perth.”

“By making these services available, Football West and the Mid West Academy of Sport are providing a high quality, professional environment the equivalent of any metropolitan program.”

Mid West Academy of Sport CEO Darren Winterbine echoed Harnwell’s views, stating that this will help bridge the gap between football’s pathways and other sports in the region.

“It’s very exciting that we are now able to provide the services and specialised programs which we do for athletes from other sports”

“We have some really talented footballers in this town and we can give them an opportunity to get the highest level they can and access to facilities on par or better than metro kids have.”

Hyundai is the name sponsor of the TSP, which is an elite training program for talented boys and girls in metro and regional Western Australia.

The TSP is a pathway for players to be identified by coaches for national teams such as the Joeys and Junior Matildas.

SBS secure exclusive broadcast rights to the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup

FIFA World Cup Qatar

SBS have announced that they will exclusively broadcast the 2026 FIFA World Cup to Australian audiences, making the broadcaster the home of football for 40 years.

The deal means that SBS will broadcast all of the 104 games of the 2026 World Cup live across its SBS and SBS Viceland channels, and its SBS On Demand streaming platform.

SBS broadcast its first FIFA World Cup in 1986, when Mexico hosted the tournament and has become a major driver of revenue for the multicultural broadcaster, which is partly funded by advertising.

SBS Managing Director James Taylor explained how SBS were the perfect broadcaster for the world’s game.

“Football is in the DNA of SBS. We could not be more thrilled to announce that we will broadcast the 2026 tournament from North America, which will have more teams, more matches and draw more eyeballs than ever before,” he said via media release.

“We are bringing every match, live, free and exclusively in searing high definition.”

As for what’s further ahead on the horizon, it was also recently confirmed that Football Australia would not be putting in a formal bid for the 2034 FIFA Men’s World Cup, with Saudi Arabia becoming the only eligible bidder by the time the Wednesday morning deadline arrived.

It’s for sure a bitter blow for a country that showed the world that they are capable of holding a successful international football tournament, with the 2023 Women’s World Cup breaking attendance records and ticket sales exceeding the 1.8 million mark, another record that was smashed – football is well and truly growing in Australia.

However, this move by SBS to secure full broadcasting rights ensures football fans in Australia can continue to watch every World Cup game in an era where streaming services like Paramount+ and Optus Sport have handled many of the big domestic and international league and cup matches behind a subscription.

The broadcaster’s formula of providing full matches along with “mini match” and short highlights via SBS On Demand and the SBS sport YouTube channel helped drive millions of views and gave the fans a good amount of digital content to consume.

This broadcast deal is fantastic news for all Australian football fans who will benefit from not being restricted on watching the biggest sporting tournament on the planet in 2026.

Cook Government invests for Western Australia football legacy

Sam Kerr Football Centre

Western Australia football is set to enjoy benefits from the grassroots level in an effort to continue the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand legacy.

The Cook Labor Government is committing $9.3 million, with the funding a vital requirement for the young Western Australians wanting to participate following the success of the CommBank Matildas.

In addition, local women’s teams will enjoy a new $2.4 million Women’s World Cup Legacy Grants program. Each NPL club is eligible for up to $300,000 in funding for infrastructure and facility improvements to keep up with women’s participation.

A recently completed State Football Centre in Queens Park, valued at $50.8 million, has also been renamed as the Sam Kerr Football Centre, recognising the efforts of the CommBank Matildas captain. This centre has been the Matildas’ training base in Perth and will be a beneficiary of the legacy package.

In total, the facility includes two full-sized FIFA standard football pitches with lighting, three five-a-side playing pitches, sport science facilities, changing rooms, function room and a main administration building that also includes Football West.

A further $6.1 million investment for the centre will involve two additional pitches and lighting, as part of expansion plans for the ever-growing facility. The centre provides state-of-the-art training and playing facilities that also support grassroots, community and high-performance football programs.

As the governing body, Football West will continue to roll out programs and initiatives as part of the crucial funding.

Premier Roger Cook explained how the funding will create the legacy.

“Our Matildas are currently the biggest national sporting team in the country, and we cannot wait to celebrate their success and their legacy right here in Western Australia,” he stated via media release.

“The Women’s World Cup was an incredible tournament that Perth played a part in – and we want to make sure that the world game, and women’s football in particular, can continue to benefit from its success.

“Our Government’s investment in the women’s game is all about making sure every young Western Australian has the opportunity to become the next Sam Kerr.

“A key element of that is supporting grassroots clubs and a further investment in the State Football Centre – the WA home of football.”

Treasurer Rita Saffioti mentioned the importance of creating the best pathways for youth.

“By investing in key infrastructure that supports football in Western Australia, our State Government is creating a pathway for talented players to reach their full potential and compete at the highest level,” she stated via media release.

“We recognise that more needs to be done to support the game at grassroots level and this is what we are doing.”

Sport and Recreation Minister David Templeman outlined where the facilities come into play.

“Our commitment to the development and promotion of WA sport and its infrastructure is backed up by significant budget allocations by the Cook Government that will provide a solid foundation for the future,” he said via press release.

“This substantial financial support will create first-class facilities for both the sporting and wider communities and help boost participation in sport, particularly by women. We are determined to pursue other initiatives to meet ongoing needs and future requirements that will increase the participation of women in sport.

“This funding is an investment in sporting facilities, not just at the community level but also at the State level, with the hope of producing WA sports stars like Sam Kerr who can compete nationally and internationally well into the future.”

Football Australia CEO James Johnson delivered a final summary and thanked the WA Government for their investment.

“On behalf of Football Australia, I extend our heartfelt gratitude to the WA Government for their pivotal community funding,” he added via press release.

“This remarkable support not only underpins the lasting legacy of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in WA but also illuminates the path for countless young talents through the Women’s World Cup Legacy Grants program.

“The future shines brighter for football in our region, with improved facilities, enhanced infrastructure, and the promising expansion of community pitches at the WA State Football Centre.

“Together, we’re building a brighter future for the beautiful game in Western Australia.”

The legacy package follows the $15 million increase to the Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund as part of the 2023-24 Budget.

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