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Football West partners with atWork Australia

A new partnership between Football West and atWork Australia has been launched.

This recent development will see the two organisations come together until the end of the season – atWork Australia are the Offical Program Supporter of the All Abilities and Inclusion Program.

The importance of having an association like this linked with an NPL league is the connection it has that everyone should be entitled to have a fair go.

AtWork Australia is a leader in the employment services area who offer all Australians across the nation with a chance to apply for jobs and support them as they build better quality working lives.

In the past year, atWork helped about 7,000 Australians find work. It doesn’t matter whether someone has a disability, illness or injury – because they promote inclusiveness.

AtWork can support people with their goals and aspirations, build skills and get them ready for work by having them accustomed to the lifestyle. The skills developed will also help them do well in interviews to lead them towards employment.

AtWork has 30 offices in Western Australia and over 270 across the country, ready to assist job seekers from all walks of life.

Liam Watson is a Senior Journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on international football policy, industry matters and industry 4.0

Football Tasmania receives backing from Glenorchy Acting Mayor

Football Tasmania receives support

Football Tasmania’s plans for upgrades to infrastructure have been boosted by the support of Glenorchy City Council’s Acting Mayor and mayoral candidate, Bec Thomas.

Upgrades at KGV Park and North Chigwell are set to occur with procurements for the design and construction of new changerooms and a grandstand at KGV initiated this week.

Thomas demonstrated her commitment by confirming the upgrades that are set to occur.

“I am pleased to confirm we received the final funding agreement for signing this week and the project team have now hit ‘play on’, issuing the procurements for both the design and construction of the new changerooms and grandstand at KGV and for temporary change rooms,” she said.

“We are also about to issue the request for tender for the first stage of the North Chigwell project, which is to evaluate options for the design and management of the facility to ensure the football hub is fit for purpose and sustainable into the long-term future.”

Thomas went on to indicate that Glenorchy City Council has always been committed to prioritising the Northern Suburbs Football Facilities development projects, which is to be achieved through a funding allocation of $14.3 million.

“This is made up of $12.8 million from the Australian Government’s 2018 election commitment, an additional $1 million from the Australian Government’s Community Development Grant Program and $500,000 from the Tasmanian Government’s Levelling the Playing Field Grant program,” she said.

“Since the funds were promised, we have been working closely with all stakeholders to combine and leverage funding sources to get the best possible outcome for the football community and ratepayers and residents of Glenorchy.

“These projects represent significant investments, with $8.96 million allocated to the North Chigwell Hub and $4.84 million to the KGV upgrades, so it’s important we get them right and make sure the facilities are sustainable into the future.

Football Tasmania CEO Matt Bulkeley acknowledged the enormous benefits that the upgrades are to have foe the local community and wider football community.

“I’d like to thank Ms Thomas for recognising the importance of both the KGV and North Chigwell projects,” he said.

“It’s great to see progress is being made and that we can expect to see action at the sites soon now the funding agreement has been received.

“Football participation is bursting at the seams in the state and upgrades at both KGV and North Chigwell will help even more Tasmanians enjoy the World Game safely and comfortably.”

Knights Stadium: More than just a home ground

Knights Stadium is one of the most iconic venues in Australian football – for many it is more than just a stadium.

The ground was built in 1989 with storied history. Melbourne Knights, formerly known as Melbourne Croatia SC, were two-time National Soccer League (NSL) champions and four-time minor premiers at the ground during the 1990s.

The Mark Viduka Stand can seat up to 3,000 people, while another 12,000 can stand around the pitch. The ground represents the largest football-only sporting ground in the state of Victoria – testament to the history and strength of Melbourne Knights FC.

Knights Stadium in 2002 with the Mark Viduka Stand.

Former Melbourne Knights president Andelko Cimera says he was part of the club while Knights Stadium was becoming a reality.

“We were playing at the old number two pitch at Olympic Park, where the dog track was, and that was virtually our home. We were looking for alternatives and a couple of properties came up – a drive-in in Altona and a drive-in at North Sunshine,” he said.

“We settled on Sunshine because it was a little bit cheaper. I think we paid $180,000 at that time in 1984. 12 months later we started developing the stadium.”

Melbourne Croatia at the time tried to secure the rights to play at Heidelberg United’s home ground Olympic Park and several other venues, before a decade-long donation drive allowed them to raise the money to purchase the land and develop a facility at the current site of Somers Street.

94/95 NSL champions

Melbourne Knights FC President Pave Jusup says that much of his childhood was spent at Knights Stadium.

“We only saw the stadium for games. We would always strive to go there, and sometimes the juniors would have an important game that’d let us on the second ground, even the main ground,” he said.

“If you walked into the wrong part of the ground the groundskeeper would grab you and make you be a ball boy, and you’d get a hotdog and drink after the game. It was a whole childhood for a lot of us.”

Jusup adds that Melbourne Knights and the stadium serve as a key pillar within the Croatian community.

“There are a lot of memories that have been created there. A lot of people are tied to the physical place and it is a hub of the Croatian community along with the Croatian club in Footscray and the original Croatian church in Clifton Hill. We are the three constant and long-term fixtures in the community,” he said.

Cimera explains that there were both positives and negatives towards the stadium being community ran and operated.

“There were advantages and disadvantages. It was our property, it was our ground. It was up to us whether it was Sunday night, Saturday afternoon, or Friday night game. It was always available to us,” he said.

“The disadvantages were that everything was up to us. The maintenance of the ground was up to us. The facility became a burden to the Croatian community, which involved all our payments, all our rates which were paid for by the community.”


Both Jusup and Cimera agree that the biggest games were always against South Melbourne.

“It became a fortress for us in the 90s. It was difficult to take points away from our ground for teams,” Cimera said.

“I think our record crowd was when Hadjuk Split was here, that was close to 15,000. I remember when we played South Melbourne we had 12,000 people. The games between South Melbourne and us were always the biggest crowds.”

During the 2000 National Soccer League season, over 11,000 people descended upon Knights Stadium to watch Melbourne Croatia vs South Melbourne Hellas.

“Around 2001, they were top of the table and unbeaten, while we were mid to low-end of the table. We beat them 4-0. That is one game that sticks out in my mind,” Jusup said.

For both Cimera and Jusup, they acknowledge that the supporters and members of Melbourne Knights want to see Knights Stadium and the club feature in a second division.

“It’s not only the Melbourne Knights. It’s the juniors too because they can have a career path. Right now they can’t see a career path. Without promotion and relegation, it makes it very difficult,” Cimera said.

“We’ve got a lot of latent fans who are disappointed in the situation we find ourselves in. There are a lot of people who would put their hands up and into their pockets to help propel the club if given the opportunity. We’ve gone through a period of consolidation, but there’s a new generation of people who want to propel the club into the limelight as their parents and grandparents did,” Jusup said.

If the opportunity to join a second division does arise for Melbourne Knights, then their home ground won’t look out of place on the national stage.

Referee Recognition Week underway for Northern NSW Football

Beginning Monday July 19 and ending Sunday July 25, Northern NSW Football’s Newcastle Permanent Referee Recognition Week is dedicated to advocating for respect of match officials.

Motivated by the sole aim of providing the football community with the chance to express their gratitude and appreciation for referees and their assistants, Referee Recognition Week is NNSW Football’s annual celebration of match officials.

In addition, the week also acts as a reminder that match officials are intrinsic members of the football community who are to be respected by players, coaches, volunteers and supporters.

Referee weekNNSW Football Head of Football Development Peter Haynes explains that the initiative, which is planned alongside NNSW Football’s long-term community partner Newcastle Permanent, aimed to put a spotlight on the contributions of match officials across Northern NSW whilst encouraging members of the football community to demonstrate their appreciation.

“Officiating a match is often a thankless task. But without our referees we wouldn’t be able to play our beautiful game,” Haynes said.

“Referees and assistant referees play a key role in not just allowing players to go out and play but also keeping our players safe. Then there are our referee assessors and coaches who are also such a vital part of our sport as they help teach and educate our referees of the future.

“We encourage all our members to show their respect and appreciation towards our referees during the week, particularly thanking them for their efforts in ensuring a safe environment, underlined by a sense of fair play, for everyone.”

Newcastle Permanent supports match officials throughout the season through its monthly Community Recognition Awards Program, where a referee from each of Northern NSW Football’s seven Member Zones are recognised for their outstanding contribution.

Newcastle Permanent’s Chief Customer Experience and Delivery Officer Paul Juergens adds that continued recognition of match officials is a step in the right direction to respecting them for the work they do.

“We know referees and match officials play a vital role in community football,” Juergens said.

“They’re not only responsible for keeping players safe and making sure the rules of the game are followed but they also help create a great experience for players and spectators.

“Newcastle Permanent is proud to shine a light on their importance and contribution through our monthly Community Recognition Awards program. And this week, as part of our annual Referee Recognition Week campaign, we invite the football community to join in and say thanks.”

Northern NSW Football will acknowledge referees throughout the week at northernnswfootball.com.au and through its social media channels.

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