Greater Sydney clubs receive $10 million for infrastructure upgrades

Football clubs in Greater Sydney have a share of $10 million in funding, as part of Round 1 of the Greater Cities Sports Facility Fund.

15 football projects were announced – ranging from new amenity buildings, synthetic fields, lighting upgrades and field renovations.

The NSW Government has confirmed a major investment in sports facilities across NSW, awarding more than $52 million in grants under the Greater Cities and Regional Sport Facility Fund.

NSW Minister for Sport Natalie Ward said the projects are to improve accessibility, inclusion and participation opportunities for females and people with disability.

Football funding was spread throughout Greater Sydney, from as far south as Fairy Meadow (Illawarra United Stingrays) and west in the Bankstown region (Padstow) and into Sydney’s northwest region (Kenthurst Park).

Sutherland Shire FA benefitted from three successful projects worth over $1.4 million towards amenity upgrades and a major lighting upgrade to Heathcote Oval.

Canterbury District Soccer Football Association clubs scored $2 million in funding with the implementation of Waterworth Park ($1 million) and a new amenity building at Ewen Park for Hurlstone Park Wanderers FC also assisted with $1 million.

Football NSW CEO Stuart Hodge thanked the NSW Government for its support to bring these much-needed infrastructure upgrades to clubs.

“The funding from the NSW Government will assist our football clubs in meeting the future demand of the largest sport in Australia and NSW,” Hodge said.

“The NSW Football Infrastructure Strategy recognises that football demand is already exceeding facility supply. If action is not taken now to plan infrastructure over the coming decade, then the gap will widen and opportunities to play will be lost.”

Seven venues received funding for amenity upgrades, supporting Football NSW’s focus area of increasing and improving gender neutral player and match official change room provision under the Inclusive Football Facilities pillar of the NSW Football Infrastructure Strategy.

Amenity upgrades will help improve the current facility situation where only one in five amenity buildings are gender neutral and female friendly across NSW.

As the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is only two years away, infrastructure projects funded in Round 1 will provide an enormous benefit for clubs as they future proof their venue in anticipation of increased female participants over the coming years.

The successfully funded projects will allow players, coaches, referees and volunteers of all abilities to fully enjoy their football experience well into the future.

A full list of successful recipients from the Greater Cities Facility Fund, Round 1 can be found here.

An extra $25 million will be made available in Round 2 of the Greater Cities Sports Facility Fund which is expected to open shortly.

Clubs and associations seeking funding for the next round should contact Daniel Ristic from the Facilities and Advocacy Unit at Football NSW.

Liam Watson is the Co-Founder & Publisher of Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

Newcastle Jets secure A-League future with new owners confirmed

Newcastle Jets have confirmed Maverick Sports Partners as the Club’s new owners. This ownership, subject to final approval from the APL and Football Australia, will launch a “new era” for the Jets under MSP ownership.

This massive announcement comes not long after Australian Professional Leagues chairman Stephen Conroy failed to guarantee Newcastle’s future only three months ago.

The statement said that Maverick Sports Partners have confirmed an agreement to acquire the Newcastle Jets Football Club and are now deeply focused on implementing their plans to bring long term stability and success to this Club.

The Group lead by experienced sports administrator Maurice Bisetto who played a major part in the establishment of Western United FC in the A-Leagues.

Maverick Sports Group is an Australian sports consortium based out of Wetherhill Park in Sydney’s South-West.

Newcastle Jets CEO Shane Mattiske confirmed the significant news.

“Today is a hugely significant day for this Club and this community, as we confirm Maverick Sports Partners as the new owners of the Jets,” said Mattiske in a club statement.

“Over the last three years, we have built a strong foundation for the future of this football club, and it is exciting to be beginning a new era with incoming owners who believe in the opportunity that exists with this Club, with this community and with football as a whole.

“Throughout our process, Maurice Bisetto, the consortium representative, and his partners have demonstrated a deep understanding of football and how to bring success. They also understand this community and their plans are very much aligned with the work that is already underway. I know the Group will bring positive new thinking, new connections and a wealth of experience that will drive the growth of this Club moving forward.

“With this transition to a permanent ownership structure, it is important to acknowledge the support that the outgoing ownership group has provided to the Club over the last three and a half years. These owners believed in the importance of this Club to this community and to the A-Leagues’ competition as a whole.

“They have played a hugely significant role in the history of this Club and on behalf of all fans and stakeholders of the Jets I want to acknowledge the commitment and contribution they have made to us all. Their huge support of this Club will forever be remembered.”

Maverick Sports Partners Director Maurice Bisetto is determined to connect with the Newcastle, Hunter Valley and Northern NSW Community.

“We believe in this Club, the A-Leagues and its players and we’re determined to build success for the Jets and this region,” said Bisetto in a statement.

“We have been impressed by the strength of football here in this region. We know there is a strong historical fanbase and a strong participation base here and we want to bring all of these people together for our Men’s and Women’s games.

“Our team at Maverick Sports Partners are absolutely committed to, and very excited, about the opportunity that exists here at the Newcastle Jets. We see this as the beginning of a new era for the Newcastle Jets and look forward to building a truly great Club with the support of this community.”

This news is huge for the league and the Jets financially, with the club no longer being a financial responsibility for the four other A-League clubs that funded them (Sydney FC, Western Sydney, Western United and Wellington Phoenix).

The Jets can easily recruit players and rebuild to become a stronger unit on the field whilst securing stability off it, and the foundation A-League club with a healthy fanbase and great location can continue to exist.

Iconic Lambert Park re-opens after $2m refurbishment

Lambert Park, home of the APIA Leichardt Football Club, officially re-opened on the weekend after a successful $2m refurbishment.

The extensive investment for the iconic local club includes:

– Replacement of the all-weather playing surface

– Improved drainage

– New concrete edge, stairs and fencing around the perimeter

– Improved access with a new ramp to allow access on the field

The ground is gradually improving to become one of the premier NPL surfaces in the country and this is another one of many recent upgrades helped by the commitment of the Inner West Council.

Currently the ground has two main stands on either side of the playing surface. In the southern stands, there are dressing room facilities, a social club with views of the game, press facilities and media facilities.

On Sunday, the new look Lambert Park was the home for the APIA Leichardt vs Gladesville Ravens NPL Women’s game, and the day was spent in celebration of the refurbishment, as the club organised an event.

The event included an official ceremony by Inner West Council pre-game, free ice cream and activations which drew a decent crowd to the game.

APIA posted an update regarding Sunday’s re-opening.

“Lambert Park was filled with Maroon and Blue as over 400 predominantly female footballers celebrated the $2 million Lambert Park upgrade,” APIA confirmed on their social media accounts.

“The day was filled with some fantastic football and some great activations and enjoyed by all.

“The clubs would also like to thank local clubs Balmain & District Football Club, Leichardt Saints and opponents on the day Gladesville Ravens Women’s NPL football for supporting the day.

“It was a special day for football in our community.”

Lambert Park is an iconic ground that has seen some of Australia’s best names start their careers there since it was first used in 1954.

APIA Leichardt Football Club has produced more Matildas and Socceroos than any other club in Australian history.

The ground gets another much deserved upgrade and will continue to host NPL NSW matches across all age groups in both men’s and women’s competitions.

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