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Heidelberg United FC launch new initiative honouring corporate partners

Heidelberg United is honoring their business and corporate partners with H.U.B (Heidelberg United in Business).

Heidelberg United is honouring their business and corporate partners with HUB (Heidelberg United in Business) – creating networking opportunities at events and highlighting their contribution to the club, with larger events planned for the coming months.

The venture aims to celebrate their partners and create opportunities to connect through a mutual love of football. The Victorian National Premier League team honoured the support their corporate and business partners have given the club throughout the years in a launch event that is planned to be the first of many.

The launch of HUB at Heidi’s Café saw a keynote speech from former club great and Melbourne Victory technical director Gary Cole. The launch was attended by over 80 guests, made up of club members and representatives from the club’s partners. Also in attendance were high-profile guests including State Legislative Councillor Lee Tarlamis OAM, and ex-Collingwood premiership-winning AFL player Ben Johnson.

Heidelberg United president Steve Tsalikidis oversaw the implementation of HUB, and says that the launch has been a success for both the club and its corporate partners.

“The concept was created because we want the ability of our partners to network and create opportunities, and also to say thank you to them because without them we couldn’t continue to do what we do,” he said.

Tsalikidis believes clubs within Australia need to engage more with their partners in the future to expand their support.

“One thing clubs need to get better at, generally speaking, is having engagement and respect with our partners. There is an obligation to invest back into the community, and that is what we are doing through Heidelberg United in Business,” he said.

Tsalikidis elaborated that the first event was a success for the club and its sponsors, with future events being open to the public and other prospective sponsors.

“I’m hearing already that they’ve started working together. The next event will be a proper business-to-business event at the Olympic hotel, where people can buy tickets to the event,” he said.

Future HUB events are planned to continue to strengthen the ties between Heidelberg United Football Club and their affiliated partners, while also allowing for their contribution to the team’s success to be promoted to the wider footballing community.

Heidelberg United is assessing how to develop and refine the “HUB” concept to further engage the corporate sector as an integral partner to the club both on and off the field.

NSW Sports Minister puts plan forward for return of community sport

Junior football

NSW grassroots clubs and associations have received a major boost in the road towards returning to a COVID-safe community sport setup.

Whilst roadmap plans had been provided for the hospitality and education sectors in recent weeks, the community sporting sector had been left in the dark in the path to return to normality.

Speaking with Chris Smith at 2GB, NSW Sports Minister Natalie Ward outlined the future for community sporting clubs and associations going forward.

“I’ve put a plan forward. I have been a really strong advocate for a return to community sport. I’ve spoken to [NSW Health Minister] Brad Hazzard as recently as yesterday, and I’ve spoken with all of the sporting organisations to put a plan to him to say that we need a clear pathway out of here,” she said.

“Double vax is the key of course, and that is so that we can provide that clarity. The government’s announced that at 70% double-dosed groups of 20 can gather, so why can’t they gather and train together? Why can’t they be out there training and kicking a ball around?”

When probed about the potential attendance of parents at community sporting events, Ward was empathetic to the challenges NSW sporting families have faced whilst remaining cautious.

“We know that last time in lockdown that parents were restricted in what they could do. Now we know with the double dose that people are very aware that they need to comply with those orders [and] to do so safely so that everyone attending can do it in a very COVID-safe way,” she said.

“The last thing we want is to be able to open up the season and then have to shut it down.”

In support of the clubs and associations, Ward added: “I’ve got such faith in them [the clubs and associations], because they know their players; they know their members; they know their registrations; and they’re really good at implementing these plans.”

“So, I’ve put to [NSW] Health that there’s no better organisations than these sporting clubs [and] community clubs who have these volunteers that take this really seriously. They know this better than anyone.

“I’ve got confidence in them and I’ve said they’re ready, willing and able to implement this plan to give us a clear green light to get going.”

For grassroots clubs who have unfortunately had to shut down due to the impact of the extensive lockdown, Ward stressed the importance of providing a lifeline.

“It’s been really distressing. My family has been involved in a grassroots club [and] they run on nothing – the smell of an oily rag and volunteers,” she said.

“I have said to the treasurer that he needs to consider that they’re really clinging on. And the sooner that we can open the season up, even late as it is, as soon as we can get out there that’s throwing them a lifeline.”

A recent survey of Australia’s 70,000 community sport clubs has found almost all have lost money, with thousands of them facing the risk of going under.

It is found that 83 per cent of respondents reported their earnings were down by an average of $18,500 and 13 per cent feared they could go to the wall. The foundation’s CEO, Patrick Walker, revealed that amounted to about 9,000 clubs nationally.

The full survey, which was commissioned by the Australian Sport Foundation, can be accessed here.

Hills Football plans submission for Caddies Creek – Stage 2

Hills Football Association

Hills Football Association, in conjunction with its representative arm, Hills United FC, intend on providing an extensive submission to The Hills Shire Council regarding the masterplan for Caddies Creek Sports Complex – Stage 2.

With the support and endorsement of Football NSW and Football Australia, Hills Football endeavours to satisfy the growing interest in football within the Hills Shire.

A true community organisation, HFI provides football for all players of all ages and all abilities. Despite the recent challenges with COVID-19, the association still registered 13,000 winter participants.

Key highlights in 2021 included reaching the association’s highest ever participation numbers, female teams doubling from 2020 to 2021, the inclusion of a Women’s Premier League and Over-50s Walking Football League.

However, the facilitation of the area’s most participated sport is at the strategic forefront of the association, catering for not only participation and population growth but also providing the football community with its long overdue ‘Home of Football’.

HFI annually caters for over 20,000 members – inclusive of summer & winter participants, coaches, referees, as well as their hard-working volunteers and club officials. Notably, Hills remains the only Sydney-metro association without a defined ‘Home of Football’ for its vastly growing community.

“Hills Football significantly exceeded the state average player-to-pitch ratio of 189, with 224 players per pitch. This is only expected to increase following significant population growth and the legacy of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup,” General Manager Matt Rippon said.

“The proposed masterplan allows the Association to accommodate all levels of football, coach and referee education, player development and pathway programs as well as key community fixtures and events. A long-term legacy to the people of The Hills and its most participated sport.”

Football NSW CEO Stuart Hodge added: “Football NSW completely supports Hills Football’s aspiration to have a ’home of football’ at Caddies Creek Sports Complex.

“The location is ideal to support the continued significant growth in participation that the region is enjoying and will provide a high-performance environment to assist in nurturing the next generation of Matildas and Socceroos.”

Facilities such as the Caddies Creek Sports Complex – Stage 2 not only enable growth in the game, but they also enable help community development. This ensures the Hills Football community has adequate spaces to actively and safely engage in the world game.

This was reiterated by Hills United FC Senior Football Manager and former Socceroo and Head of National Teams, Luke Casserly.

“Football is a unique sport, it is an enabler for people of all abilities, ages & cultures to come together and speak the one language whilst connecting us to the broader community,” he said.

The football community can get involved and support Hills Football’s submission by completing the form available here.

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