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How A-League clubs can tackle waste management

It’s been widely publicised about how waste is going into landfill as we look at ways to protect our environment.

As a community, soccer clubs around the country have the ability to start making changes that will help the environment become better. What can we learn from overseas?

When you think about it, we go through a lot of waste at soccer games. Plastic cups, cans, food wrappers, bottles and more. Whether it be at the professional or local level, clubs are always dealt the task of cleaning up after matches.

Despite the recycling crisis remaining a problem across Australia, there hasn’t ever really been a system in place about ways to manage the rubbish from matches. Some clubs opt for both recycling and rubbish bins, but sometimes there are only the main general waste bins available.

We can only hope that the recycling crisis eases soon, but what can clubs and ground staff do now to prepare for a more sustainable future?

It needs to be put on the table because recently in Victoria there’s been a speculative idea to solve the current recycling issues – that is to have up to six different bins to seperate kerbside waste.

That’s a lot of sorting out to do if it comes to fruition and if it does happen clubs should start thinking about what measures they can put in place now.

While rubbish sent to landfill is inevitable, are there any lessons to be learned from overseas about how clubs and supporters can help restrict the amount of rubbish?

It comes as a report revealed that over 6 million single use cups for hot drinks were used by fans at Premier League matches throughout the course of the 2018/19 season, demonstrating that it’s not only here that waste could be reduced.

It gives a glimpse into how much waste there is, and why it’s important to address it before it’s too late.

Some changes have already been implemented in English clubs, with some trials being put to the test as they look for creative ways to limit the rubbish sent to landfill.

In a fixture at London Stadium, West Ham trialled a system where they used reusable cups along with 100 well signed collection points, which enabled them to save over 20,000 cups being sent to landfill.

Perhaps even more creative, at Twickenham Stadium they have introduced a deposit return scheme that has been a great success. The refundable deposit comes with a fan’s first drink, and basically they can either return for another drink or leave the ground with a souvenir.

As a starting point, it’s worth investigating how to be more sustainable by relying less on plastics. It comes as single-use plastics are slowly being phased out as a way to limit its damage to the environment.

This is where clubs can begin to become more creative with their resources. Instead of the general plastic that has no use afterwards, people should start thinking twice before chucking something out. Over time if clubs think with this mindset, it would make for some positive changes.

Waste management can be something that can be overlooked by local clubs, but getting fans onside and thinking about how to be more sustainable is a good move forward.

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

Football NSW grants webinar to aid clubs and associations

FNSW

Football NSW in conjunction with ‘The Grants Guy’ are set to premiere a free Grants Zoom online webinar next Wednesday (September 22) at 6:30pm – 7:30pm.

FNSW clubs and associations will be provided with valuable information through the grants webinar, especially for applying for funding which have assisted many teams in the past in their pursuit of seeking facility upgrades amongst various other beneficial elements.

The webinar will provide a practical guide to grant writing for any football club seeking to attain funding by applying for the Greater Cities Sport Facility Fund and the Regional Sport Facility Fund in particular.

Both grants will be explained through the practical step by step webinar, and guidance will be provided as to how to apply for the Grants.

The following topics will be discussed:

  • How to apply for the grant – the do’s and don’ts
  • Eligibility & Answering the Question
  • Project Assessment, Evaluation, Rationale, Methodology
  • Budget & Acquittal
  • Getting Grant Ready and Planning your Club’s Application

For the Greater Cities and Regional Sport Facility Fund, the second and final round of the $100 million grant is available, with grants of up to $1 million offered to sport and recreation organisations and councils.

In Round 2, up to $46 million is available for projects that improve sports facilities and recreational spaces and enable more people to participate in sport and active recreation.

Grants from $100,000 up to $1 million are available for a range of projects including lighting, amenity buildings, clubrooms, change rooms and grandstands.

Round 1 resulted in $54 million awarded for 91 projects, with over $10 million awarded to football projects.

Round 2 is the final round of the program with applications closing at 12pm, on October 8, 2021.

Register for the webinar today by clicking here.

For any further questions please contact Football NSW’s Government Relation, Infrastructure and Funding Manager Daniel Ristic via email on danielr@footballfacilities.com.au.

Player sentiment up, average age down: PFA releases annual report

Sentiment is well and truly up for A-League players, according to the annual Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) report.

This time last year, only 33% of A-League players felt confident about the direction of their football careers.

According to the PFA’s latest annual report, that number is now 56%.

Of the A-League’s 312 players, 200 responded to the 2020/21 A-League survey, capturing 70% of the current cohort, with the results proving that even despite the ongoing turbulence and uncertainty of COVID-19, the majority of players feel much more confident about their futures within the game.

The report highlights that Australian players actively want to remain in the A-League, as opposed to seeking opportunities overseas.

The key numbers that demonstrate this include:

  • 55% of players said they would like to stay playing in the A-League next season, up from 45% last year.
  • 56% of players are confident about the direction of their football careers, compared to 33% in 2019/20.
  • Only 4% of players would move to an overseas league even if it was for similar money and/or playing standard.
  • Only 16% of players who would prefer to move to an overseas league would only do so if the money and standards were better.

Other highlights of the report include that the average A-League player is getting younger.

Over the last 14 years, the average age of the A-League player has consistently trended upwards.

In 2020/21, however, this changed and the average age trended downwards, dropping from 27.6 to 25.1.

The number of players utilised in the A-League who were aged 21 and under came in at 107, representing 35% of the 300 players who received A-League minutes during the 2020/21 season.

The youngest squads on average belonged to Central Coast Mariners and Adelaide United, with average ages of 23.6 and 23.9 years respectively.

Another highlight was the fact that of the league’s 312 contracted players, 300 received A-League minutes.

“These reports have been immensely valuable, helping the PFA and the players better understand the industry in which they are employed, monitor the application of high-performance standards, assess technical progress and survey the players’ experience,” PFA Co-Chief Executive Beau Busch said of the report.

“For the last five years, we have been able to utilise these reports to formulate evidence-based positions to improve the environments in which our members work through collective bargaining.

“Promisingly, after a period of significant uncertainty, the players have indicated that they are more confident in the direction of their careers and the future of the competition than this time last year, signifying a positive shift in the perception of the A-League.”

The report also highlights the fact that A-League attendances were the lowest ever in the competition, thanks in large part to COVID-19, with an average attendance of 5,660.

Foreign players in the league reduced by 12 to a total of 51, whilst the average salary in the A-League is $136,791.

Access the full report HERE.

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