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Lalor United FC to receive multi-million dollar makeover at HR Uren Reserve

Lalor United FC are set to benefit from a multi-million dollar facility upgrade at HR Uren Reserve, the club’s home ground in Thomastown.

Under the upgrade plans, the club will receive a new synthetic pitch, a new pavilion – which will include a multi-purpose social space and a notable carpark extension.

Lalor have been pushing for these upgrades for a number of years – according to vice president of the club Emil Atanasov, with the local Whittlesea City Council providing significant support which included funding for the project.

Speaking to Soccerscene, Atanasov explained the timeline for the implementation of the upgrades.

“Stage One of the project is to put in a brand-new artificial FIFA approved pitch,” he said.

“The pitch that is currently there now hasn’t been touched since 1979. Construction on that will start any day now – when more of the construction workers get back to work and will be ready by March of next year.

“As soon as that’s done in March, the works for the pavilion should begin.

“The brand-new pavilion will have a social space for the club and local communities. The tender process for that should be going out shortly, but it should be assigned and ready to go in March.

“Finally with the carpark, works could possibly begin the same time as the pavilion, or they are going to wait for the pavilion to get completed to get going on it.”

Atanasov believes the much-needed changes to the facility will bring in a range of benefits for the club, but also to the local community.

“It’s huge for the club, as now you will be able to play all weather football,” he said.

“That pitch used to flood all the time, if there was a bit of rain you couldn’t train on it. Now, there will be no problem for any type of weather.

“We are also expecting a bit of an influx of players to the club because the facilities upgrade is huge for the area.

“With the pavilion, lots of community groups have already said they want to use it, for example dancing groups and pensioner groups.

“We have never had a social space at the club, it’s always been the changerooms converted into a makeshift dining room. So now, finally the club is getting a social space where members can sit down and enjoy themselves with great company.

“That carpark at the moment has around 50 spaces or so and at night it is prone to accidents. With the upgrades they will develop a one-way entrance and exit and there will be triple the amount of space.”

The club itself was established over 40 years ago and has a historic presence in the Thomastown area.

When initially created, Lalor United was inspired by a vision for a broad-based community team, celebrating cultural diversity and sporting passion through football, according to a statement on the club’s website.

Atanasov stated that the club’s core mission is to provide “a safe, fun, football environment for anyone who wants to play the game.”

This type of motto has led to Lalor becoming one of the largest clubs in the City of Whittlesea municipality, with more than 300 members signed up across a wide range of teams.

The club has ambitions for further upgrades in the future, which will look to hopefully grow their culturally diverse membership base even further.

“Look upgrades wise, we’d like our lights updated eventually so we can play night matches and attract a few more teams at the club,” Atanasov said.

“But for now, we are focusing on the current upgrades and once they are done, we will be all set and ready to go.”

Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Football West CEO James Curtis steps down to usher in new leadership

Football West

Football West have announced that James Curtis will be stepping down from his position as Chief Executive Officer, after more than five years in the role. As he makes his transition, Football West have now commenced their succession planning.

The decision taken by Curtis reaffirms Football West’s dedication as an organisation to fostering long-term growth through the benefits provided by leadership succession.

Football West Chairman Sherif Andrawes praised Curtis’ strong leadership and commitment to delivering a long-term legacy for football in Western Australia, since commencing in the role in 2016.

“James has been an outstanding CEO and his focus on driving long-term growth, investment and community benefit have contributed to a bright future for football,” Andrawes said.

“His commitment to working with all parts of the WA community and government to engage with football and being a leader driving diversity, inclusion and engagement has ensured football is positioned well for the future of the game.

“With significant achievements including funding for the long-awaited WA State Football Centre, securing the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in WA and establishing the Football Futures Foundation, there have been many successes during his tenure.”

Curtis conveyed that it was the right time to step down from the role and to transition leadership, with Football West strongly positioned for leveraging record growth.

“We have built a great team across Western Australia that is well positioned to continue building on our strong foundations. After more than five years in the position and rebuilding from the impact of COVID-19, we are ready for a new CEO to implement and deliver our future strategy,” Curtis said.

“I have enjoyed working closely with our Board and our valued partners across government, corporate and the football community to deliver major milestones for the game in WA and establish strong partnerships across Asia for WA football.

“We have a vibrant and passionate football community that will continue to grow on the back of strong clubs and volunteers and our dedicated Football West team.”

Curtis will continue his involvement with football as a Non-Executive Director of Football Futures Foundation – which is chaired by Nick Tana, and supporting the transition to find the new CEO.

Football West has commenced an internal and external search for the company’s next CEO.

Football Victoria promotion denial set for challenge

Football Victoria has announced that it will only be filling existing vacancies, resisting the challenge from the United Football Group of Clubs to push ahead with promotion and relegation.

Football Victoria has announced that it will only be filling existing vacancies, resisting the challenge from the United Football Group of Clubs to push ahead with promotion and relegation.

Football Victoria announced the cancellation of the remainder of the season in Metropolitan Melbourne on September 3 2021, in which it also revealed that promotion and relegation would not proceed.

Since that announcement, over 40 clubs had joined forces, assembling under the United Football Group of Clubs (United Football) banner, to challenge the decision.

As revealed by Soccerscene last month, United Football made a formal submission to Football Victoria, presenting three options for consideration by the board:

  1. Promotion and Recognition of Champions based on current standings or points per matches played method, with or without relegation.
  2. Restructure of the leagues to achieve the desired effect of promotion/relegation, completed in line with the 2021 Football Australia Performance Gap Report.
  3. Align with Football Victoria principles and fixture the outstanding games between teams who have not played against each other to complete the season and award promotion and relegation. Given the current COVID situation, it is recognised that this may be the least likely scenario.

In its announcement this afternoon, Football Victoria has seemingly turned down all three options.

“Football Victoria (FV) can confirm it will proceed with filling existing and resulting vacancies across our Men’s and Women’s State League competitions, in accordance with the 2021 Rules of Competition,” reads the statement on the Football Victoria website.

“Under item 10.4 in the Men’s State League (1-4) and item 15.7 in the Women’s State League (1-4) 2021 Rules of Competition, the FV Board confirms that vacancies will be filled using the Order of Merit process. Men’s & Women’s State League 5 competition vacancies will be filled by using the New Club Application or Team Entry process.

“With the 2021 season being deemed incomplete, only Men’s and Women’s State League vacancies will be filled in 2022, with NPL Victoria optimal league structures to be considered from the 2023 season.

“Average Points Per Game (total points divided by number of games played) at the point the 2021 season was cancelled will be used to determine final ladder positions in 2021 and inform the Order of Merit. Further detail on the Order of Merit process is available here.”

The ruling means that the current NPL Victoria structure will remain in place, whilst in the State Leagues below, only existing vacancies will be filled.

In the Men’s State Leagues, one team across State Leagues 2, 3, 4 and 5 will be promoted, whilst four teams will enter State League 5 via a new club application process.

In the Women’s competition, one team will be promoted from State League 2 to 1, two will be promoted from State League 3 to 2, three teams will be promoted from State League 4 to 3, four teams will be promoted from State League 5 to 4, whilst five new clubs will enter State League 5 via a new club application process.

The Football Victoria statement sets a deadline of 5pm Monday October 25, 2021 to implement these changes.

The United Football Group of Clubs met last night to discuss the decision, with chairperson Zak Gruevski confirming the clubs intend to take the matter further.

“The Football Victoria statement yesterday effectively dismissed the range of options put forward by the United Football Group of Clubs,” he told Soccerscene.

“As a group, we are very disappointed and believe this decision is not in the best interests of the game, particularly given indications that a restructure of the game was being considered as a reasonable outcome.

“Our clubs met overnight and we are seeking the appropriate counsel to pursue this matter further.”

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