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Lightwood Park set for major upgrade

Kingborough Lions United Football Club (KLUFC) has confirmed details of a new $6 million changeroom and clubrooms complex at Lightwood Park.

Kingborough Lions United Football Club (KLUFC) has confirmed details of a new $6 million changeroom and clubrooms complex at Lightwood Park, with imminent construction representing a big boost for football in Tasmania.

KLUFC President Brian Downes said that once the new complex is completed, it will contain eight changerooms on the ground floor with added club rooms, catering facilities and seating upstairs, making football more accessible for 558 players and thousands more that either play or volunteer each month.

“Kingborough Lions United FC takes very seriously its role within the local football fraternity and the broader Kingborough community as a provider of quality facilities and the provision of opportunity for men, women, boys and girls to play football at levels,” Downes said.

“The new building and improved facilities will enhance participation and delivery of all services the club offers to the Kingborough community for many years to come.

“On behalf of the club, I would like to thank the State Government for their support committed during the recent election campaign and through the Levelling the Playing Field program, as well as the Kingborough Council for their contribution.

“Following a tender process, we’re delighted to announce local company Maveric Builders will build Stage 1 of the project, which is expected to be completed by late November.”

Downes added that local business Clennett’s Mitre10 has also signed on as naming rights sponsors of Lightwood Park.

“As a proud member of the local community, Kingborough Lions United FC is actively working with the local business community to attain and develop long term partnerships in conjunction with the investment,” Downes said.

“We’re thrilled to announce we have partnered with well-known and much respected local business Clennett’s Mitre10 who will be the new naming rights sponsor of Clennett’s Lightwood Park.”

Downes elaborated that the club were seeking a further $3 million funding from the Federal Government to finish Stage 4 of the project.

“The additional funding from the Federal Government will not only allow for the total completion of the new building, but will also allow for further improvements around the main ground including an improved playing surface, new lights to 500 lux standard and improved security and fencing,” he said.

Football Tasmania CEO Matt Bulkeley explained the improvements would greatly increase the likelihood of Lightwood Park being selected as a Base Training Camp for the upcoming 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“With world-class facilities for Australian rules and cricket just across the road at the Twin Ovals, it’s wonderful that football will soon be able to follow suit in the Kingborough region, giving Lightwood Park the very best chance of being selected to host World Cup content,” Bulkeley said.

“I’d like to congratulate the club, and thank the State Government and Kingborough Council for getting this exciting project off the ground.”

Liam Watson is the Managing Editor at Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

Sky Sports extends rights to NIFL

The Northern Ireland Football League has announced that Sky Sports will be the exclusive broadcaster of Football in the region once again.

The Northern Ireland Football League has announced that Sky Sports will once again be the exclusive broadcaster of top-flight football in the region for the next three years.

The Irish League has had a long-lasting partnership with Sky over the years and the agreement will see the relationship in place until the end of the 2024/25 season.

The new agreement will see four Danske Bank Premiership fixtures and the BetMcLean League Cup final broadcast live across the UK & Ireland each season.

Northern Ireland Football Chief Executive, Gerard Lawlor:

“We sincerely thank Sky Sports for their continued backing of our game and we look forward to showcasing some of the best NI Football League matches together over the next three seasons,” he said.

“To continue to have the invaluable support of such a high-profile broadcaster shows how far our league has progressed in recent years as we bring our game to an increasing audience of loyal fans.

“The NI Football League brand is continuing to grow outside of the confines of Northern Ireland, and through Sky Sports, many football fans are now becoming more familiar with the rich history of our clubs and as well as some of the household names that have played in the Irish League.”

Sky Sports Director of Football, Gary Hughes:

“As a long-term partner to the Northern Ireland Football League, we’re delighted to extend Sky Sports’ support of the league and ensure that its entertaining action continues to be available to our customers,” he said.

“Sky Sports customers will be able to enjoy the Northern Ireland Football league alongside our ever-expanding football offering in the UK & Ireland which includes over 500 live games in 2022, from the Premier League, EFL, Scottish Premiership and FA Women’s Super League as well as international action in the form of World Cup Qualifiers, and this month’s Africa Cup of Nations – placing Sky Sports as the home of live football.”

Valencia CF presents revised stadium upgrade plans

Valencia CF President Anil Murthy has stated the club will not deliver a “low-cost stadium” after holding talks with Mayor Joan Ribó over reviving the long-running Nuevo Mestella project.

Valencia CF President Anil Murthy has stated the club will not deliver a “low-cost stadium” after holding talks with Mayor Joan Ribó over reviving the long-running Nuevo Mestella project.

Valencia’s stadium, the Nuevo Mestalla, was originally under construction in 2009. However, over the last 12 years, due to financial issues and negotiation breakdowns, construction has never been completed and the situation has become known as one of the world’s most notorious stadium projects.

Murthy presented revised plans to a Council delegation led by Ribó, with the club seeking to recommence work on the stadium in order to ensure it retains the advantages granted to it under an ATE construction license given in 2012.

The plans presented to the council include a stadium capacity between 43,000 to 46,000, expandable to 60,000. The stadium would have a second ring dedicated almost exclusively to leisure and restaurant offerings, while the roof will be fitted with solar panels in an effort to drive sustainability.

Valencia Mayor, Joan Ribo:

“Initially it is proposed for a capacity comparable to that which the (Mestalla) stadium currently has (48,500), but expandable to 62,000 spectators. But I think this is not the fundamental element,” he said.

“The fundamental element is the novelty of this second ring that has seemed to me to be a remarkable element that is not in many football stadia. They propose a roof that is made of photovoltaic panels, which is an example at that level that I want to value.

“They have assured us that they have guarantees with the bank where they have the debt, which is now Caixabank.

“They have presented us with a calendar where in June 2022 the works of the sports centre would begin, in October 2022 the start of the works of the stadium and in August 2024 the inauguration of the new Mestalla. The calendar seems realistic and possible, but if it is not met, they will listen to us.”

In December, Valencia revealed plans to use funds from LaLiga’s strategic venture, with global investment fund CVC Capital Partners to help finance the construction of its new stadium. Valencia is reportedly set to receive approximately $189 million AUD from LaLiga as part of the LaLiga Impulso venture. $125 million of which is set to head to the stadium project.

Valencia CF President, Anil Murthy:

“The meeting has been very positive. After the two meetings with the Generalitat, today we have taken an important step by formally presenting the project we have to the important institution, which is the City Council,” he said.

“We have agreed on recommencing work as soon as possible, after presenting the project to the Generalitat and the City Council.

“Nobody talks about a low-cost stadium. It’s going to be a stadium that’s going to give a lot of people a lot of hope and it’s going to mean a lot of investment in the city. It’s going to be something different and something attractive.”

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