New home for Matildas planned

Melbourne could be the new home for the Australian women’s national team with a bold initiative by Football Victoria getting some huge support.

FFA chairman Chris Nikou approves of the idea that a state-of-the-art facility can be built to cater for the Matildas as their home base. A new complex will be built and would be worth between $60 million and $80 million.

It comes after Football Victoria said themselves that they can lead the way for this new development and the nation they ‘can lead the way in women’s sport.’

Women at or aspiring to be at the elite level will benefit from resources and through Nikou’s backing, it is most likely going to get the green light.

With a $200,000 grant received from the Andrews Government, it is one step in the right direction for this long-term plan.

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

Northern Falcons FC boosted by lighting upgrades from World Game Facilities Fund

Northern Falcons Football Club will receive a substantial lighting upgrade at their home ground in Preston, through a grant received from the Victorian Government’s World Game Facilities Fund.

The World Game Facilities Fund committed $3.8 million to 11 community football facility projects this year, one of them being the lighting upgrades at GH Mott Reserve.

President of the Northern Falcons Football Club, Frank Pizzo, explained the process behind the club’s push to secure the funding.

“We were advised of the grants being available by our local Darebin council,” he told Soccerscene.

“We were discussing with the council (along with Darebin Falcons Women’s Football Club – who we share the facility with) for quite a number of months about how we could get the lighting upgrades. Both clubs were screaming for extra training and facility space for our players.

“There are currently no lights at that facility, so during the winter you can’t train on it. It just doesn’t get the use we could get out of it.

“The council eventually said put in a proposal with the World Game Facilities Fund and see how we go with that, so we started that process with their help and the rest is history.”

The works are set to begin next month according to Pizzo, with a completion date of March of next year.

He believes the upgrades will have a whole range of benefits for not only the club, but also the local community.

“The benefits are going to be amazing,” he said.

“To put it into context, we probably knocked back in excess of 80 kids last year – boys and girls, who we couldn’t accommodate at our main venue.

“There are just no other venues available, so basically the kids weren’t able to play. The massive benefit is that we can get more kids to play the game we love.

“We are also now looking to use the revamped facility as a base for our intellectually disabled team. Currently, that team trains on Tuesday night in a little area on the pitch, which is not really enough.

“We’re now going to be able to give them the facilities they need. A safe facility with recently renovated clubrooms, but now also a pitch with good lighting to train on.

“In terms of the community, they will be able to use the facility as well – it is not just our ground, it is a community facility. There will be a spill over of football activities and other activities at the ground such as cricket. For the community, it’s great for them that they have access to a facility on a 24-hours a day, seven days a week basis.”

The club itself has a strong history and reputation in the local area, something which Pizzo himself has been a huge part of.

“I’ve been involved in the club since its inception in the late 80’s,” he said.

“I was a player at the club, then an administrator, a coach, and I’ve been president for the last 10 years. I’ve got a really strong emotional attachment to the club; my dad was one of the founders of the club. My involvement as president is a fairly consuming, but rewarding role.

“The club has grown in the past five years, from just having seniors and a couple of junior teams, to having 21 junior teams including five women’s teams. It’s grown from being a club with 200 members to a club with 550-600 members, it’s a massive job but I love it.”

The club wants to continue its growth and hopes further pitch redevelopments at its home sites will help with that.

“We would like to have a pitch redevelopment at GH Mott Reserve and we’ve had discussions with council about that already,” he said.

“At our main reserve at Hayes Park, we would love to have some sort of artificial pitch put in there somewhere and we hope we can continue having positive discussions across the board to reach both of these outcomes.”

Oakleigh Cannons confirm $4m grant for Jack Edwards Reserve upgrade

Jack Edwards Reserve, home of NPL Victoria outfit Oakleigh Canons and Chisholm United, is set for a $4 million upgrade.

Jack Edwards Reserve, home of NPL Victoria outfit Oakleigh Canons and Chisholm United, is set for a $4 million upgrade, revealed on a recent Cannons Facebook post.

The funding announcement states that the Cannons have received a $4 million grant for a new pavilion and facility upgrade.

“This project is not just a football project; it is a community project; Oakleigh Cannons and Jack Edwards Reserve are a social hub, a meeting point for parents, grandparents, siblings,” Oakleigh Cannons president Stan Papayienneris said.

“Now the state government in their foresight and entrustment in us have decided that the facilities should be improved. Further, they will add to the existing facilities, and hopefully, upon completion, it will be something that is considered world-class.

“This facility is going to be a step closer to our goal of having women’s teams in the NPL; it is going to provide the infrastructure that’s required.”

Oakleigh MP Steve Dimopoulos hailed Jack Edwards Reserve as an “anchor” of the local community and was delighted to confirm the grant.

“It is one of the anchors of the Oakleigh community; when you talk about a community anchor, there is probably no bigger than the Cannons and Jack Edwards Reserve,” he said.

“The Victorian government this year has fully committed and confirmed a $4 million grant to help achieve this vision.”

Club Chairman Kon Kavalakis was delighted to see the grant confirmed.

“It has been an unbelievable journey with a lot of hurdles, and we have overcome every single one of them,” he said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank local MP Steve Dimopoulos and the Monash City council for their continued support throughout this process.”

The statement on the Cannons’ Facebook page also stated that the club was continuing to work with Monash City Council on further upgrades.

“In conjunction with the Monash City council, we look forward to working together to complete the new pavilion and facility upgrade which is estimated to cost between $10-12 million,” the statement read.

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