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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.”

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.

Oceania Football Confederation has a new Home of Football

The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Home of Football has been completed – based in Auckland, New Zealand.

The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Home of Football has been completed – based in Auckland, New Zealand.

The complex, which has been gifted the Māori name Te Kahu o Kiwa, is predominantly an administration space. The building also features two artificial pitches and dressing rooms that are capable of hosting elite matches.

OFC General Secretary Franck Castillo believes the complex will play a crucial part in the confederation’s goal of seeing two Oceania nations competing at the FIFA World Cup 2026 and FIFA Women’s World Cup 2027.

“Receiving the resource consents and watching this project come to life has been one of my highlights at OFC,” Castillo said.

“We’ve been based in Penrose for many years and to finally complete this project is a relief.

“It’s going to be a refreshing change for us all and from an organisational standpoint Te Kahu o Kiwa will house many opportunities to develop players, coaches, officials and administrations across the region.”

FIFA has been a major contributor to the project, expressing their delight at seeing a finished project for the OFC and its Member Associations.

As the major contributor to the project, FIFA said it is pleased to see the completion of an attractive, modern and welcoming Home of Football for the OFC and its Member Associations.

“We give credence to the value added of the OFC, who have achieved this key milestone, for its staff and the region,” Sanjeevan Balasingam said, FIFA’s Director of Member Associations Asia and Oceania.

“What makes this project special is the design of the building and its spaces, where people can work, meet and talk, all for the betterment of football.

“The facility underlines one of OFC’s key objectives of being a modern and progressive organisation, firmly focused on the future.”

UEFA Assist, a development arm of UEFA in place to support other Confederations and their members outside Europe, played a key role in providing the significant funding needed for the Home of Football.

“We are truly delighted to have supported the OFC Home of Football project over the last few years and look forward to visiting the new premises when travel restrictions are lifted,” Eva Pasquier said, Head of International Relations at UEFA,

“The Oceania Member Associations now have a new home where they can meet, discuss and further develop football across the entire region, and this would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of the entire OFC team.

“We congratulate them on this fantastic achievement.”

The former home of OFC at Mt Smart Stadium will be repurposed as a high-performance academy for the region.

The completion of the project will be marked with a formal inauguration by the end of June 2022 – if travel restrictions allow for the attendance of FIFA, UEFA and OFC Member Associations.

Mulgoa Rise Playing Fields expand with Stage 2 of development

Glenmore Park FC

Glenmore Park FC have seen the club amenity building of their home ground, Mulgoa Rise Playing Fields, expanded as part of Stage 2 development at the park.

Known to the locals as “The Nest”, Mulgoa Rise Playing Fields houses the side which is the largest club in the Nepean Football Association, with 1,196 registered participants recorded in the 2021 winter season.

In the shortened 2021 winter campaign, almost 7,800 Penrith LGA residents participated in football.

Active Kids Voucher redemption in the Penrith LGA also emphasised the popularity of football in the area, with over 5,000 children claiming the Active Kids Voucher in 2021 – making it the largest sport in the Penrith LGA.

Stage 2 of the development included the addition of two more change rooms to service the three full size fields at The Nest.

Extra toilets, further landscaping throughout the site and the expansion of the club’s BBQ facility are featured in the recent works.

Football NSW’s Manager Government Relations, Funding and Infrastructure – Daniel Ristic:

“BBQ facilities are a vital aspect of any community club. Canteen and BBQ revenue provides much needed funding for local grassroots clubs.

“A key objective from the NSW Football Infrastructure Strategy over the next 10 years is to increase and improve gender neutral player and match official change room provision.”

Penrith City Council were successful in gaining the majority of the funding ($649,600) from the NSW Government’s Greater Sydney Sport Facility Fund.

The NSW Government Community Building Partnership program provided $20,000, as well as Glenmore Park FC contributing $3,000 to the upgrades.

Penrith City Council has been identified as one of the top 10 NSW LGA future demand hot spots in the next 10 years. The Council is predicted to experience population growth of approximately 60,000 in the next 10 years.

With the current 3.8% state average participation rate applied, the Penrith area is expected to see an additional 2,300 participants between 2021 and 2031.

The increase in participation will require upgraded and renewed facilities across Penrith to ensure the city can cope with the upcoming demand for football.

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