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Phillip Island Breakers SC to benefit from funding for female-friendly facilities

The Phillip Island Breakers Soccer Club have been the beneficiaries of a funding grant from the Victorian Government’s World Game Facilities Fund, upgrading their pavilion at Newhaven Reserve to make it more female friendly.

The club have received around $400,000 in funding from the state government, a significant portion of the $3.8 million the Andrews Government has handed out to 11 community football infrastructure projects since May of this year.

Alongside this, the Bass Coast Shire Council have also financially contributed to the project and played a major role in convincing the government to hand over the funding grant to the club.

“We were selected because of the council’s work; we went to them (Bass Strait Shire Council) and they put the grant application in,” Phillip Island Breakers SC president, Andrea Dempsey, told Soccerscene.

“They were successful last year with another club in the council and they decided to apply for the female friendly facilities at our club because they were needed. It was a thing that we actually had identified well before, that we really needed.”

Under the details of the redevelopments, the club’s changing room space will be expanded considerably, according to Dempsey.

“It will be expanded in a way that will eventually leave the building with four main spaces,” she said.

“We’ll have two big dividable rooms, so we can have two female and two male changerooms with both of them having access to showers and toilets.”

The Phillip Island Breakers SC president is excited for the benefits that are set to coincide with the upgrades, with building set to begin later this year.

“The plan has already been drawn up; Building has to commence by the end of the year – so hopefully in the coming months a bit of work has been done,” she said.

“It’s just so good that we are getting female friendly facilities, we have got more and more girls coming to the club and that was the one thing that we were lacking.

“There wasn’t enough space or very minimal space for the women to change into.

“There was no privacy for the showers for example, it wasn’t female friendly at all. So, hopefully this will allow for more opportunities for women to join the club and feel welcome in an inclusive environment.”

The club itself was founded 27 years ago as an indoor soccer club before transitioning to an outdoor outfit playing its matches in the local Gippsland Soccer League, after moving from the Bayside Soccer League many years ago.

Team ages range from seniors to under 6’s, both boys and girls, with the club hosting over 170 playing members.

According to Dempsey, a push for further upgrades at the club will be pursued in due time to take the club to the next level.

“Yeah we’ll try to (to get more funding for upgrades), everyone always is, aren’t they?

“The next thing we are going to possibly look for is tin shelters on our pitch for those out in the wet weather in winter.

“At the moment we don’t have any protection for teams and those people on the sidelines, so that’s what we will try for next, but for now we are looking forward to the pavilion works.”

Since 2018, the World Game Facilities Fund has invested $13.2 million in 48 football infrastructure projects across Victoria, with an overall value of more than $41 million.

“Better sport and recreation facilities make it easier for Victorians to get active and lead healthy lifestyles,” said Minister for Community Sport, Ros Spence.

“We’re providing clubs with support for really important projects that will make the world of difference for local communities.”

Football Victoria CEO, Kimon Taliadoros, said of the fund: “Football breaks down barriers and brings communities together – we’re delighted to see even more clubs being able to meet community demand through the latest round of the World Game Facilities Fund.”

The next round of applications for the World Game Facilities Fund will be open next month, for more information visit the link here.

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 Tasmania receives backing from Glenorchy Acting Mayor

Football Tasmania receives support

Football Tasmania’s plans for upgrades to infrastructure have been boosted by the support of Glenorchy City Council’s Acting Mayor and mayoral candidate, Bec Thomas.

Upgrades at KGV Park and North Chigwell are set to occur with procurements for the design and construction of new changerooms and a grandstand at KGV initiated this week.

Thomas demonstrated her commitment by confirming the upgrades that are set to occur.

“I am pleased to confirm we received the final funding agreement for signing this week and the project team have now hit ‘play on’, issuing the procurements for both the design and construction of the new changerooms and grandstand at KGV and for temporary change rooms,” she said.

“We are also about to issue the request for tender for the first stage of the North Chigwell project, which is to evaluate options for the design and management of the facility to ensure the football hub is fit for purpose and sustainable into the long-term future.”

Thomas went on to indicate that Glenorchy City Council has always been committed to prioritising the Northern Suburbs Football Facilities development projects, which is to be achieved through a funding allocation of $14.3 million.

“This is made up of $12.8 million from the Australian Government’s 2018 election commitment, an additional $1 million from the Australian Government’s Community Development Grant Program and $500,000 from the Tasmanian Government’s Levelling the Playing Field Grant program,” she said.

“Since the funds were promised, we have been working closely with all stakeholders to combine and leverage funding sources to get the best possible outcome for the football community and ratepayers and residents of Glenorchy.

“These projects represent significant investments, with $8.96 million allocated to the North Chigwell Hub and $4.84 million to the KGV upgrades, so it’s important we get them right and make sure the facilities are sustainable into the future.

Football Tasmania CEO Matt Bulkeley acknowledged the enormous benefits that the upgrades are to have foe the local community and wider football community.

“I’d like to thank Ms Thomas for recognising the importance of both the KGV and North Chigwell projects,” he said.

“It’s great to see progress is being made and that we can expect to see action at the sites soon now the funding agreement has been received.

“Football participation is bursting at the seams in the state and upgrades at both KGV and North Chigwell will help even more Tasmanians enjoy the World Game safely and comfortably.”

Knights Stadium: More than just a home ground

Knights Stadium is one of the most iconic venues in Australian football – for many it is more than just a stadium.

The ground was built in 1989 with storied history. Melbourne Knights, formerly known as Melbourne Croatia SC, were two-time National Soccer League (NSL) champions and four-time minor premiers at the ground during the 1990s.

The Mark Viduka Stand can seat up to 3,000 people, while another 12,000 can stand around the pitch. The ground represents the largest football-only sporting ground in the state of Victoria – testament to the history and strength of Melbourne Knights FC.

Knights Stadium in 2002 with the Mark Viduka Stand.

Former Melbourne Knights president Andelko Cimera says he was part of the club while Knights Stadium was becoming a reality.

“We were playing at the old number two pitch at Olympic Park, where the dog track was, and that was virtually our home. We were looking for alternatives and a couple of properties came up – a drive-in in Altona and a drive-in at North Sunshine,” he said.

“We settled on Sunshine because it was a little bit cheaper. I think we paid $180,000 at that time in 1984. 12 months later we started developing the stadium.”

Melbourne Croatia at the time tried to secure the rights to play at Heidelberg United’s home ground Olympic Park and several other venues, before a decade-long donation drive allowed them to raise the money to purchase the land and develop a facility at the current site of Somers Street.

94/95 NSL champions

Melbourne Knights FC President Pave Jusup says that much of his childhood was spent at Knights Stadium.

“We only saw the stadium for games. We would always strive to go there, and sometimes the juniors would have an important game that’d let us on the second ground, even the main ground,” he said.

“If you walked into the wrong part of the ground the groundskeeper would grab you and make you be a ball boy, and you’d get a hotdog and drink after the game. It was a whole childhood for a lot of us.”

Jusup adds that Melbourne Knights and the stadium serve as a key pillar within the Croatian community.

“There are a lot of memories that have been created there. A lot of people are tied to the physical place and it is a hub of the Croatian community along with the Croatian club in Footscray and the original Croatian church in Clifton Hill. We are the three constant and long-term fixtures in the community,” he said.

Cimera explains that there were both positives and negatives towards the stadium being community ran and operated.

“There were advantages and disadvantages. It was our property, it was our ground. It was up to us whether it was Sunday night, Saturday afternoon, or Friday night game. It was always available to us,” he said.

“The disadvantages were that everything was up to us. The maintenance of the ground was up to us. The facility became a burden to the Croatian community, which involved all our payments, all our rates which were paid for by the community.”


Both Jusup and Cimera agree that the biggest games were always against South Melbourne.

“It became a fortress for us in the 90s. It was difficult to take points away from our ground for teams,” Cimera said.

“I think our record crowd was when Hadjuk Split was here, that was close to 15,000. I remember when we played South Melbourne we had 12,000 people. The games between South Melbourne and us were always the biggest crowds.”

During the 2000 National Soccer League season, over 11,000 people descended upon Knights Stadium to watch Melbourne Croatia vs South Melbourne Hellas.

“Around 2001, they were top of the table and unbeaten, while we were mid to low-end of the table. We beat them 4-0. That is one game that sticks out in my mind,” Jusup said.

For both Cimera and Jusup, they acknowledge that the supporters and members of Melbourne Knights want to see Knights Stadium and the club feature in a second division.

“It’s not only the Melbourne Knights. It’s the juniors too because they can have a career path. Right now they can’t see a career path. Without promotion and relegation, it makes it very difficult,” Cimera said.

“We’ve got a lot of latent fans who are disappointed in the situation we find ourselves in. There are a lot of people who would put their hands up and into their pockets to help propel the club if given the opportunity. We’ve gone through a period of consolidation, but there’s a new generation of people who want to propel the club into the limelight as their parents and grandparents did,” Jusup said.

If the opportunity to join a second division does arise for Melbourne Knights, then their home ground won’t look out of place on the national stage.

Manningham United Blues FC boosted by $300,000 grant for LED lighting upgrades

Manningham United Blues FC have received a $300,000 funding grant which will be used for lighting upgrades at the club’s home at Timber Ridge Reserve.

The funding has been provided through a partnership between the local Manningham Council and the Victorian Government, through their World Game Facilities Fund.

The upgrades will see a new 50 LUX LED floodlight system installed at the ground in the coming months, consisting of 4 new LED lighting towers which will light up two full size pitches and a small side pitch at the reserve.

President of Manningham United Blues FC, Mark Giuliani, believes the new upgrades will have a positive impact on the local community.

“Looking at the wider community, the new system will have a significant effect in reducing the lighting-up of neighbouring backyards,” he told Soccerscene.

“Obviously, the lighting system we have now is pretty old and it just sprays light everywhere, whereas LED lighting is very accurate and precise.

“So, in terms of the local residents, that will be the number one benefit for them as they won’t have their backyards impacted.”

The club will also benefit significantly from the improved lighting system in the years to come.

“In terms of us, there’s numerous things I think we are going to benefit from,” Giuliani said.

“One main benefit is definitely the financial aspect, the system we have now is pretty old and each year we spend at least $1000 on globe replacements.

“The running costs will also be better off now that the lights are LED and this will be an important financial gain for us.

“On top of that, we will definitely get a much more even spread and better lighting on that facility now, rather than what we’ve got in the past.”

Giuliani explained that under the new lights, night games will soon be allowed to be hosted at the club’s home ground, which hasn’t been permitted in the past.

This, however, will only apply up to a certain competition grade and will depend on the LUX it will provide.

“We were offered the option to chip in some extra funding to bring it up to a certain LUX for NPL games, but at the moment the club is not in a financial position to make that extra investment,” he said.

“It is however NPL ready, so all the wirings and powering, the lighting towers, the fixtures up in the towers, they will all be ready if we want to upgrade to host NPL games.”

The senior male team currently competes in NPL2 after securing promotion to the NPL system in recent years.

Manningham itself, has a strong, yet relatively recent history. After humble beginnings in 1999 with only a few junior teams initially, the club merged with Fawkner Blues SC in recent years and now has 39 teams and around 2000 members.

The club has now become the biggest community club in Manningham through factors such as their female program, which continues to expand across the board.

Facilities have been key to their growth and alongside the announcement of the new lighting setup, the club has received recent clubroom upgrades at Timber Ridge Reserve, through funding from the local council.

“We have also just had a recent upgrade to our Timber Ridge Reserve, in terms of our clubrooms – it was a $300,000 upgrade which was funded through Manningham Council, which we are extremely thankful for,” Giuliani said.

Since 2018, the World Game Facilities Fund has invested $13.2 million in 48 game-changing infrastructure projects with a total value of more than $41 million. The next round of the World Game Facilities Fund will open for applications in August 2021.

For more information visit: sport.vic.gov.au/grants-and-funding/our-grants/world-game-facilities-fund

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