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Referee Recognition Week underway for Northern NSW Football

Beginning Monday July 19 and ending Sunday July 25, Northern NSW Football’s Newcastle Permanent Referee Recognition Week is dedicated to advocating for respect of match officials.

Motivated by the sole aim of providing the football community with the chance to express their gratitude and appreciation for referees and their assistants, Referee Recognition Week is NNSW Football’s annual celebration of match officials.

In addition, the week also acts as a reminder that match officials are intrinsic members of the football community who are to be respected by players, coaches, volunteers and supporters.

Referee weekNNSW Football Head of Football Development Peter Haynes explains that the initiative, which is planned alongside NNSW Football’s long-term community partner Newcastle Permanent, aimed to put a spotlight on the contributions of match officials across Northern NSW whilst encouraging members of the football community to demonstrate their appreciation.

“Officiating a match is often a thankless task. But without our referees we wouldn’t be able to play our beautiful game,” Haynes said.

“Referees and assistant referees play a key role in not just allowing players to go out and play but also keeping our players safe. Then there are our referee assessors and coaches who are also such a vital part of our sport as they help teach and educate our referees of the future.

“We encourage all our members to show their respect and appreciation towards our referees during the week, particularly thanking them for their efforts in ensuring a safe environment, underlined by a sense of fair play, for everyone.”

Newcastle Permanent supports match officials throughout the season through its monthly Community Recognition Awards Program, where a referee from each of Northern NSW Football’s seven Member Zones are recognised for their outstanding contribution.

Newcastle Permanent’s Chief Customer Experience and Delivery Officer Paul Juergens adds that continued recognition of match officials is a step in the right direction to respecting them for the work they do.

“We know referees and match officials play a vital role in community football,” Juergens said.

“They’re not only responsible for keeping players safe and making sure the rules of the game are followed but they also help create a great experience for players and spectators.

“Newcastle Permanent is proud to shine a light on their importance and contribution through our monthly Community Recognition Awards program. And this week, as part of our annual Referee Recognition Week campaign, we invite the football community to join in and say thanks.”

Northern NSW Football will acknowledge referees throughout the week at northernnswfootball.com.au and through its social media channels.

NSW Sports Minister puts plan forward for return of community sport

Junior football

NSW grassroots clubs and associations have received a major boost in the road towards returning to a COVID-safe community sport setup.

Whilst roadmap plans had been provided for the hospitality and education sectors in recent weeks, the community sporting sector had been left in the dark in the path to return to normality.

Speaking with Chris Smith at 2GB, NSW Sports Minister Natalie Ward outlined the future for community sporting clubs and associations going forward.

“I’ve put a plan forward. I have been a really strong advocate for a return to community sport. I’ve spoken to [NSW Health Minister] Brad Hazzard as recently as yesterday, and I’ve spoken with all of the sporting organisations to put a plan to him to say that we need a clear pathway out of here,” she said.

“Double vax is the key of course, and that is so that we can provide that clarity. The government’s announced that at 70% double-dosed groups of 20 can gather, so why can’t they gather and train together? Why can’t they be out there training and kicking a ball around?”

When probed about the potential attendance of parents at community sporting events, Ward was empathetic to the challenges NSW sporting families have faced whilst remaining cautious.

“We know that last time in lockdown that parents were restricted in what they could do. Now we know with the double dose that people are very aware that they need to comply with those orders [and] to do so safely so that everyone attending can do it in a very COVID-safe way,” she said.

“The last thing we want is to be able to open up the season and then have to shut it down.”

In support of the clubs and associations, Ward added: “I’ve got such faith in them [the clubs and associations], because they know their players; they know their members; they know their registrations; and they’re really good at implementing these plans.”

“So, I’ve put to [NSW] Health that there’s no better organisations than these sporting clubs [and] community clubs who have these volunteers that take this really seriously. They know this better than anyone.

“I’ve got confidence in them and I’ve said they’re ready, willing and able to implement this plan to give us a clear green light to get going.”

For grassroots clubs who have unfortunately had to shut down due to the impact of the extensive lockdown, Ward stressed the importance of providing a lifeline.

“It’s been really distressing. My family has been involved in a grassroots club [and] they run on nothing – the smell of an oily rag and volunteers,” she said.

“I have said to the treasurer that he needs to consider that they’re really clinging on. And the sooner that we can open the season up, even late as it is, as soon as we can get out there that’s throwing them a lifeline.”

A recent survey of Australia’s 70,000 community sport clubs has found almost all have lost money, with thousands of them facing the risk of going under.

It is found that 83 per cent of respondents reported their earnings were down by an average of $18,500 and 13 per cent feared they could go to the wall. The foundation’s CEO, Patrick Walker, revealed that amounted to about 9,000 clubs nationally.

The full survey, which was commissioned by the Australian Sport Foundation, can be accessed here.

Hills Football plans submission for Caddies Creek – Stage 2

Hills Football Association

Hills Football Association, in conjunction with its representative arm, Hills United FC, intend on providing an extensive submission to The Hills Shire Council regarding the masterplan for Caddies Creek Sports Complex – Stage 2.

With the support and endorsement of Football NSW and Football Australia, Hills Football endeavours to satisfy the growing interest in football within the Hills Shire.

A true community organisation, HFI provides football for all players of all ages and all abilities. Despite the recent challenges with COVID-19, the association still registered 13,000 winter participants.

Key highlights in 2021 included reaching the association’s highest ever participation numbers, female teams doubling from 2020 to 2021, the inclusion of a Women’s Premier League and Over-50s Walking Football League.

However, the facilitation of the area’s most participated sport is at the strategic forefront of the association, catering for not only participation and population growth but also providing the football community with its long overdue ‘Home of Football’.

HFI annually caters for over 20,000 members – inclusive of summer & winter participants, coaches, referees, as well as their hard-working volunteers and club officials. Notably, Hills remains the only Sydney-metro association without a defined ‘Home of Football’ for its vastly growing community.

“Hills Football significantly exceeded the state average player-to-pitch ratio of 189, with 224 players per pitch. This is only expected to increase following significant population growth and the legacy of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup,” General Manager Matt Rippon said.

“The proposed masterplan allows the Association to accommodate all levels of football, coach and referee education, player development and pathway programs as well as key community fixtures and events. A long-term legacy to the people of The Hills and its most participated sport.”

Football NSW CEO Stuart Hodge added: “Football NSW completely supports Hills Football’s aspiration to have a ’home of football’ at Caddies Creek Sports Complex.

“The location is ideal to support the continued significant growth in participation that the region is enjoying and will provide a high-performance environment to assist in nurturing the next generation of Matildas and Socceroos.”

Facilities such as the Caddies Creek Sports Complex – Stage 2 not only enable growth in the game, but they also enable help community development. This ensures the Hills Football community has adequate spaces to actively and safely engage in the world game.

This was reiterated by Hills United FC Senior Football Manager and former Socceroo and Head of National Teams, Luke Casserly.

“Football is a unique sport, it is an enabler for people of all abilities, ages & cultures to come together and speak the one language whilst connecting us to the broader community,” he said.

The football community can get involved and support Hills Football’s submission by completing the form available here.

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