Rockdale Ilinden FC secure $1.3m for facilities upgrade

Rockdale Ilinden FC

Historic Australian footballing side Rockdale Ilinden FC have announced that the Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre will be receiving $1.3m for the construction of a new pavilion, following a pledge made by the Labor government prior to their Federal election win.

A facilities upgrade has been long overdue for the National Premier Leagues NSW 1 side, with the club’s growing number of women’s teams needing to be catered for. As a result, the pavilion will include women’s change rooms, referees change rooms and a gym, which come at a crucial time in the lead up to the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

The timing of the announcement comes after Football Australia’s “equaliser” campaign was recently launched to ensure clubs have female friendly facilities. It is also a key pillar in the Club’s ongoing push to finally secure a Girls SAP licence, alongside a women’s NPL licence.

In a press statement, the Ilinden club thanked a number of people that made this pledge possible.

“We wish to congratulate the Honourable Anthony Albanese MP and our local member, the Honourable Linda Burney  MP- Member for Barton on their re-election to the Australian Parliament.

“The Club sincerely thanks the newly formed Albanese Government for its commitment to women’s football.

“We also wish to acknowledge and thank the ongoing support of our supportive Bayside Council, our State Members of Parliament and Football St George.”

Project timeframes and expected completion will follow shortly.

Robert Cavallucci discusses important Perry Park upgrade

FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci recently featured on an episode of The Subs Bench podcast to discuss an improved stadium in Brisbane in a bid to grow the game further.

Football Queensland and Football Australia’s push to upgrade the state’s spiritual home of football, Perry Park, has been a hot topic of discussion for a good amount of time.

In a submission to a federal inquiry into Australia’s preparedness to host the Olympic Games, Football Australia called for an upgrade of Perry Park to become a 10 or 15,000 seat stadium with improved internal facilities.

Cavallucci discussed why this upgrade needs to be completed following the rise of the games popularity.

“The question should be, does football require a more appropriate stadium that reflects its needs? Absolutely it does,” he said on The Subs Bench podcast.

“The city and the state needs a football appropriate that reflects football’s very unique requirements and the fact we don’t have one is symptomatic of 20 or 30 years of failure as a code to actively advocate for our needs. Thats obviously changing dramatically and very quickly.

“Perry Park obviously has a lot of suitable elements, it’s in the inner city, which is perfect, it’s on a train line which is even better, it’s on major road infrastructure. You can access it from everywhere and very quickly.

“Importantly it links in with the broader sporting spine on those train lines so you can get from there to Suncorp to the Gabba and get to Perry Park from all those places.”

Cavallucci added that this upgrade is necessary for the sport to advance in the state and shed light on how it would affect all tiers of the football pyramid.

“There’s no question it’s been on our top three infrastructure priorities for four years and we’re absolutely putting in significant work to eventually bring that to life,” he said.

“It’s important for the code and it’s important for not only professional and semi-professional levels but it’s important for women’s football but also the A-League expansion as well.

“We should have a second Brisbane team; it will absolutely mobilise a broader fanbase. It can only be brought into life if we have appropriate infrastructure.”

With the Olympics a hot topic at the moment and FQ’s push to secure more funding for a second top rectangular stadium, it will be an interesting talking point that the government will have to consider to help progress football in the region.

Robert Cavallucci on FQ’s involvement in NST bidding process

Football Queensland CEO Robert Cavallucci recently featured on an episode of The Subs Bench podcast to discuss multiple issues in the Queensland football space.

One of the more hotly debated topics were the allegations and rumours swirling on social media regarding Football Queensland’s involvement in the National Second Tier bidding process.

On The Sub’s Bench podcast, Cavallucci strongly defended against these claims that Football Queensland were roadblocking clubs from putting a final bid in and doubled down on the body’s support for the state’s NPL clubs who intend to join.

Cavallucci spoke specifically about how the process of selecting clubs for the National Second Tier would work.

“As the governing body that process of choosing clubs needs to be independent process of selection criteria and run by Football Australia. We’re not going to come out and publicly pick winners, or one bid over another bid or one endorsement over another,” he said on The Subs Bench podcast.

The allegations against Football Queensland online suggested the body worked against clubs that applied for the NST, but Cavallucci was quick to shut that notion down.

“Certain negative sentiments were being deliberately disseminated and that happens in these circumstances. If the clubs bid was deficient in some capacity and the likelihood of success was low, the easiest way to defer responsibility is to put it onto the third party,” he said.

“The easy victim in this case is the governing body. It’s their fault our bid didn’t stack up, it’s their fault that we’re deficient in these areas.”

Football Queensland throughout the process remained fully supportive of the new competition but understood it was likely not the right time for specific clubs in the state to be involved as soon as 2025. Cavallucci mentioned working with other bodies to try and find a solution for these NPL clubs to get involved.

“None of that is true. We absolutely supported clubs where we were asked to in certain ways. I spoke regularly to many of the presidents involved to provide support to them and they would ask us questions, proactively engage with Football Australia,” he said.

“We were enormously active in the assembly of the National Second Tier model, we were in working groups with Football Australia for two years leading up to it.”

There were six applicant clubs progressed to the National Second Tier Request for Proposal phase, however, ultimately four NPL Queensland clubs withdrew making public and private statements regarding their decisions and they demonstrated patience. The four clubs cited a preference to wait for a more mature NST final model.

NPL Queensland have clubs that certainly can garner the financial strength through amazing peer support and critical revenue streams. They have clubs with insanely rich histories in this country that deserve to be playing at the highest possible level.

There has been very little discussion as to whether Football Australia will cast the net wider and expand on the 8-team league it currently is however it gives the six Queensland clubs some time to sort out financials and launch an improved bid.

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