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Stuart Hodge addresses future for Football NSW

Stuart Hodge

Football NSW Chief Executive Officer Stuart Hodge has addressed key topics on the association’s radar in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking on the CDSFA Community Football Podcast, Hodge is keen for the league to restart as soon as it’s safe to do so.

“I certainly think the government have to take in a lot of factors as we’ve seen with the pandemic – anything can change one day to the next,” he said.

“It was a positive step forward that they’ve got the national principles and the government and NSW will now review those and look at guidelines.

“They’ll have to balance that up with other information that they have and state-specific information here in NSW.

“We’re hopeful given that from some of the surveys which we’ve seen that most people are keen to get out and play again.

“The physical, mental and social benefits are well documented, but we have to make sure we do it under the right conditions and that is when the government says it’s okay.”

The flow on effect of the competition’s postponement will be how clubs juggle summer sports with councils if they clash later down the line, something Hodge is aware of.

“It’s a challenge for all of them and we’re in discussions with some summer sports to try and get some principles in place that if we get football resumed, we’ll have some additional time beyond what we normally get,” he said.

“From some associations, the feedback is from councils have been very sympathetic.

“We’ve collectively lost a couple months of the season already so the opportunity to play a little bit later into the year would be welcomed.

“We’re also conscious that we want to try and keep things on track for next year when hopefully we return on time.

“It’s a balance because we appreciate that there’s also participants that are involved in multiple sports so we’re wanting to help them out and not over-burden them.

“Councils also need to turn fields around although I noticed some of them looking magnificent at the moment.

“We’ve had some very big discussions and hopefully it’s just a fair and reasonable approach which is all we’re asking for.”

One of the main issues across all sports due to postponements has been the topic of refunds, with games in professional sport being played behind closed doors.

While there’s still the unknown about when fans can return to grounds in 2020 and beyond, Hodge has clarified how Football NSW will look to navigate through this tricky time.

“I think in the interim if people are facing financial hardship then of course they should be in touch with their club to get a refund,” Hodge said.

“If the season gets underway then we’ll have to redo our modelling and look at what the fee structures are.

“I hope we do get back on the field and we can go down that path – if the season doesn’t get played then everyone will have to sit and remodel what the costs are and things like that.”

Since this podcast was published on 5th May, Football NSW have moved a step closer to resuming training at the very least with the NSW Government confirming an easing of restrictions – taking affect from Friday 15th May including:

  • outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people
  • cafes and restaurants can seat 10 patrons at any one time
  • up to 5 visitors to a household at any one time
  • weddings up to 10 guests
  • indoor funerals up to 20 mourners, outdoor funerals up to 30
  • religious gatherings/places of worship up to 10 worshipers
  • use of outdoor equipment with caution
  • outdoor pools open with restrictions.

In a recent press release, it’s mentioned the Office of Sport is working closely with government agencies about how sporting organisations can safely return to action.

Liam Watson is the Managing Editor at Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

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.

New Zealand Football and Good Sports to promote positive youth sporting culture

Good Sports

New Zealand’s national governing football body, New Zealand Football, has teamed up with Good Sports to create positive sporting experiences for children by educating and supporting parents and other adult influencers in youth sport.

A further 15 national and regional sport organisations have signed up to Good Sports, which is an initiative developed by Aktive. This includes nine National Sports Organisations – Badminton NZ, Basketball NZ, Gymnastics NZ, Hockey NZ, Netball NZ, NZ Cricket, NZ Football, Snow Sports NZ, Surf Lifesaving NZ – and six Regional Sports Trusts – Active Southland, Sport Bay of Plenty, Sport Manawatu, Sport Northland, Sport Waikato and Sport Whanganui.

Aktive and Sport NZ will work closely with these organisations to implement Good Sports and develop strategies to better engage and support parents. Good Sports is well aligned with Sport NZ’s ‘Balance is Better’ philosophy and is being used as part of Sport NZ’s national parent approach.

Aktive Chief Executive Jennah Wootten says Balance is Better and Good Sports are complementary and the growing momentum will benefit tamariki, rangatahi and whānau around the country.

“With a number of challenges in children’s sport stemming from adult involvement, Good Sports focuses on raising adults’ awareness about their behaviours and how these impact youth sport. It examines what parents can do differently to ensure children and young people are enjoying sporting experiences,” she said in a statement.

“Together with Sport NZ, we are proud to work with sport organisations to implement Good Sports in their communities. It is fantastic to see the enthusiastic response and the important difference this is making for our tamariki and rangatahi in developing a lifelong love of sport.”

Andy Boyens, Technical Director at New Zealand Football, is excited to join Good Sports and provide even better experiences on and off the pitch.

“NZF are excited to join the Good Sports journey because we know the significant value that our football parents and volunteers give to the development journey of our young people playing the beautiful game across Aotearoa. We want to make sure that those people are well informed and have the knowledge, skill and confidence necessary to support young footballers to enjoy a life long love and enjoyment in our game,” he said in a statement.

The incoming group of organisations will engage in the first of two residentials this year in Hamilton from May 30 to June 1, where they will start in a 12-month accelerated learning environment designed around creating more targeted engagements with parents.

Sport NZ’s national parent approach focuses on supporting national and regional organisations to engage more effectively, support and deliver initiatives to parents and whānau through the provision of tools, resources and research.  Additionally, Sport NZ utilises digital platforms such as the Balance is Better website and Sport NZ social media channels to provide information to help parents grow their understanding of the important role they play in youth sport.

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