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Victoria Park Football Club to benefit from multi-million dollar facility upgrades

Victoria Park Football Club have received significant funding for facility upgrades in recent months, at the club’s home ground in Military Drive.

The Ballarat based club has received resurfacing and lighting works through funding from the local Ballarat City Council, as well as a $500,000 grant for a new female-friendly pavilion through the Victorian Government’s World Game Facilities Fund.

Whilst the $1.3 million ground and lighting upgrades are close to fully completed, construction on the pavilion is set to commence in the coming weeks.

Victoria Park Football Club president, Sean O’Meara, explained to Soccerscene the urgent need for the new and improved pavilion.

“It’s very important for us to receive these upgrades, O’Meara said.

“We’ve been in the same building since the 80’s basically, so this upgrade will provide us with a social area, kitchen, canteen and other areas for us to use so we can build on our community.

“There will be two sets of changerooms in the new facility, which will provide a more welcoming environment for female participants and hopefully help us regain some of the female participants that we have lost.

“We can also now hold events there, where previously we would have had to hire out an outside venue which cost us more money as a club.”

The club and the wider community are currently reaping the rewards of the new field and lighting upgrades which have been implemented at Military Drive.

“At the moment, the wider community are seeing the benefits of the upgraded field,” O’Meara said.

“They use it for general activity, exercise and young families use it a lot.

“For us as a club, the new surfaces will play a major part in drawing in new players which will help the club in the future.”

The club at once stage had over 200 players registered at the club, across three senior and nine junior teams.

Speaking at the time of the announcement of the World Game Facilities funding grant, City of Ballarat Mayor Daniel Moloney, welcomed the investment.

“We’re really grateful for the state’s support of this important project. Soccer is one of our strongest participation sports and Victoria Park is at the gateway to our fast-growing western suburbs, so this upgrade will have a significant impact for hundreds of players at senior and junior levels,” Councillor Moloney said.

“This supports the $1.3 million resurfacing and lighting works completed and underway at the facility, which together will enhance the status of Victoria Park as one of city’s most important community spaces.”

Member for Wendouree, Juliana Addison MP, added at the announcement: “As we know from similar projects across Ballarat, upgraded facilities make it much easier for our community clubs to attract and retain players, and female friendly facilities help to level the playing field when comes to participation in sport. I’m confident this project, with the support of $500,000 from the Victorian Government, will help make that happen here too.”

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 are now open, 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 Australia considering last minute 2023 AFC Asian Cup bid

Asian Cup

Football Australia have confirmed they are considering a late bid to host the AFC Asian Cup from June to July next year, which would provide an extraordinary opening act to a packed winter of football that already features the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

The Asian Cup is scheduled to start on June 16, 2023, with the final to be played a month later. Just four days beyond that, New Zealand’s Football Ferns and the Matildas will kick off their group stage matches at Eden Park and the Sydney Football Stadium respectively.

Football Australia has until June 30 to submit a bid to the AFC for the continental tournament, which requires relocation after China’s withdrawal last month citing their zero-covid policy and ongoing issues relating to the pandemic.

South Korea appears the most likely candidate to host what would be their first Asian Cup since 1960, after their FA formally announced last week that they would meet the AFC’s submission deadline. Last month, South Korean president Yoon Suk-yeol mandated his sports minister to bid for the event after dining with the playing squad.

But they may now meet competition from Australia, who famously lifted the title as hosts in 2015 before a crowd of over 76,000 at Sydney’s Olympic Park. Coincidentally it was South Korea they defeated in the final, having reversed the result from their group stage meeting.

“We are making enquiries and having parallel discussions with the Asian Football Confederation and Governments to determine the possibilities for Australia to host this tournament,” an FA Spokesperson said.

The 32-match tournament hosted by Australia drew an average of over 20,000 fans, boosted by the Socceroos drawing an average of 44,500 across their six games. Matches were hosted in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle.

That edition of the tournament featured sixteen teams; the 2023 edition will be the second under the AFC’s expanded format, meaning any successful Australian bid would need to house 24 nations across 51 games.

Qualification for the tournament was completed last month, with Tajikistan to feature for the first time. Hong Kong have qualified for the first time since 1968, and 2007 hosts Malaysia have qualified on merit for the first time since 1980.

Northern NSW Football opens applications for NNSWF Facilities Fund

NNSWF

Applications are now open for the fourth round of Northern NSW Football’s Facilities Fund.

Northern NSW Football’s Facilities Fund was established in 2019 and aligns with the NSW Football Infrastructure Strategy.

The fund has seen NNSWF invest $714,928 in community football infrastructure projects since its inception, with partner funding of $848,199 taking the total project value to $1,563,127.

These 14 projects have supported more than 6,500 players, referees, coaches and volunteers, and have included lighting, amenities and field upgrades.

The Facilities Fund was established in order to assist football clubs to partner with local stakeholders such as Local Government Authorities, state government, schools, other sports and relevant landowners to improve the football experience for players, referees, coaches and volunteers and to provide opportunities for more participants to play more football more often.

In addition, the Facilities Fund seeks to improve the safety of community facilities, provide inclusive football opportunities within clubs and improve security at community football facilities.

Northern NSW Football Community Football Manager Ross Hicks says funding came from a portion of player registration fees, with football money going back into helping football clubs.

“The Facilities Fund provides clubs another avenue to seek significant funding for facility projects and in turn increase participation, improve safety and security, assist in building stronger communities through football and improve the overall football experience for their members and stakeholders,” Hicks told Northern NSW Football.

“We would particularly encourage clubs from the Football Far North Coast and North Coast Football regions that have been impacted by the devastating flood disaster earlier this year to make an application.

“We have seen the positive impacts the fund has already had on clubs and their facilities. This is a wonderful opportunity for clubs. Please don’t miss out.”

Applications opened on Wednesday June 1, with applications to close on Friday, July 15.

Successful applications will be announced in August to coincide with the Future of Football roadshow.

NNSWF is committed to improving places to play, a focus area set out in its Play On Strategic Plan. NNSWF’s goal is to increase the number of football facilities that are fit for purpose, welcoming and support the growth of the game.

Interested clubs can read the Facilities Fund Guidelines and apply HERE.

For more information or help in making an application contact NNSWF Community Football Manager Ross Hicks (4941 7200 or rhicks@northernnswfootball.com.au).

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