The Andrews Labor Government have pledged $2.5 million towards grassroots football clubs, under a new initiative announced on Tuesday.
The World Game Facilities Fund was announced by Minister for Sport John Eren during a visit to Kyneton District Soccer Club, with Mr Eren saying that the fund would help local clubs grow and succeed.
“Victorians love their football, and this new fund will go a long way to making our grassroots clubs and communities stronger and more competitive,” he said.
Grassroots clubs across Victoria can now apply for grants of up to $250,000, which is intended to help pay for the construction or refurbishment of club facilities, football pitches, and lighting.
In establishing this multi-million dollar fund, Mr Eren says that he hopes clubs will be able to improve their facilities so that they can help nurture the ability of young players and help them to one day play for Australia.
“With the World Cup around the corner, we want our clubs to be ready for the next wave of Victorian recruits who sign up to play after watching Australia shine on the world stage,” he said.
President of Kyneton District Soccer Club Ron Cole said that he was delighted that the announcement was made at his club, and stated the money being injected into local clubs will be crucial to their success.
“Old facilities and bad grounds don’t attract people. Clubs need these upgrades to attract people to play and come to games. People’s mindsets have changed, people have higher expectations for facilities that this money will definitely help to meet,” he said.
“We’ll certainly be applying. Most clubs like ours are purely amateur, not for profit organisations. We don’t charge ridiculous mounts for people to play and we don’t retain a whole heap of cash, we run at the bare minimum. This could mean redoing the playing surface or upgrading change rooms. This funding will go a long way for a club like ours.”
Mary-Anne Thomas, Member for Macedon, was also present during the announcement, saying that “we’re giving local football clubs the support and facilities they need to grow, reduce operating costs and welcome more members than ever before.”
The move comes less than a month after Victoria’s opposition Liberal Party announced that it would shelve a $300 million plan to refurbish Etihad Stadium and use that money to support grassroots sports clubs, if it were to win the state election.
Applications for the World Game Facilities Fund are open now. More information can be found at sport.vic.gov.au/grants-and-funding/our-grants/world-game-facilities-fund