Football continued to advocate for greater government investment in the sport at a function to launch the 2018 Parliamentary Friends of Football at NSW Parliament House recently.
The function, hosted by Football NSW and Northern NSW Football, provided a valuable opportunity within the backdrop of Parliament House to meet with key politicians who had all signed up to be part of the Parliamentary Friends of Football group.
Members from a broad range of political parties were represented including Stephen Bromhead (Member for Myall Lakes), Mark Coure (Oatley), Tim Crakanthorp (Newcastle), Phil Donato (Orange), Julia Finn (Granville), Ron Hoenig (Heffron), Sonia Hornery (Wallsend), Geoff Lee (Parramatta), Chris Patterson (Camden), John Sidoti (Drummoyne) and Guy Zangari (Fairfield).
Also present were several Directors of Football NSW, Chief Executive, Mr Stuart Hodge, the Chairman of Northern NSW Football, Mr Bill Walker and Football Federation Australia CEO, Mr David Gallop. Hyundai A-League Clubs, Western Sydney Wanderers and Central Coast Mariners were represented by their CEOs, John Tsatsimas and Shaun Mielekamp respectively.
Fresh from her Female Football Week Award recognising her work as a role model in the community, Wanderers and Young Matildas goalkeeper Jada Whyman attended as did Tom Hiariej from the Mariners. Both young players represented their clubs well and proved popular posing for ‘selfies’ with State MPs throughout the morning.
In welcoming all present and outlining the objectives of the event, Football NSW CEO, Stuart Hodge recognised the wonderful success of the Government’s Active Kids program, where more than 110,000 young players and their parents had benefited from the $100 vouchers made available through the scheme.
Mr. Hodge also spoke also about the need for greater investment in facilities, particularly in key areas such as synthetic pitches, lighting, drainage and irrigation.
Representing the Members of Parliament, Mark Coure MP stated “with the growing demand for the game and with a forecast increase in this year’s numbers, we need more synthetic fields to cope with the popularity of the game”.
Special guest speaker and well-known football personality and FoxSports commentator, Andy Harper spoke on the importance of football, amplifying to the Members of Parliament that “the tide is rising in Australia and our clubs need improved facilities”.
Football NSW would like to thank the State Members of Parliament for their ongoing support and looks forward to continuing its work with them to ensure that the sport’s much needed facilities are improved across the local community and throughout the state.