Like all of those in Australia, and indeed many people around the world, we have watched in shock and disbelief at the tragedy that has played out in front of us with the unprecedented bushfires that have engulfed much of South Eastern Australia.
Football NSW shares in the grief and heartbreak of the people and communities that have been affected and our utmost sympathy goes out to them.
Our gratitude and praise goes out to all those brave firefighters and other emergency workers who have tirelessly been at the frontline in protecting properties, towns and communities.
For its part, Football NSW is working with both Football Federation Australia (FFA) and our Member Associations and Clubs as to how we as a sport can unite and contribute to the massive relief efforts and various fundraising appeals.
FFA is dedicating the upcoming two Rounds of the Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League to acknowledge the disasters and raise much needed funds to assist those impacted.
In the short term, Football NSW will be making a donation to the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Appeal and will be dedicating Round 1 of our NPL NSW competitions as a Bushire Relief Round.
I know that for many who have lost loved ones, everything that they own, or for those that have seen family and friends suffer from this tragedy, football is the last thing on their mind at the moment.
Many will need to grieve and recover, prioritise and rebuild much of their life, but it is times like these when we all come to together to support those in need.
To this end, I have contacted those Associations in the worse affected areas to offer our utmost support. For those in the affected areas, on behalf of all of you, I have reassured them that Football NSW is there to support and help in any way we can, including, at an appropriate time, mobilising many of our Community Staff and Game Development officers to visit some of these townships to organise gala days, guest appearances, provide equipment and conduct other footballing activities.
In due course I will keep you informed of developments and our role that we can all play in these relief efforts.
In closing, we are aware that there are a range of fundraising appeals that exist, and I encourage the football family to contribute to the following recognised charity partners as recommended by the FFA.
• the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Appeal (fundraise.redcross.org.au/drr)
• Bushfire Disaster Appeal (www.communityenterprisefoundation.com.au/make-adonation) and
• Buy a Bale (www.buyabale.com.au)
If you have been affected by the bushfires and need support, please reach out to Lifeline.
Support is available 24/7 on 13 11 14, or nightly via Lifeline Text.
Lifeline Text is available 6pm – midnight (AEDT) on 0477 13 11 14.
You are not alone. Bushfire Relief tool kits are also available at lifeline.org.au
Football NSW Chief Executive Officer.