The inclement weather over recent months continues to significantly impact the 2022 winter football season.
Following two COVID-19 interrupted years, Football NSW acknowledges that the ongoing match rescheduling and cancellations have further frustrated football participants across the state.
Persistent rain has left local Councils across NSW with no option but to close football fields in the interests of player safety, and in protection of the grass surfaces.
Whilst some regions have a number of all-weather surfaces, even in the best served areas these represent a small minority of the total fields available.
For the natural grass surfaces, where there has been work done on upgrading drainage we can see the benefits, and where there have been lighting upgrades we are able to see games played mid-week to catch up on the backlog.
As highlighted in the NSW Football Infrastructure Strategy, at the time of our last state-wide audit of the 1,582 full-sized playing fields in NSW:
- 292 (18%) had no floodlighting
- 291 (18%) had floodlighting below 50 Lux
- 796 (50%) had no automated irrigation
- 969 (61%) had no functional drainage
- 145 (9%) had no floodlighting, automated irrigation and drainage
Source: NSW Football Infrastructure Strategy, p20
The combination of historically bad weather and inadequate infrastructure has resulted in critically low levels of field availability.
This puts an incredible burden on Member Associations’ and competition administrators’ capacity to deliver the 2022 winter season in its entirety.
Despite these challenges, we continue to work closely with Associations and Councils, collaborating on all possible solutions to maximise the number of matches played throughout the season.
Our number one priority is to see community football returning to fields across the state on a consistent basis.
As we continue to face these obstacles, Football NSW, together with our Associations, ask for understanding across the community.
Whilst every effort is being made to deliver a full winter season, field availability and a diminishing number of available weekends will likely result in adjustments and / or a shortening of competitions.
The frustrations of players, coaches and parents are being felt across the entire Football NSW community, and we remain committed to supporting our Associations in the delivery of their 2022 winter seasons.