NOT UP TO SCRATCH: Fields across the North Coast Football jurisdiction have been found to be below par.
NOT UP TO SCRATCH: Fields across the North Coast Football jurisdiction have been found to be below par. David Barwell

Bombshell audit reveals sorry state of football facilities

A RECENT audit by Northern NSW Football has uncovered the sorry state of football fields across the North Coast.

The findings have shed light on the work the governing body needs to do to ensure local facilities are up to scratch, with NNSWF quickly kicking into gear to develop a football infrastructure strategy from 2020-2030 as a result of the audit.

A detailed analysis of every football venue in NSW, including pitches, clubrooms, change rooms, match official amenities, lighting, spectator accommodation, car parking and other features were part of the thorough process.

22 different sites were audited on the North Coast, with 68 different fields across those sites.

The audit found 68 per cent of fields in the region were below playing standard, with less than two per cent in excellent condition.

It also found 67 per cent of fields do not have irrigation and or drainage.

Nearly 60 per cent of home change rooms were poor or moderate (below standard), while only 18 per cent of change rooms on the North Coast are female friendly.

Over 59 per cent of venues don't have referee facilities, while less than 10 per cent of the ones that do are female friendly.

Only three fields on the North Coast feature lighting with 100 lux or above (Australian standard for sports lighting), with 36 fields having no lighting at all.

The results make damning reading for players, coaches, officials and spectators of the world game on the North Coast.

"Our latest audit included 1,005 sites and a total of 2,284 football pitches and uncovered some alarming results for the state's largest team sport,” Northern NSW Football CEO David Eland said.

"The audit revealed insufficient playing pitches in certain pockets of the state, often resulting in players being denied access to a club, the poor quality of certain aspects of facilities such as drainage, irrigation and lighting, and in particular, the inadequacy of ageing facilities and their ability to cope with the growth in popularity of the sport amongst young girls and women.”

NNSWF said the new football infrastructure strategy will utilise the latest in industry shaping technology platforms to measure and monitor participation in football and project future demand for the game.

"A strategic framework for the planning and development of football infrastructure across metropolitan Sydney and regional NSW is imperative so as to sustain current participation numbers and to help grow the game in the future. In simple terms, going forward the current demand and growth of the game is only limited by our capacity to provide suitable facilities for players to play at,” Eland said.

Detailed engagement will take place throughout the development of the strategy including liaising with the NSW Government, local councils and other relevant bodies.

The strategy is anticipated to be developed throughout 2019 with a final version of the strategy due by January 2020.

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