Football's pre-election pitch
NORTHERN NSW Football says it's disappointing the region's largest sport is not being backed by government funding that's representative of its participation levels.
Questions have been asked ahead of Saturday's federal election as to why football is underfunded compared with other codes, especially given that NSW needs $50 million to bring facilities up to scratch.
Northern NSW Football CEO David Eland said urgent funds were needed over the next four years simply to keep up with the growth of the sport.
"Football is the largest participation sport in the country and continues to grow steadily each and every year. 2018 saw 68,000 registered players throughout Northern NSW alone," Eland said.
"Of particular importance is the growth of women's football - it is absolutely crucial to improve facilities to include appropriate change rooms."
In a World Cup year for the Matildas, a recent independent audit, funded by Northern NSW Football and Football NSW found 88 per cent of the state's soccer facilities were not appropriate for female players.
A media investigation has also found Australian rules football has been promised about $131 million in funding by both the Coalition and Labor during the campaign, double the pledges to football, netball and 10 times the funding offered to cricket.
The recent pitch review saw a detailed analysis of every football venue in NSW, including fields, clubrooms, change rooms, match official amenities, lighting, spectator accommodation and car parking.
On the North Coast, 22 different sites were audited, with 68 different fields assessed.
The audit found:
- 68 per cent of fields were below playing standard, with fewer than two per cent in excellent condition.
- 67 per cent of fields do not have irrigation and or drainage.
- 60 per cent of home change rooms were poor or moderate
- Locally, just 18 per cent of change rooms on the North Coast are female friendly.
- Three local fields have 100-lux lighting and 36 fields have no lighting at all.