Football West hails $20m Labor promise

Football West have expressed their delight that the Labor Party has committed $20 million towards the construction of a State Football Centre should they win this month’s Federal Election.

Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment Jason Clare and Labor candidate for Swan Hannah Beazley made the announcement on Monday at Maniana Park in Queens Park, the proposed site for the Centre.

“Football is a very popular sport in Asia and with WA so close to many of our neighbours in the region a facility like the State Football Centre is going to provide great opportunities for ongoing regional engagement through sport,” Mr Clare said.

“From elite teams visiting to play games in WA, to providing training to players, coaches and referees, these facilities will support strong ties that will deliver more opportunities into the future.

“We’ve seen a growth of about 45% of people playing football here in WA over the past 10 years, and you’ve got fantastic teams … and arguably the best footballer in the whole country, Sam Kerr, who’s a West Australian.

“But, unlike all of the other sports in WA we don’t have a home for football. Well, we’ll fix that if you elect a Shorten Labor Government in a couple of weeks’ time. The $20m we are committing today will help to build a permanent home here.

“It’s a long time coming but finally it will be here, a permanent home for football in Perth.”

Football West Chairman Sherif Andrawes thanked the Labor Party for the funding commitment.

“We are very excited to hear this announcement today,” he said.

“A State Football Centre is a very important part of infrastructure for Western Australia. Football in the State is growing, it’s growing very quickly. The announcement today from the Labor Party is very, very welcome. It will go a long way towards getting the funding we need for the whole facility.

“What we desperately need are more grounds and this State Football Centre will provide a venue for Football West State teams and visiting teams to train, as well as the Perth Glory teams.

“It will certainly help us in activating our leap into Asia, it will help us in getting a Centre for Indigenous Football in WA, as well as helping support the bid for the Women’s World Cup in 2023. We’re very excited and we’re very grateful to the Labor Party for giving this amount.”

Football West CEO James Curtis said: “We are indeed thrilled that the Federal Labor Party has made this commitment. It is a massive step towards bringing a State Football Centre to WA which will benefit the whole of the football community, from the elite to the grassroots.”

Prospective MP for Swan Ms Beazley said: “This Centre will feature multiple training and playing pitches, unisex change rooms, a sports science lab, spectator seating, administration facilities and more, which will meet the standards required to host State League and National Premier League matches, and even international games.”

Shadow Sports Minister Senator Don Farrell has been a key player in securing Labor’s commitment and his efforts were recognised by Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop.

“FFA welcomes this announcement from Federal Labor and thanks the Shadow Minister for Sport Senator the Hon Don Farrell for his ongoing support of football,” Mr Gallop said.

“This facility would be a game-changer for football in WA and strengthen the offering of the state in the context of an FFA bid to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023.”

With the overall cost of the project being $32.5m, Mr Curtis said the facility was closer than ever to being delivered.

“We have focused hard on securing Federal investment towards this facility over the last two years to reduce the burden for the State Government,” he said.

“Our aim is clear, to deliver this project for the football community. To do this we will need State Government support to get this vital piece of infrastructure for football and broader community across the line and ensure that current and future generations don’t miss out.”