Football in Western Australia is celebrating following today’s announcement from Premier Mark McGowan that the State Government has pledged the $16.25 million balance to build a State Football Centre at Queens Park, in the City of Canning.
The news, which comes just a week out from the start of the 2020 season, guarantees the sport in WA will have its own Home of Football for the first time.
Mr McGowan said: “The World Game has been without a ‘home’ for too long here in Western Australia.
“The facility will cater for all levels of football, from grassroots community programs to high-performance games and be the best place for elite training.
“When complete, this Centre will help develop WA’s next stars of the game, like Trent Sainsbury and Sam Kerr.
“We look forward to collaborating with Football West, the Federal Government and the City of Canning, to get this project under way as soon as possible, to help support WA jobs and the COVID-19 economic recovery.”
The WA Government’s financial commitment matches that from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and will ensure Stage 1 of the Home of Football can now be constructed.
Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray said: “This is a great initiative for football in WA and will help inspire our next generation of talent.
“The State Football Centre is a project that has been spoken about for decades and finally it is becoming a reality.
“Football is the most popular team-based competitive sport in WA, with more than 45 per cent growth in participants since 2006.
“Football West has been advocating for investment in administrative and training headquarters to support this growth, which the McGowan Government is pleased to support.”
Football West Chairman Sherif Andrawes said the new Home of Football would benefit all of the sport in Western Australia.
“We are delighted with today’s news and grateful to the Premier and his Government because we know how much a Home of Football will mean to football in WA – it is a game changer,” Mr Andrawes said.
“Football in WA has waited a long time for a home for football, but we have kept believing and now WA football has its reward.
“Football West would like to thank both levels of Government and the City of Canning for their support. This is a day of celebration.
“The facility will be a Centre of Excellence for our talent squads and a home for our community football programs, referees, regions and coaches.”
The State Government-led project is set to be completed in time for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, which Australia and New Zealand are bidding to jointly host. FIFA will make its final decision on the winning bid on June 25 this year.
Football West CEO James Curtis also hailed today’s announcement and the importance the facility will play as part of a successful 2023 Women’s World Cup bid.
“We saw this week that FIFA rate the Australia-New Zealand bid very highly and if it does come Down Under, Perth will be at the forefront to host matches simply because we’ll have the Home of Football. You can only imagine how many millions a World Cup in our own backyard will inspire.”
The facility will also attract serious overseas investment through training camps and exchanges trips leveraging off Football West’s successful Asian Engagement Strategy as well as play host to visiting sides such as Chelsea and Manchester United when they come to town.
Mr Curtis said: “That revenue will be pumped back in to the sport in Western Australia and will be hugely important for our clubs because the money generated will help us provide assistance and reduce the burden on clubs, players and the broader football community. The knock-on effect of that is facilities elsewhere will improve.
“We also know that if we are able to host events such as international youth tournaments, the benefits on both the tourism front and in sports diplomacy are immense. We have seen that from our own experiences of sending teams to Asia.
“On the back of this announcement, a strong bid and only days away from kicking-off for our competitions across Western Australia, it’s a great time to be involved in football in Western Australia.”
Member for Cannington Bill Johnston said: “This is an exciting initiative for the Cannington community and I look forward to seeing this project come to fruition.
“The State Football Centre will represent the strong interest in the ‘World Game’ for our multicultural community.”
State Football Centre Fact File
- Provide a location for high-performance training, community programs and house Football West’s administration facilities
- Be capable of accommodating up to 700 spectators through permanent seating on a regular basis with the ability to expand capacity up to 4,000 spectators through temporary seating
- Include two pitches capable of high-performance and high-intensity usage, including supporting infrastructure such as change rooms and a gym
- Include the future provision for accommodating an A-League franchise
- Will be able to host State, national and international competition as well as provide a location for high-performance training for visiting international teams
- Include a sports science component to support player, coach and referee development programs
- Deliver a demonstrable project in keeping with the environmental sensitivities associated with the site
- Deliver a project that is consistent with the master planning of the surrounding Queens Park Open Space