$2 million boost for SA grassroots football clubs

More than 40 grassroots footy clubs across the state will get a share in almost $2m in funding to keep community sports thriving.

With another successful AFL Gather Round under SA’s belt, it leaves behind a lasting impact on over 40 grassroots community football clubs in South Australia. These clubs are set to benefit from nearly $2 million in funding through the newly established South Australian Football Facilities Fund.

These 42 clubs, representing 17 percent of football clubs in the state, have been selected as the inaugural recipients of grants under this collaborative funding initiative between The Malinauskas Government, the AFL, and SANFL.

The $8 million Fund, aimed at fostering the growth of the sport, stands as a testament to the legacy of AFL Gather Round within the South Australian football community.

“Gather Round is an amazing celebration of football and will once again deliver a significant economic dividend for our state,” Premier Peter Malinauskas said.

“But since the beginning, we’ve been determined to deliver something more – a lasting legacy to the social and sporting fabric of South Australia.

“The South Australian Football Facilities Fund is doing just that, delivering better facilities for women, men, girls and boys in community sporting clubs right across our state.”

Among the successful applicants, 28 projects are situated in metropolitan and Greater Adelaide areas, while 14 are in regional locations stretching from Lock on the Eyre Peninsula to Mt Gambier in the Lower South East.

The grants will facilitate various infrastructure upgrades across community clubs, with a total project value of $19 million, including:

  • Installation of compliant changerooms for players and umpires at 5 clubs
  • Upgrading of oval lighting at 11 clubs
  • Enhancement of oval surfaces at 2 clubs
  • Improvements to infrastructure benefiting volunteers, players, officials, and spectators such as new goal posts, backing nets, coaches’ boxes, and scoreboards at 24 clubs.

The SA Football Facilities Fund is envisioned to address the ongoing demand for substantial investments to support the remarkable growth and diversity of football in South Australia, with the aim of reaching 70,000 playing participants by 2024.

Participation in female football has witnessed a significant surge since the introduction of the AFLW and SANFLW competitions in 2017, with 8,644 female registered club players and over 400 female teams in 2023. Moreover, the number of girls aged five and above engaging in the NAB AFL Auskick program has doubled since 2016, with 2,866 girls registered for Auskick in 2023.

“We are thrilled to see 42 community clubs benefit from the SA Football Facilities Fund.
Improved infrastructure, lighting and oval surfaces will unlock more capacity at existing venues across the State, increasing oval access to support the growing number of participants in our game, in particular female players and umpires,” SANFL CEO Darren Chandler said.

“From SANFL clubs to local grassroots community clubs, the fund will enhance the capacity of facilities and, importantly, create welcoming and inclusive environments for everyone participating in our game.

“Through this exciting partnership with the AFL and State Government we can ensure Gather Round leaves a long-lasting legacy for our clubs, participants, volunteers and broader communities right across South Australia.”

The remaining $6 million from the funding pool will be allocated over the next two years, with the anticipation of the next round of funding opening in August 2024.

This funding opportunity is available for Australian Rules football clubs, local councils, umpire associations, and schools or tertiary institutions.

For a comprehensive list of grant recipients in round one of the SA Football Facilities Fund, please visit the SANFL website.

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