AFL Vic announces funding for Vic Country Football
The AFL, in partnership with the Victorian State Government, is pleased to announce an additional $18 million investment into Victorian country football from 2020-2022.
The three-year funding announcement marks the largest investment in country football in Victoria in more than two decades.
Leagues within AFL Goldfields can expect to save a total of $471,097 which is the highest of any of the Victorian Country Football Regions.
The funding will support country football communities through targeted initiatives, providing immediate financial relief to clubs and volunteers and ensure the long-term sustainability of the game through the growth of grassroots participation.
The initiatives include the removal of all AFL Victoria affiliation fees which will save country football clubs a total of $3.22 million each year, the removal of umpire registration fees and significant reduction in the cost of club apparel.
The workload on volunteers will be lessened with $950,000 dedicated to initiatives to help volunteers run their clubs, including the launch of a digital portal and face-to-face support system, increased resourcing of Region Administration Centres (RACs) and the appointment of two integrity officers to assist with policy development and investigate matters in Safeguarding Children, Vilification and Social media breaches.
Funding will also be focused on growing the next generation of players, umpires and coaches with $330,000 dedicated to the introduction of Village Hubs which will be launched in select regions to align local schools, community clubs and AFL clubs together.
The AFL will also invest $1.5million towards establishing a Strategic Community Investment Fund which will allow flexibility and immediate response to local league and club needs.
Officially announcing the landmark investment at the Bacchus Marsh Football Club today, AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said that the increased funding would lay the foundation for a strong future for country football.
“Local football clubs are often the heart of local communities, especially here in Victoria.” Mr McLachlan said.
“Community football is the cornerstone of our game and underpins all aspects of our national sport.
“We understand the challenges faced in Victorian country football communities, especially with a change in demographics and community expectations, so it’s vital we continue to invest our support into volunteers, coaches, players, facilities and umpires who are the lifeblood of regional communities.
“This funding, when coupled with the support already in place through the work of AFL Victoria, provides a platform for long-term growth in community football and an opportunity to reboot the community that fuels the game at the grassroots level.”
Football in Victoria has continued to experience rising participation figures year-on-year, with 474,633 participants, 1,223 clubs and 89 leagues recorded in 2018.
Community football participation in Victoria increased by 4 per cent in 2018 with the state’s female participation rates have tripled over the past three years to surpass 1000 registered female teams for the first time in 2019.
Overall, country football clubs make up for over half of total participation numbers in Victoria and grassroots fundraising has always been a focus to support clubs around the nation.
In partnership with the AFL, Toyota Australia has also been helping local football clubs with a grassroots funding initiative, the Toyota Good for Footy Raffle. Established in 2008, the Toyota Good for Footy Raffle has helped local football clubs raise in excess of $5.7 million, including 365 clubs last year that received more than $620,000 which went towards a number of initiatives including facility upgrades and new equipment to help make the game more accessible to all.
The Victorian Community Football Investment plan will roll out in January 2020 and continue for three years, continuing the AFL’s commitment to growing community football at a grassroots level around Australia.
Acting AFL Goldfields Regional General Manager Simon Dwyer was elated by the announcement.
“It’s an extremely exciting announcement from the AFL, offering clubs immediate financial relief through the removal of all AFL Victoria affiliation fees, and also providing greater resources to assist club volunteers,” Dwyer said.
“Initiatives like this will go a long way in supporting the sustainability of community football throughout our region.”
Total savings based on removal of affiliation fees for AFL Victoria Region Commissions:
The AFL Goldfields region was will save a total of $471,097.