Country football teams in Victoria are set to receive an additional $18 million in funding from 2020 to 2022.
The AFL, in partnership with the Victorian State Government, announced 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.
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 focussed 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.
Head of AFL Victoria Rick Bell said AFL Victoria is extremely grateful for the contribution of the AFL and the Victorian State Government in providing this additional investment into Victorian country football.
“We understand and appreciate the role that Country Football Clubs play in their communities and it’s crucial that they are continually supported for their ongoing sustainability and so they can thrive in these changing environments,” Mr. Bell said.
The AFL will also invest $1.5 million towards establishing a Strategic Community Investment Fund which will allow flexibility and immediate response to local league and club needs.
Football in Victoria has continued to experience rising participation figures year-on-year, with 474,633 participants, 1,223 clubs and 89 leagues recorded in 2018.
Community football participation in Victoria increased by 4 per cent in 2018 with the state’s female participation rates have tripled over the past three years to surpass 1000 registered female teams for the first time in 2019.
Overall, country football clubs make up for over half of total participation numbers in Australia and grassroots fundraising has always been a focus to support clubs around the nation.
The Victorian Community Football Investment plan will roll out in January 2020 and continue for three years, continuing the AFL’s commitment to growing community football at a grassroots level around Australia.
Total savings based on removal of affiliation fees for AFL Victoria Region Commissions:
|AFL Barwon||$ 404,010|
|AFL Central Murray||$ 73,607|
|AFL Central Victoria||$ 229,480|
|AFL Gippsland||$ 284,662|
|AFL Goldfields||$ 471,097|
|AFL Goulburn Murray||$ 210,207|
|AFL North East Border||$ 235,230|
|AFL Outer East||$ 397,359|
|AFL South East||$ 450,743|
|AFL Sunraysia||$ 61,404|
|AFL Western District||$ 254,886|
|AFL Wimmera Mallee||$ 80,237|