Hills football (soccer) clubs have received their allocations for the winter season, with a number of ground changes coming into effect which better reflect the requirements of clubs.
Council’s General Manager Dave Walker said that sporting fields have come under increasing pressure over the last few years and the allocations sent out today were the first completed since a major revamp of the allocation process.
“The demand for our sporting fields has never been greater and is a reflection of a number of factors including our booming population, the growth in over-35 sport, the increasing popularity of group personal training, private football academies and non-traditional sports,” Mr Walker said.
“On top of that, we have four new football clubs with the arrival of the Sydney Hills Football Association, as well as 26 existing teams that all need field allocations for the winter season.”
“Our audit showed that football is by far our most popular sport and that if we didn’t adjust the way we allocated grounds, the sport would suffer in the long-run.”
“The audit also highlighted that we need to look at realigning the summer and winter seasons to allow for pre-season training and matches in the lead up to the 2017 winter season. This process will continue to be fine-tuned throughout the year. ”
Mr Walker said that although new sporting complexes were on the way including Caddies Creek Reserve, the Balmoral Road Release Area and the Arnold Avenue Release Area; action was needed now.
“Based on player numbers and the fact that Council unanimously supported the establishment of the Sydney Hills Football Association, a number of changes have been made,” Mr Walker said.
“Some clubs may be disappointed by the changes, and they can contact me if they have any issues. But these allocations are based on numbers and throughout the year, Council will conduct thorough audits of these grounds compared to fixtures to ensure that clubs actually have the player numbers they say they have.”
“If we find out that clubs have overstated their player numbers, I will have no qualms in withdrawing their allocation.”
“We used a formula-based approach that took into account training needs, game fixture, teams and player ages, and the result is a field allocation system that allows everyone to run their competition.”
Mr Walker called on clubs work co-operatively to support the growth of their game in The Hills.
“We understand that interest in competition sports is strong and will continue to grow – and appropriate allocation of fields, along with fast-tracking the construction of new sports grounds – is the only way we will be able to provide for future demand.”
Allocations for other sporting codes will be released throughout the day.