Dave talks with Football Federation Tasmania’s President Sean Collins about the FFT 5 year plan to boost participation rates across the state.

The plan, which is consistent with the organisation’s vision, has been developed as part of the five year plan for Tasmania and has a strong focus on improving infrastructure.

Through infrastructure upgrades, the organisation believes steady growth will be accommodated, which will address the plan’s main aim to increase the number of registered players in Tasmania from the current 12,000 to 20,000 by the year 2023.

Football Federation Tasmania’s President Sean Collins said to achieve this, the Federation’s board has identified two key priority projects to facilitate and accommodate the anticipated growth.

“The first is an upgrade of KGV Football Park to make improvements to the artificial pitch, change rooms, referee facilities, public viewing areas and conveniences,” he said.

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“With over 200 games currently played at the facility each season, including the Lakoseljac Cup Final which in 2017 drew a crowd of 3,500 spectators and had 19,000 viewers on the live stream, the need for an upgrade to the antiquated facilities is urgent.

Our second priority is the establishment of an artificial pitch in Launceston. With four senior clubs based out of the northern city, it makes sense to develop a dedicated playing facility that can act as the home of football in northern Tasmania and provide players with access to weatherproof facilities year round.

The plan is the product of work undertaken over the past 12 months and focuses heavily on improving infrastructure, identified from findings following an extensive state wide infrastructure audit conducted by the Federation.

“The audit involved consultation with all clubs, associations and key stakeholders from around the state focusing on current and future demands,” Mr Collins said.

In addition to the major infrastructure projects, a series of club-based projects have also been identified.  These would see change rooms, club rooms, and lighting upgraded at a number of community grounds around the state to improve the facilities which currently fall short of the standard that is required.

“With over 20,000 people attending football games in Tasmania each weekend throughout the 2017 season, the need for upgraded facilities is paramount,” he said.

“Despite being both the fastest growing and largest participation sport in the country, football has previously been overlooked for funding initiatives, as a result the quality of facilities has failed to keep up with the current demand and many clubs do not have regular or sufficient access to grounds, a major constraint to participation. This needs to be addressed now to ensure a sustainable growth of football in Tasmania.

The Federation believes investing in these upgrades would provide a significant boost to both local Tasmanian communities and the economy, and with 1,000 new junior players registering over the past three seasons, it is anticipated the need for these upgrades will only intensify.

“The benefits of participation in grassroots sport for communities are significant and represent a strong return on investment.”