The NRL today announced a new funding program to support rugby league facilities beyond its traditional strongholds of Queensland and New South Wales.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg announced the establishment of the National Footy Facilities Fund ahead of the historic, sold-out Perth Test Match between the Kangaroos and Kiwis.
Mr Greenberg said $3 million would be committed in seed funding to support the continued growth and participation of rugby league at all levels and across all State and Territories.
"This is a dedicated funding program to support growth here in Western Australia and in all the other States and Territories beyond the Origin strongholds of Queensland and New South Wales," Mr Greenberg said.
"The funds will be available to support projects which have attracted support from governments or other funding partners – to ensure that the NRL can play a part on the ground, at the grassroots level.
Mr Greenberg said the establishment of this fund was an important commitment by the NRL to increase participation and improve the quality, availability and standard of local leagues and facilities.
"Every one of our Test and elite players started at a local junior rugby league club, some with plenty of great facilities; others with not many at all.
"Our intention is that all junior clubs will have access and support to quality equipment, fields, coaching and education, so that everyone enjoys playing and participating in our game no matter what level or location."
The National Footy Facilities Fund will be made available to community based, not-for-profit organisations and local government councils across Western Australia, Victoria, Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.
Nominations for funding will commence in February 2017, with successful applicants confirmed in May 2017.
Registrations and further information on the funding will be available on playnrl.com ahead of the opening of the first funding round next year.
National Footy Facilities Fund
The National Footy Facilities Fund is an initiative of the National Rugby League and assists existing and new clubs to improve the quality, availability and standard of their facilities.
A total of $3 million will be seeded into the Fund (minimum $500,000 per year over six years) and will be available to help develop local rugby league facilities in Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.
The Fund aims to improve facilities for a variety of benefits, including increasing participation, safety and security, social inclusion and strengthening communities.
Projects seeking funding will require other funding partnerships to encourage overall investment in the game.
The Fund recognises that access to the core facilities needed for playing rugby league in States and Territories beyond the traditional strongholds of Queensland and New South Wales requires dedicated support.
The Fund will include a focus on the construction of rugby league goal posts and fields with a suitable dimension and playing surface - which can be more challenging to access than in States like Queensland and New South Wales.
The Program objectives are to:
- Increase regular and on-going participation opportunities in rugby league
- Improve the standard of grounds and facilities on which rugby league is played
- Improve the sustainability of local, grassroots rugby league competitions through facilities that help strengthen existing clubs or grow new clubs
- To promote the game of rugby league in the local community and build strong communities
- Improve safety at sport and recreation facilities (e.g. upgrade of field to provide a safer playing field and access pathways for players, etc.)
- Remove barriers to promote inclusion in rugby league (e.g. upgrade of amenities to increase female participation, provision of disability access, upgrade of referee amenities, etc.)