‘Show me the money’: Football West call for state football centre funding

Federal sports minister Bridget McKenzie with Football West CEO James Curtis and board member Jason Petkovic at Maniana Park.
Federal sports minister Bridget McKenzie with Football West CEO James Curtis and board member Jason Petkovic at Maniana Park.

FOOTBALL West chief executive has turned up the heat on politicians to help bring a long-awaited state football centre to fruition.

James Curtis has reiterated the round ball game’s need for a ‘home of football’ in WA and called on politicians to provide the funding it merited.

The state football centre would serve as Football West’s administrative base and a world-class training facility for teams such as Perth Glory’s men’s and women’s sides.

Federal sports minister Bridget McKenzie recently visited the mooted site at Maniana Park in Queens Park as Football West continue to court financial backing from governments both current and aspiring.

As the biggest participation sport in the state, Mr Curtis said it was football’s turn to share in the spoils of government funding.

“There’s been a significant amount of investment towards other sports, but we’re the only major sport without training and administration facilities; it’s time for our fair share,” he said.

Labor candidate for Swan Hannah Beazley pledged $10 million towards the project if Labor wins the upcoming election, while Liberal Swan MP Steve Irons has started an online petition to support the project.

However, Mr Curtis said the project required financial commitments from all levels of government to turn vision into reality.

“We’ve pushed hard to get funding through federal budget, but doesn’t appear to be forthcoming,” he said.

“Local government have been supportive, the state government are supportive, but at end of the day, no cash has been forthcoming.”

Mr Curtis said while he understood the state was in a delicate position financially, football deserved its long sought-after facilities.

“We’ve got Liberal candidates who have all come out publicly saying a State Football Centre needs to be delivered, they’re all saying they’re fighting for a facility, but who are we fighting with?” he said.

“It’s not about cash today, but as an investment towards football over the next three to four years to benefit the sport for the next 30 years.”

Cannington MLA Bill Johnston previously told Community News he backed the project, but the State Government was currently not able to provide financial support.

With Football Federation Australia intending to bid to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup, Mr Curtis said a state football centre would be integral to Perth’s chances of hosting games.

“We want to make sure WA doesn’t miss out. The bid needs to be done by end of the year for FIFA and this facility would need to be utilised, we’d expect the State Government to be putting forward some interest.”