Football West CEO Jamie Harnwell welcomes Government's $9.3m investment into WA game

Football West CEO Jamie Harnwell has welcomed news of the State Government’s $9.3million package for football in Western Australia.

Premier Roger Cook made the announcement today, to ensure WA’s successful hosting of this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup delivers a legacy for the world game.

The investment includes:

  • $6.1m towards an expansion to the recently completed State Football Centre
  • a $2.4m grants program to improve facilities and infrastructure for clubs participating in Football West’s NPLWA - Women’s competition
  • significant investment in grassroots football to ensure a lasting FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand legacy

This boost for local football comes ahead of today’s State Football Centre Festival, which will see 4,000 West Australians attend the official opening of the Queens Park venue and get a chance to meet WA superstar Sam Kerr and her CommBank Matildas team-mates.

It is also at a time when the Matildas have attracted around 100,000 fans for their three sell-out Olympic Qualifiers in Perth, including last night's 2-0 win over Iran at HBF Park in which Kerr scored her 65th international goal.

State Football Centre Jamie Harnwell Roger Cook
Football West CEO Jamie Harnwell, left, speaking with Premier Roger Cook, centre, at the State Football Centre in July this year. Photo by Football West 

“Football West is thrilled the State Government has announced this investment for football in WA,” Mr Harnwell said.

“This is a real endorsement of the great work done in our sport by many people, including Football West, our clubs and associations, their committees and volunteers.

“Football West has long advocated for greater investment into female-friendly facilities and we particularly welcome the money that the Government is putting into this area.

“The news that $6.1m is going towards the building of additional pitches at the State Football Centre is exciting for both local residents in the City of Canning and the wider public. The State Football Centre will be a real football hub, not just for the south-east corridor but the whole of Western Australia.

“We have seen this week, with the Matildas being here, how the State Football Centre is a game changer for football in Western Australia.”

State Football Centre
The WA Government has committed $6.1m towards an expansion to the recently completed State Football Centre. Photo by Football West

Mr Harnwell added: “Football West is grateful to Premier Roger Cook, Treasurer Rita Saffioti, Sport and Recreation Minister David Templeman, other ministers and departments who are continuing their strong support for football on the back of building the State Football Centre and other football-related projects.”

Football West Manager - Female Football and Advocacy Sarah Du Plessis said: “A key factor in WA hosting five matches in the FIFA Women’s World Cup was the legacy for local female footballers after the games and so it is fantastic news that the State Government has announced this investment package.

“This will continue to increase our clubs’ ability to attract and retain female players which is great for the future of our sport.”

The Government also announced a $2.4m grants program to improve facilities and infrastructure for clubs participating in Football West’s NPLWA - Women’s competition. Photo by Football West

A release from the State Government today says local grassroots women’s teams will benefit through the new $2.4 million Women’s World Cup Legacy Grants program, with each NPLWA – Women’s club eligible for up to $300,000 in funding for infrastructure and facility improvements that support women’s participation.

The recently completed State Football Centre, which has been the Matildas training base since they arrived in Perth, will also benefit as part of the legacy package.

The $50.8m facility currently incorporates two full-sized FIFA standard football pitches with lighting, three five-a-side playing pitches, sport science facilities, changing rooms, function room and a main administration building. It is also the administrative home of Football West.

The $6.1 million investment includes two additional pitches and lighting, as part of expansion plans for the modern facility. The Centre provides state-of-the-art training and playing facilities that also support grassroots, community and high-performance football programs.

The legacy package follows the $15 million increase to the Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund as part of the 2023-24 Budget.

Sam Kerr: Matildas' greatest ever goalscorer
Sam Kerr, centre, will be at the State Football Centre Festival today. Photo by Getty Images

Mr Cook said: “Our Matildas are currently the biggest national sporting team in the country, and we cannot wait to celebrate their success and their legacy right here in Western Australia.

“The Women’s World Cup was an incredible tournament that Perth played a part in – and we want to make sure that the world game, and women’s football in particular, can continue to benefit from its success.

“Our Government’s investment in the women’s game is all about making sure every young Western Australian has the opportunity to become the next Sam Kerr.

“A key element of that is supporting grassroots clubs and a further investment in the State Football Centre – the WA home of football.”

Ms Saffioti said: “By investing in key infrastructure that supports football in Western Australia, our State Government is creating a pathway for talented players to reach their full potential and compete at the highest level.

“As a mother of two young girls, I am proud that our Government is supporting women's sport and inspiring the next generation of female footballers.”

Mr Templeman said: “Our commitment to the development and promotion of WA sport and its infrastructure is backed up by significant budget allocations by the Cook Government that will provide a solid foundation for the future.

“This substantial financial support will create first-class facilities for both the sporting and wider communities and help boost participation in sport, particularly by women. We are determined to pursue other initiatives to meet ongoing needs and future requirements that will increase the participation of women in sport.

“This funding is an investment in sporting facilities, not just at the community level but also at the state level, with the hope of producing WA sports stars like Sam Kerr who can compete nationally and internationally well into the future.”

Football Australia CEO and WA Premier Roger Cook. Photo by Getty Images

Football Australia CEO James Johnson said: “On behalf of Football Australia, I extend our heartfelt gratitude to the WA Government for their pivotal community funding.

“This remarkable support not only underpins the lasting legacy of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in WA but also illuminates the path for countless young talents through the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Legacy Grants program.

“The future shines brighter for football in our region, with improved facilities, enhanced infrastructure, and the promising expansion of community pitches at the WA State Football Centre.

“Together, we’re building a brighter future for the beautiful game in Western Australia.”