Fans attending the Barca in Sydney football match or watching live on Network 10 will have the opportunity to support a fundraising drive to restore community sporting facilities devastated by the recent floods in northern NSW.
As the recovery process continues in the wake of the worst floods in NSW history, Northern NSW Football and local identities are leading a campaign to raise money for community sporting facilities.
Twelve clubs affiliated with Northern NSW Football were badly affected by flooding, with some clubs completely losing their clubhouses, equipment and access to fields of play due to pitch damage. The damage bill to clubs has been estimated at more than $1 million.
With one of the world’s most famous football clubs, FC Barcelona, on its way to NSW to play the A-Leagues at Sydney’s Accor Stadium on Wednesday 25 May – in grand final week for the A-League men – football will take centre stage.
Businesses and supporters across Australia will have the opportunity to donate through a fundraising portal set up by the Australian Sports Foundation, which enables businesses and individuals to make tax-free donations.
The fund-raising portal is at https://asf.org.au/projects/northern-nsw-football.
The link will be circulated at the match, shown on the stadium big screens and promoted by match broadcaster Network 10 and the Australian Professional Leagues.
Minister for Tourism and Sport Stuart Ayres said it was a fantastic gesture from one of the world’s great football clubs and the A-Leagues to support the fundraising.
“FC Barcelona is one of the world’s most popular sporting teams with a vast following, so I thank and congratulate the club and the event organisers for using their visit to Sydney as a platform to help the recovery of our devastated communities in northern NSW,” Ayres said.
“The return of community sport is integral to the recovery of our flood-affected regions. In line with the NSW government’s Sport Infrastructure Recovery Fund, the money raised from this great initiative will provide much needed financial support to repair and rebuild their community assets and get their local sports clubs back on the field as soon as possible.”
Northern NSW Football CEO David Eland said the impact of the floods on local football clubs had been significant.
“We have set up a flood recovery plan that reflects our commitment to ease the burden on volunteers and help local clubs get back on the pitch as soon as possible,” Mr Eland said.
“In addition to damage and loss, clubs are also faced with the loss of sponsorship from local businesses devastated by the floods.
“Raising awareness of our campaign through the Barca in Sydney match will be a great support to local communities.”
Australian Professional Leagues CEO Danny Townsend said: “These football facilities play a central role in the lives of so many people in New South Wales and it was devastating to see the damage done by the floods. This match presents the perfect opportunity for the football family to unite behind this cause and get the community back on the pitch.”
Prominent Australian actor Bridie Carter, who lives with her family on a farm near Byron Bay, has told first-hand of the flood damage to communities in northern NSW and invited football supporters to get behind the fundraising drive.
“Football clubs are more than just football. In rural communities they also host yoga classes, support groups, awards nights, birthday parties and all sorts of community events that connect and bring people together. But without a clubhouse, a home for a club, none of this can take place,” Bridie said.
“We know so many people are thinking of the people of northern NSW and community activities like football can help a community get back on its feet.”
Bridie Carter’s Call to Action
Venues NSW CEO Kerrie Mather said the high profile of the Barca in Sydney event was a perfect platform to raise awareness of the crisis in bush football in the wake of the NSW floods.
“Sport has a unique ability to bring people together and while there is a long journey ahead for the residents of northern NSW, a resumption of local football and sport in general will be a sure sign that the community is on the mend,” Ms Mather said.