LET THERE BE LIGHT: Football Federation Sunraysia president and Member for Mildura Peter Crisp at the soccer facilties at Aero Ovals. Mr Crisp has pledged to provide $120,000 to the Association if the Liberal-National Coalition is elected to Government in November, to enable new outdoor lighting to be installed on a currently unlit pitch at the facility.

By JOHN DOOLEY

IF the Liberal-National Coalition is elected in November, Football Federation Sunraysia’s soccer facilities at the Aero Ovals will receive a $120,000 grant to enable the installation of new outdoor lighting for a pitch currently without lights.

Member for Mildura Peter Crisp said increasing the number of pitches that can be used for night games was going to be a welcome enhancement for the local soccer association.

“Soccer is growing steadily in Mildura, and I’m very proud to be able to support the competition as it expands,” he said. “By adding these lights it gives more flexibility for that increased participation. 

“More than 1000 families are involved with soccer in Sunraysia, which is a pretty big participation rate, and so we are hoping to support that by providing these extra lights which means they can have more flexibility with how they go about offering access to the sport for those who love it.”

The pledge for the Aero Ovals follows Mr Crisp’s announcement in July that a Liberal-Nationals Government will contribute $10million to the Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct.

“This announcement forms part of the vision I am laying out for Mildura should the Coalition be elected in November,” he said. “In this case we are looking to enhance a facility that will have the potential to attract people to Mildura and to decentralise people.

“You need to have the sporting and social facilities that complement the employment infrastructure, as well as first-rate education and health facilities, and importantly, transport services including efficient freight and passenger rail. 

“If you want people to come to your region, you have to offer all of the incentives to attract them to come and work here to grow our community.

“The lighting for the soccer pitch at the Aero Ovals is another example of a worthwhile project.”

Football Federation Sunraysia general manager, Susan Watts, said the addition of lights would enable more games to be played, and training expanded.

“If we had another pitch with lighting we would be able to extend the area where the clubs train, and this will spread the activity on the pitches so they aren’t worn out by the end of the season,” she said.

“At the moment we are short one pitch to play competition on a Sunday, therefore we overlap a lot of our games, for example we currently play our under 12’s and under 10’s at different times because we can’t fit them on.

“If we were able to extend the actual playing time to later in the evening on the Sunday we could also play our women at a seperate time, whereas at the moment our reserve men and our senior women play at the same time.”

Football Federation Sunraysia president, Cosimo Cirillo, said being able to expand availability for clubs to play and train would be welcome.

“Definitely anything that will enhance the ability to play, especially during the winter months when it gets dark very early, would be a plus, and also during the summer these lights will provide the opportunity for us to utilise the fields to their fullest,” he said.

“Soccer is one of those sports that you can play pretty much any time of the year as long as you have got the ability to play with adequate light and grounds to play on, and that is what we are trying to provide.”

Mr Cirillo said the Association had a long-term plan to build a new clubhouse and function centre which would further enhance the utilisation of the facility, and have the potential to attract outside tournaments.

“We have an ambition to more than double the facilities – building additional club rooms for the teams based here including Three Colours and Mildura United – and the inclusion of a function centre,” he said.

“Obviously this is a long-term strategy, and we need to raise the money for that and we will be looking for State and Local Government support, and the local community as well, to enable us to work towards that.”

Mr Crisp was very supportive of the Association’s plans, and said the concept of expanding the amenities was something he hoped would come to fruition.

“Local sporting clubs are the backbone of regional communities, and all clubs need to have adequate social rooms where they can serve meals and run functions, which all makes the cash register tick over, it’s a great goal,” he said.