Participation in organised sport is higher relative to other physical activity pursuits and 64% of Australians aged 5-17 years of age participate in this type of sport on a regular basis.
The big 5 sports in order of popularity are football, Australian Rules, dance, basketball and netball according to Active Healthy Kids Australia (AHKA) 2014 Report Card.
Football NSW (FNSW) has just released its Player Registration Analysis for 2015 showing a slight increase in new players from 63,210 to 69,813, not surprising with football being the number one participation sport in Australia.
However, the FNSW Player Registration Analysis 2015 lacked statistical analysis of registration fees and failed to mention that some families are paying up to $2000 per child for the season in NSW Youth Premier Leagues.
With registration fees of other codes significantly lower, between $80.00 and $150.00 per season, it seems that in some cases football may be becoming the sport of the wealthy middle class.
“Football NSW’s ongoing commitment to ensuring football remains a more affordable sport is always a priority,” said Mark Stavroulakis, FNSW Media Manager.
However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that in some cases, families are forced to ‘pay off’ registration fees over time, so that their sons and daughters can play at the premier levels of the game, but something that parents are prepared to do.
“Clubs are required to deliver 40 weeks of football with 4 contacts per week which consists of 3 training sessions and 1 match, with appropriate coaching, quality referees, equipment, playing kit, accident Insurance, “ said the FNSW representative.
Participation in football is growing and this is especially true within our own community with average increase in player registrations in the Canterbury Association increasing by 15.25%, more than double the state average.
“We havn’t got ourselves involved in the elite side of football and as a consequence do not have to charge the fees that others do,“ said Canterbury & District Soccer Football Association CEO, Ian Holmes.
When asked about the reasons behind this growth in registrations he replied, “What we try to do is ‘value add’ by buying new equipment especially for the players and investing in coach education”.
“We have focused on providing football to the community…we havn’t got all caught up in this program and that program and driving fees up like the Youth League fees, which I believe are at an outrageous level”, he said.
Football New South Wales stated there was a cap on fees for Premier League football and have a commitment to ensuring that football remains a more affordable sport.
By Paul Brown