Grant aids pandemic recovery

Picture Luke Hemer

Goya Dmytryshchak

Williamstown Football Club has been given $130,000 to help its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and to succeed in the restructured VFL competition.

The funding was provided under the state government’s Strengthening Victoria’s AFL Development Pathways Program (SVADPP).

Under the SVADPP initiative, nine Victorian football clubs have been given grants to help support the extra costs of staying COVID-safe and to help meet the travel expenses associated with playing games interstate due to the pandemic.

Werribee, Coburg, Frankston, the Northern Bullants and Port Melbourne also received $130,000 grants.

Three AFL-affiliated clubs – Box Hill Hawks, Casey Demons and Sandringham – received $65,000.

Williamstown chief executive Jason Reddick the club was most grateful to the government for its financial support of VFL clubs for the 2021 season.

“The government have always been strong allies of the traditional VFL clubs because of our rich history, the role we play in the local communities and the talent pathway that we provide for footballers through to the elite level,” he said.

“Like so many organisations, our club endured a tough 2020 year with the season cancelled and all staff, coaches, players being stood down from March through to November.

“The loss of our traditional revenue streams certainly impact our efforts to provide the resources necessary for our players to compete in a competition full of AFL listed full time athletes and staff.

“This one-off funding will help meet the additional costs resulting from the 2021 competition having now expanded to 22 teams across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, as well as meet the additional COVID compliance measures required to keep players, staff and crowds safe at all times.”

AFL head of talent Tristan Salter said the funding provided a boost after the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

“Our VFL and VFLW clubs have been pillars in Victorian football and their local communities for many, many years and they have been through a tough period over the last 18 months,” he said.

“The challenges of dealing with the pandemic and entering a new competition have been significant and this support will provide a real boost for players, members and supporters.”