Hume prepares for soccer mania

Hume council (Damjan Janevski). 336543_02

Hume council will investigate developing a comprehensive sports plan, amid a predicted $44 million dollar expenditure on sport for this financial year.

At a meeting on February 12, soccer and its growth throughout Hume was the topic of a robust debate, with its rising popularity a point of contention.

Councillor Joseph Haweil moved the notice of motion, calling for a stand alone soccer strategy, following Hume’s 13 per cent participation increase in soccer from 2018 to 2023.

Officers recommended that rather than standalone sport strategies, the soccer strategy be part of a holistic view of participation of all sports and the implications for all recreation spaces across Hume.

Cr Haweil said he doesn’t seek to create a two track system favouring some sports over others, but his intention is to level the playing field.

“Updated modelling will see soccer reflected long term as the most participated in outdoor sport in Hume,” he said.

“As such to plan appropriate service provisions, we need to think beyond just a few pages in a document covering 15 sports, and instead we need to turn our minds to detailed, evidence based strategic planning.

“[In] 2024-25 we are forecasting that this council will spend a whopping $44 million dollars, or a full 29 per cent of our $154 million capital works budget.

“What is the participation rate of sports in Hume? it is 8.2 per cent.”

Councillor Jack Medcraft disagreed and said soccer is not the most demanding sport in Sunbury. Cr Medcraft is the president of the Sunbury Lions Football Netball Club.

“The predominant sports in Sunbury are football, cricket, basketball and golf,” he said. “You are trying to paint a picture here of the whole of Hume being soccer centric.”

Councillor Jarrod Bell said he was supporting the notice of motion because sometimes councils developed plans and strategies and goals miss the mark.

“These plans and ideas sometimes don’t have a full understanding of where we’re going or what might come up in the future,” he said.

“I think there is an opportunity to rethink the way we do our sports planning.”

According to the motion it is predicted that by 2041, soccer will be the second-most participated-in sport, following AFL.