From next month more than fifty sporting grounds in the City of Moreland, in Melbourne’s inner north, will be available only to clubs with juniors as well as girls or women participating in either competitive or non-competitive physical activities, the City of Moreland Mayor Stella Kariofyllidis announced last week.
Three small cricket clubs in Moreland are yet to meet the requirements, but these clubs are considering merging with bigger clubs, Cr Kariofyllidis said. “The majority of clubs are happy and complying with the new policy. They’ve had 12 months to work on this and they all embraced it,” she told Neos Kosmos.
Cr Kariofyllidis said so far the council has not encountered issues with the policy, with 48 out of 51 clubs all complying.
“I think it’ll make it better. After the things we see and hear about sporting clubs and players in the media, I think we need to work from grass roots. When you’ve got mixed teams working and playing together from a young age, they show respect for each other,” she said. “I think it’ll benefit the community and clubs.”
Former mayor of Moreland City Council, Cr Lambros Tapinos, said the policy was first brought up a couple of years ago and will be implemented from this summer onwards.
“It says we’d prefer to see real community engagement and greater participation from the greater community, from females, from juniors, not just the seniors who are the ones who get the publicity,” Cr Tapinos told Neos Kosmos.
“We’d like to see more of an effort made by the greater community and we’re more interested in creating a healthier community,” he said.
Cr Tapinos believes the Moreland City Council is one of the first communities to set these kinds of club requirements, with other communities following their lead. “The club grounds are valued resources, which we want to see used to their best capacity,” he said.
Brunswick City Football Club President, George Koutoulis, said his club has women’s, girl’s, junior’s and mixed teams, and is always looking for new members.
Competing with other clubs, especially for female players, means that it may be difficult to maintain the quota of female players, Mr Koutoulis said. While the council’s new policy is a good idea, he said it may create difficulty for smaller clubs who do not have as many players or as wide a variety.
The new policy will probably increase greater participation from the wider community, but its success will depend on whether new members are evenly distributed across the clubs, Vice president of the Brunswick City Football Club, Con Mavrelis, said.
Mr Mavrelis said those interested in joining the Brunswick City Football Club can access information on the club’s website and while this year’s football season is finished they can do a two week trial in early February 2011. Mr Mavrelis suggested groups of girls could form a team of friends and join the Brunswick City Football Club with a focus on enjoying themselves whilst developing their skills.
Brunswick City Football Club has shaped some football greats, including young player George Mells, who is rumoured to have been signed by English premiere league team, Chelsea Football Club, this week.
Theodore Markelis, who also started out at the club, was signed by Spanish team Valencia in 2007. Markelis, now 18, plays in Italy’s series B for Vicenza Calcio.