$6.5 in developments at Clennett's Lightwood Park are happening
The first stage of $6.5 million worth of upgrades is now complete at Lightwood Park, improving the chances of the venue being selected by a visiting international team as a base camp for the FIFA Women’s World Cup next year.
The facility is one of 35 venues nationally on FIFA’s Team Base Camp shortlist as a training venue for the competing teams.
Teams will be able to select their training bases once the draw for the tournament is made next month.
The completed Stage One includes four new changing rooms which will make Lightwood Park a much more ‘female-friendly’ venue for years to come.
Stage Two consists of four more changing rooms, three referees’ rooms and a medical room. These will all occupy the lover level of the complex.
Works to upgrade the playing surface and lighting have also commenced this week and these will bring the venue up to FIFA’s required specifications when they are completed later this year.
The pitch will be at least 105m X 95m, which is the minimum required by FIFA, and the floodlighting will be 500 Lux, again the minimum requirement for a FIFA competition.
Kingborough Lions president, Brian Downes, said the possibility of hosting some of the world’s best women’s teams and players at Lightwood Park was tremendously exciting for the club.
“As a proud community club, Kingborough Lions is committed to providing opportunities for local players to participate in and enjoy football at a level which suits them, from social to elite competition,” Downes said at a media conference at Lightwood Park today.
“The upgrades at Lightwood Park will not only give us the best chance of hosting the best international players during the World Cup, but it will also ensure our venue is able to accommodate our growing grassroots player base for years to come, which will be a tremendous legacy of having the tournament on our shores.
“On behalf of the club, I would like to thank the State Government and Minister Nic Street, and the Federal Government and Minister Julie Collins, for supporting our project.”
Football Tasmania president, Bob Gordon, said the facility would be a game-changer for football in Kingborough and, in fact, for Tasmania.
“The transformation of Lightwood Park is an outstanding achievement that the Kingborough Lions should be very proud of,” Mr Gordon said.
“Across Tasmania, one of the biggest challenges facing football is a lack of suitable playing and training venues for our players.
“Kingborough have really led the way in showing what’s possible with passion and hard work, and there’s no doubt we’d love to see similar facilities in every corner of the State.
“We’re delighted to see the new Lightwood Park take shape and we look forward to a rich future for the venue, from World Cup basecamps, to A-League men’s and women’s training and matches after that.”
Julie Collins MP acknowledged all the work done by club volunteers.
“It’s all about the community and this facility here is about the community and about a lot of people doing a whole lot of work,” Minister Collins said.
“It will inspire young people to play football.”
Tasmanian Minister for Sport and Recreation, Nic Street, said the complex was an example of what can be done through community effort when there was a vision.
He said Brian Downes and his committee had a vision beyond the initial $500,000 grant for new change-rooms and the additional $6 million in Federal and State Government funding had enabled them to bring this vision to fruition.
“We’re now going to be looking at a facility that is up to FIFA standards and which may host a training camp for a team in next year’s Women’s World Cup.
“We’ve got our fingers crossed that we can get a base camp here.”
Photo: Work underway on the Clennett's Lightwood Park pitch. [PlessPix]
Photo: More developments at the Kingborough venue. [PlessPix]