New artificial turf opened in Wellington

  29 May 2013   Jeff Bell   Club News
 

Source: Oceania Football

 

Players in the lower North Island of New Zealand will now have even more opportunities to take part in the world game after the official opening of a state-of-the-art football turf in Petone, Wellington.

 

The redevelopment of Memorial Park is the third FIFA Goal Project to be completed in New Zealand. The redeveloped Memorial Park was unveiled on Saturday in fitting fashion as the Petone club hosted neighbouring teams Stop Out and Lower Hutt City in the top two men’s divisions of Capital Football, the organisation responsible for administering and developing football in the wider Wellington region.

 

Funding for the $2 million upgrade was supplied in a joint effort by the FIFA Goal Project programme, Hutt City Council and Capital Football, while the balance was made up from community funding and sponsorship.

 

The new all-weather turf, which is accompanied by floodlights and sits alongside three other full-sized pitches, was officially opened by Lower Hutt mayor Ray Wallace, New Zealand Football chairman Frank van Hattum, Capital Football chief executive Richard Reid and Petone Football Club chairman Craig Deadman.

 

A number of special guests also attended, including member of parliament for Hutt South Trevor Mallard, Sport Wellington chief executive Phil Gibbons and sport development manager Kevin Wilson, Lower Hutt deputy mayor David Bassett and Hutt City councilors Max Shierlaw, Lisa Brisdon and Michael Lulich, plus life members from both Capital Football and Petone Football Club.

 

“It’s great to see so many people of all ages, from young kids to our top teams from our local clubs and our life members, all here today to share in the achievement of the development of this world class facility for the Hutt Valley community,” Capital Football chairman Chris Canton said.

 

Memorial Park is the third FIFA Goal Project – an initiative that enables member associations to implement projects designed to develop football in their countries – to be facilitated in New Zealand by the Oceania branch of the FIFA Development Office and follows similar turf redevelopments at Auckland’s North Harbour Stadium in 2007 and Canterbury’s ASB Football Park in 2011.

 

OFC President and FIFA Vice President David Chung, who could not attend the opening as he is overseas for the respective congresses of OFC, UEFA and FIFA, said the project is another example of how FIFA is catering to the specific needs of the various national associations.

 

“Across the Pacific, OFC’s 11 members face unique challenges and in New Zealand Football’s case it is evident that the rapid growth of the game is putting a strain on the number of facilities available,” President Chung said. “I would like to thank FIFA for responding to these needs.”

 

New Zealand Football chairman van Hattum believes collaboration between the federation and local government is the key to bringing new facilities such as these to life.

 

“Working with councils like Hutt City, who have been instrumental in developing Memorial Park, is essential to the health of New Zealand’s largest participation winter sport,” he said.

 

The all-weather turf is expected to add up to 600 more matches to the winter football calendar in Wellington and will form the basis of a lower North Island football hub. It will house New Zealand Football’s Central Technical Centre and the headquarters of Capital Football.

 

The new facility was called into action just prior to the official opening when it played host to several significant events earlier this month – a FIFA/OFC Women’s Football Development Seminar, FIFA Grassroots/Youth Instructor Course and OFC C Licence Coach Instructor Course.