Players pump $30m into grassroots
Australia's male and female professional cricketers, the ACA, and Cricket Australia announce a fund to boost grassroots cricket
14 February 2019, 08:05 AM AEST
Australia's professional cricketers will contribute up to $30 million into a Grassroots Cricket Fund that will be used to improve playing and training facilities around the nation in an initiative launched today.
And cricket clubs in drought-stricken communities will be given priority access to $2m in funding to provide playing equipment for their local communities.
The extra funding is a by-product of 2017's Memorandum of Understanding between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association, of which support for grassroots cricket was a central pillar of the at-times acrimonious negotiations.
Under the MOU, the $30m of funding now available would have otherwise gone to the Payer Payments Pool under the previous model.
The money is in addition to the $35 million announced last August by CA.
Some $3m will be released in year one of the plan, with $1m of that going to the Australian Cricket Infrastructure Fund, of which $900,000 will handed out by the State cricket associations. The remainder is to be utilised for specific projects.
Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood, who hails from Bendemeer in the New England region of New South Wales, said the opportunity to leave a tangible legacy to community cricket was important to all players.
"The players are passionate about giving back to the game that has given us so much," said Hazlewood, who is currently sidelined from playing duty with a back injury.
"There's a significant need for investment in grassroots cricket, especially for those communities doing it tough at the moment.
"If we can make the experience of playing cricket better for all cricketers it will go a long way to benefit the game at community cricket right through to those playing at the highest level."
Fast bowler Holly Ferling, who hails from Kingaroy – known colloquially as the 'peanut capital of Australia', some 200km north-west of Brisbane – said her own experiences with local cricket reinforced the need for the players to contribute.
"We all started out in local clubs, so we know how important it is for young kids to hit, bowl and throw a cricket ball in a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment," said Ferling, who plies her traid for the Queensland Fire, and the Melbourne Stars in the rebel WBBL.
"This is one small part of how we can give back to the communities who have really shaped us into the people and cricketers we are today."
The players' contribution will specifically invest in playing and training facilities such as pitches, ovals, training nets and lighting. Clubs can apply to the Australian Cricket Infrastructure Fund through their state association.