After many years in the planning, the Greater Shepparton Regional Football Complex is now ready in season 2018 to accommodate the needs of Shepparton South Soccer Club, Shepparton United Soccer Club, Goulburn Valley Suns Football Club and Shepparton Junior Soccer Association.
Building the facilities has been the easy bit, however, and setting the ground rules and policies for how these four important sporting groups will use and share fields and buildings has proven much tougher with leadership from the council sadly lacking on the matter.
Fortunately for football in the region, the sport’s governing body, Football Federation Victoria, has stepped in to make its position on the allocation and use of the complex’s facilities clear.
That is — all clubs and associations must make compromises and adjustments to former operations and schedules to benefit all.
FFV has released its official fixtures for this year’s National Premier League seniors and juniors and has scheduled all home games of the Goulburn Valley Suns on Saturdays.
This means the two Bendigo Amateur Football League clubs, Shepparton South and Shepparton United, can share use of facilities on Sundays with no fixture clashes.
It also means the Goulburn Valley Suns finally get an opportunity to operate fully as a club on game days, which will consolidate club culture, supporter base and financial sustainability.
These new arrangements will require Shepparton Junior Soccer Association to make some changes to its scheduling of games and game times, however, with the abundant number of fields now available at the complex, there is ample capacity for the associations’s administration to accommodate the necessary changes to benefit all.
Under these arrangements, every child in the region gets an opportunity to play at the level they choose, from grassroots participation and development offered by Shepparton Junior Soccer Association to high level performance at a national level competition with Goulburn Valley Suns Football Club.
There will be no doubt resistance to change and protection of empires and territories, however, if the council can show courage and leadership and stand by the position of the FFV, football in the region will be the better for it.
— Brendan Gosstray,