Too much football is never enough

Friday, February 22, 2013

Backpackers FC has launched a new initiative to give WA footballers more opportunities to get a kick out of the game.

The organisation’s casual 11-a-side concept, which will run each Saturday at Gibbney Reserve in Maylands, is open to all players, including those already registered with clubs.

Backpackers FC managing director Neil Hookway said Hub Football would combine the ease of access normally associated with a social indoor kick-about with the full-sized game.

“Our Casual five-a-side sessions at indoor venues have been extremely successful, and now we’ve responded to the demand for an 11-a-side version,” Hookway said.

Individual players can register their interest by sending an email to Players are invited to attend casual sessions prior to the start of the season where they will be organised into teams ahead of the first round of games.

Hookway said he expected to have 12 teams in place for the start of the inaugural season given the response to the project through social media. The Hub Football League Facebook page has  registered 650 likes since its launch three weeks ago.

There is no requirement for teams to be club-based but it is hoped teams will be entered by workplaces, student associations, backpacker hostels, language schools and other similar organisations.

Football West chief executive Peter Hugg said the Hub Football concept was a perfect fit with Football West’s push to promote more non-traditional forms of the game.

“The Hub Football program gives a much more flexible solution to those who have difficulty being able to commit to a full football season,” he said. “Increasingly we are being challenged to come up with activities and programs that meet the demands of community members whether they be FIFO workers, transient visitors to the state or workers who have been affected by the deregulation of shopping hours.”

The competition encourages social participation, allowing players to join Hub Football while continuing to take part in other Football West competitions, such as the My Solar Sunday and Metropolitan Leagues.

Hub Football has the support of Football West, including agreement on the rules of competition and governance model, provision of referees and fixture/league management with Sporting Pulse.

Teams will be charged $150 to compete in each fixture. This includes the cost of a qualified Football West referee and aims to deliver players 90 minutes of football for $10 each.

Hookway said he was hopeful the Hub Football competition at Gibbney Reserve would lead to the development of similar projects across the metropolitan area.

“Hopefully the Gibbney Hub will prove to be just the start of an exciting new chapter for football in WA,” Hookway said.

Teams will play each Saturday from April 6, with kick-offs at 12pm and 2pm.