West Dapto football hub dreams fade

Football South Coast’s ‘Home of Football’ dream has been thrown into disarray after it failed to receive funding from the $100 million Illawarra infrastructure fund for the proposed West Dapto development.

The region’s governing body had hoped to secure $7.8 million from the fund after making the final shortlist and were confident of the proposal they put forward.    

But an announcement earlier today confirmed the West Dapto development was not among the final list of winners, which included the Fowlers Road Bridge at West Dapto ($22.5 million) and the Accelerate innovation project at the University of Wollongong ($16.5 million). 

Projects to share in $100 million of infrastructure funds named

The news comes after Football South Coast were denied $7.4 million in pledged funding from the Labor government under the old Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF). 

Wolves player Jacob Timpano with kids Brandon De Gabriele and Luke Balliano and Wollongong Stingrays player Sarah Gollop (front) with (at back) Eddy De Gabriele, MP Stephen Jones, MP Sharon Bird, Councillor Chris Connor and Football South Coast chief executive Ann-Marie Balliano..

The RDAF was replaced by the Coalition’s Community Development Grants Programme, with the Liberal government only agreeing to honour contracts of projects in rounds 2, 3 and 4 of the old fund.

As a round 5 commitment, the ‘Home of Football’ development failed to make the cut. 

While Football South Coast were still hopeful of receiving the $7.4 million under the new scheme, today’s decision is a cruel blow for the sport. 

Football has battled to find a home after giving up Brandon Park in 2003 in the fallout of the now defunct NSL and the West Dapto development was considered the solution.

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