Rutherglen Football Club seeks council support for grant to upgrade women’s changing rooms

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With all eyes on women’s football as the AFLW Draft takes place today, a club in Rutherglen, northeast Victoria, say they are dealing with ‘outdated’ dressing rooms where the players “shower in their clothes”.

The Murray Felines Football Club, which is made up of around 100 players from across the region, plays its home games at local Barkly Park where there are no closed shower doors in either dressing room.

There are also no barriers or doors separating each shower, and people entering the rooms can see directly into the shower spaces.

Felines player Mietta Habets said the rooms were very old and unsuitable for the club’s player base.

“There’s a bathroom. The door doesn’t lock, so you need a friend to hold the door, basically,” she said.

“The showers face the door to the club rooms, so there’s no privacy.”

Club committee member Cooper Gabriel said the situation was a “joke”.

“They [the players] have to walk a long distance to get to a bathroom that meets the needs they have during a game,” she said.

“Everyone is aware that this is a problem, men and women, boys and girls.”

The club asks for the support of the board

Murray Felines Football Club said it had been discussing concerns about the Barkly Park changing rooms with the local council for months.(ABC Goulburn Murray: Callum Marshall)

The Murray Felines want the Indigo Shire Council to submit an application for funding for a state government grant that would help upgrade changing rooms, with only Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Alpine Resort Boards (ARBs) able to to apply.

The grant application, which closes July 12, provides funding of up to $1 million per LGA or ARB to advance women-friendly sports facilities.

Murray Felines committee member Paul Somerville said the halls were outdated and the club had been discussing the issue of funding with the board for around six months.

“They basically tried to push us into this second masterplan process, but really it’s just a way to launch the box on the road for another two or three years.

“We have a master plan. We have a concept plan. We have a functional layout of what the changing rooms could look like.

“The Indigo County [Council] could get on board quickly and shake things up if they really wanted to. »

Ms Habets said the lack of progress on the issue was frustrating.

A young woman standing in front of a sports locker room shower area
Players and committee members are frustrated with the lack of progress in upgrading the dressing rooms at Barkly Park.

“There is a lot of support for girls in sport and especially in women’s football, especially in this region,” she said.

“It’s frustrating for the girls playing, for the parents, for the coaches.

Council responds

Indigo Shire Council said it recognizes the need to upgrade the changing facilities at Barkly Park and is committed to working with the park’s management committee and its user groups.

A spokesperson said the council had received advice from the Local Sports Infrastructure Fund advising that reapplying for funding for improvements to Barkly Park would be unsuccessful due to previous cycle funding already granted to develop a master plan. of the site.

“The council has worked closely with the Barkly Park management committee to secure masterplan funding throughout the 2021/22 funding cycle,” they said.

“Design work could be continued to support future applications once appropriate scope and project readiness [master plan] has been completed.”

The spokesperson said the master planning process should be finalized by December 2022.

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