To all members of our Queensland football community,
After two years of unprecedented challenges and interruptions to our game with the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, in recent weeks we’ve once again found ourselves coming together to work through a significant crisis as a sport and as a community.
As the water recedes and we prepare for the return of football in many regions from this weekend, it is poignant to reflect on the devastation caused by the recent flood event across a huge number of our football clubs in the South East Queensland and Wide Bay regions.
It has been personally heartbreaking to see the hard work of dedicated volunteers washed away in just a matter of days. Many of you may not be aware of the true scale of devastation, especially for those whose clubs have been lucky enough to escape significant damage.
Football Queensland has been working closely with clubs to assess the impact of the recent flood event and is continuing to learn more about the severity of damage inflicted, primarily across South East Queensland.
So far, Football Queensland has identified 102 clubs who have been affected by flooding; this includes 90 fields inundated with water, 42 club changeroom buildings and 37 clubhouses heavily damaged, 21 clubs with damaged machinery and 21 clubs with damage to their field lighting, with many still yet to be assessed.
All parts of our game have been impacted, with FQ’s own headquarters at Meakin Park submerged in two metres of floodwater for many days and the clean-up only able to begin in the last week.
Our focus has remained on supporting our clubs through this time as we know they have lost the most. Run by volunteers who dedicate countless hours to prepare fields and maintain clubhouses and facilities each week, sustaining damage of this magnitude is absolutely devastating for clubs and their members.
It was a pleasure to welcome Will Hastie and Alex Davani from Football Australia to Queensland this week to discuss support and recovery efforts while visiting some of the clubs and facilities who were heavily impacted.
Football Queensland launched a dedicated Flood Support Hub in the wake of the flood event, providing a go-to place for clubs to seek assistance from the football community, find information on fundraising and relevant funding opportunities, and connect them with volunteers willing to help in their clean-up efforts.
The Flood Support Hub is also providing clubs with access to relevant webinars and helpful resources from our partners to help them get back on their feet, and will continue to be updated as more resources become available.
With the support of Football Australia, Football Queensland wrote to the Queensland Premier advising of the impacts of the flood event being experienced by so many of our clubs and seeking assistance in football’s recovery efforts. We were delighted to hear the Queensland Government announcement just days later of disaster recovery funding being made available for sporting organisations, and encourage all impacted clubs to apply for funding of up to $20,000 via the Queensland Government website once applications open.
We have also been working with both the State and Federal Governments and relevant local councils to accommodate a return to football as soon as possible, and we’re delighted to have been able to get many competitions back up and running across the state from this weekend.
We understand that even those clubs and participants not directly affected by flooding have been impacted in recent weeks as we’ve been forced to postpone fixtures at all levels of the game in certain regions, and we thank you for your ongoing patience and cooperation.
Whilst our focus remains first and foremost on supporting our clubs and volunteers who still have a tough road ahead of them, we are also excited to get players at every level of the game back out on the park in many regions from this weekend onwards. We know this will lift the spirits of so many across our game who have been personally impacted by the flood event.
It has been truly incredible to see our football community band together over the last few weeks to provide support wherever it was needed. Whilst the sport is what unites each of us, it is the unwavering community spirit off the pitch that makes football the beautiful game.
As we continue to navigate the ongoing challenges of flood recovery alongside many of our clubs, the resumption of competitions this weekend is a timely and welcome reminder that even in the hardest of times, football will always return.