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Goalball WA faces tough fight for funding

 

Photo by P. Clarke

Goalball WA is under pressure to provide financial support to its players ahead of an international tournament in Japan early next year.

The not-for-profit blind sports institution requires thousands of dollars to compete at a national or international level, according to its support staff.

Goalball WA vice president Ryan Honschooten said finding adequate funding was an incredibly difficult process.

“It takes a lot to get the money and we’re very grateful for what we’ve got,” he said.

Goalball players are either partially or completely blind and play with an enlarged ball which contains a bell inside.

Players protect their goals by making themselves as wide as possible while listening for the ball to prevent the other team from scoring.

Asking players to finance their ambitions in the sport individually can be a sensitive issue ahead of major tournaments, Mr Honschooten said.

“We’ve got to be careful of those who are on the blind pension,” he said

“We can’t afford to pay for them to go over and pulling out $400 is hard.”

Currently the only consistent funding Goalball WA receives is from the state government.

There are no major sponsors that support Goalball WA on an ongoing basis.

The lack of funding and continued cost of equipment has potentially serious consequences for goalball to expand in the future,  Goalball WA support staff said. 

Photo by P. Clarke

Since establishment in 2009, Goalball WA has sought grants from various disability support organisations like VisAbility and banks.

VisAbility intend on selling the premises where Goalball WA currently train in the hope that moving into smaller hubs will yield greater profit.

This would not assist Goalball WA’s finances ahead of the Japan Men’s Open in January,  Mr Honschooten said.

A spokesman from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries said Goalball WA was supported under the Targeted Participation Program.

“Goalball WA has received a total of $30,700 of funding since 2009, which included supporting the development of Goalball,” the spokesman said.

This included establishing the Goalball WA incorporated body with project officer salaries, accreditations of coaches and officials, and proposed expansion of the sport into regional centres.

Despite the proposal of expansion, the current funding from the state government leaves about $3000 for Goalball WA each year.

It considers Goalball WA a local community sporting organisation.

Mr Honschooten questioned the local level representation by the state government.

“A lot of players play across different codes,” he said.

“What are the national departments doing?

“These people play for Australia.”

Players and staff were concerned for the future of their unique sport and ability to enter high-profile competitions.

The spokesperson from the Department of Local Government said an increase in funding was the responsibility of Goalball Australia as the governing body for Goalball WA.

Unlike WA, other states have multiple Goalball associations with adequate funding to support them.

Disabled sports in WA are members of the not-for-profit charity Western Australian Disabled Sports Association.

WADSA doesn’t make a large enough profit to fund its member organisations like Goalball WA.

Goalball Queensland is supported by Sporting Wheelies, a similar charity which funds disabled sports in Queensland.

Sports development coordinator Joe Moynihan said Sporting Wheelies gave considerable support to disabled sports in Queensland.

“We budgeted $25,000 last year which went to all our member sports, Goalball being one of them,” he said.

“We cover about 60 per cent of their costs and the players cover the remaining 40.”

Goalball WA still has high hopes that one day they will reach the size and support that other states receive.

“We’ll just keep playing,” Mr Honschooten said.

“If anyone wants to get involved, do get in touch.”

Categories: Community, Sport