Clubs reduce fees for young players as families cope with rising cost-of-living

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Some Auckland clubs have reduced their registration fees for young players, acknowledging the pressure on families to meet the costs in the current economic environment.

These include Waitemata and Albany United, who have lowered their costs for the 2023 winter season.

Waitemata FC says its committee have made a specific decision to reduce season fees for players in the Little Leagues (4th-6th grade, $85), First Kicks (6th-8th grade, $95), junior football (9th-12th grade, $175) and youth football (13’th-17th grade, $195).

Waitemata: ‘Every child should have the chance …’

In its announcement, the club said:

“Waitemata Football Club understands that times have been tough for many families, and we want to do our part in making sure that every child has the opportunity to participate in a sport they love, and understand that finance and cost is often a barrier to participation,

“By reducing the fees, we hope to encourage more children to join our club and experience the many benefits of playing football. Not only does it promote physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle, but it also teaches valuable life skills such as teamwork, communication, and leadership.

“Additionally, being part of a football team can boost a child’s self-esteem and confidence, and provide a sense of belonging and community with our club.

“We believe that every child should have the chance to enjoy these benefits, regardless of their financial situation.”

Waitemata said the changes to the fee structure brought the club in line “with a fair and reasonable cost for participation sports and maintains the club’s position as one of the most affordable and value-for-money football clubs in the region.”

Albany reduce registration fees for youngsters

According to their website, Albany United have significantly reduced what they’ll charge for the winter season.

  • First Kicks (ages 5-8) will pay $100 in 2023, compared to $164 last year.
  • Juniors (ages 9-12) will pay $165, compared to $173.
  • Youth (players aged 13+) will pay $195, compared to $215.
  • Albany also offer a 10% for players with siblings at the club.

Explaining their approach on social media, Albany United said:

“Our fees are 30-50% lower than other clubs on the Shore!

“Albany United is committed to keeping sport affordable for all parents of children and youth through the current financial challenges many of us are facing. And we are thrilled to say that our pricing structure this season makes us the lowest in comparison by 30% — 50% against other clubs on the Shore.

“We have done this as we want to focus on community football and engagement and keep the sport affordable for our families and local community.

“We know that times are difficult at the moment; the cost-of-living crisis is hitting many people hard, especially on the back of the recent flooding, not to mention the pandemic. It’s natural when this happens to cut back on non-essentials, and sport can be seen as just that.

“However, we also know that as parents, we want our children to stay active, healthy and growing their skills and friendships on the fields.

“For many, football is seen as too expensive a sport, and so we have decided to make sure that football is accessible for all this winter season with our price rollback.”

Te Atatu: ‘Proud to keep our fees low and affordable’

Te Atatu FC say their club’s mission is “to be a diverse community football club that is inclusive to everyone and offers opportunities for both social and competitive competition.”

“As a committee, we remain committed to ensuring that fees are not a barrier to football for our players, and we are proud to continue to keep our fees low and affordable.

“Our fees are already lower than a number of clubs even with their discounts in place.”

Former All White criticises rising costs

NZ Football’s former head of high-performance Fred de Jong says he thinks football has “lost sight of the affordability of the game.”

Speaking on Sky Sport’s The Kiwi Football Fix. the former All White said it was costing between $1,500 and $2,000 a year for some young players to play — and in many cases, that didn’t include extras such as apparel.

“The price (of football) is just escalating, especially in the talent space,” he said.

“Nowadays, you know, you have to have all this professional coaching. You’ve got to have cameras to film the games from 13 years up; all the extra training, the equipment you need, the apparel …

“Now, clubs are also loading all that stuff onto the parents and the kids.

“I just think that we’ve lost sight of the affordability of the game.”

Fred de Jong: The cost of football

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