Capital Football is refusing to pay Hutt City Council invoices for ground fees until it agrees to take part in a region-wide independent review of sports facilities charges.
The federation’s chief executive, Richard Reid, says the regional football body will not participate in the HCC’s internal review of sport affordability because it doesn’t trust internal council processes after spending almost a decade “playing their game” via various submissions.
Reid says he wants the Hutt City Council to join the other Wellington councils who have agreed to an independent review.
In early May, Capital Football held back payments to Wellington City Council in a public move to get an independent review of the costs.
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Football paying $750,000 a year to councils
Capital Football and its affiliated clubs across the five council districts pay approximately $750,000 in ground fees, artificial turf and indoor venue hire, including competition and training costs.
“An analysis done last year estimated that each year sports, including colleges, pay $2.1 million to the five councils,” Reid said.
Reid said Hutt’s mayor, Campbell Barry, and eight other councillors had promised an independent review during the local body elections.
“We intend to hold them to that promise,” he said.
“We’ve had enough of meetings, empty promises, and platitudes. We’ve gone through the council process before and have just been fobbed off.
“They want us to sit there so when they announce the results of the review, they can pass it off as consultation. In reality, the Council staff just do what they want.
“The only way we’d engage in the Hutt Council’s review is if it agreed to join the other Wellington councils in a truly independent review of the costs that make up sport facility fees.”
Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry and eight other councillors this week reneged on their election promise of an internal review, saying the Council would undertake its own review.
Hutt City is the only major council yet to participate in the region-wide independent review which has been initiated by Councillors at WCC following pressure from the Affordable Sports campaign.
Reid said Capital Football had a duty to sportspeople in Lower Hutt to ensure they didn’t miss out on a region-wide independent review. It felt it had no other option than to withhold payment of the fees until HCC signs up to the independent review.
‘We’ll pay only when the review is completed’
Capital Football will continue to collect fees from clubs, and will place the funds in a ring-fenced account until the review is completed and its recommendations are agreed upon.
Reid clarified that the only meeting Capital Football would attend with HCC about the issue was one to agree on the independent reviewer and terms of reference with the other Greater Wellington councils.
“Only an independent review can assess the real cost of these facilities and where the money goes.
“We’ll pay only when the review is completed.”