Fueling Growth and Community Wellbeing
The industry is heavily focused on developing the right plans in collaboration with Councils, clubs and all other stakeholders in each project. When done well, this maximises any returns on investment through increased participation levels, club sustainability and community wellbeing.
The AFL is extremely proud of its investment into the game and the facilities we use. Over the past 5 years, the AFL has invested $24M into an estimated $340M worth of infrastructure projects.
Australian football’s growth story is compelling and is being led by our thirteen-fold growth in female football participation over the past decade.
From season 2022, all 18 professional clubs now have an AFLW team competing. This has been one of our game’s greatest achievements that will continue to provide significant and ongoing opportunities for the generations that follow.
Significant growth brings with it the challenge of providing the facilities we need, in the right locations to ensure all Australian’s can experience the game.
Towards 2030 provides our game, our stakeholders and partners this guidance and an aligned direction. It has been developed to provide certainty and security around our existing facility footprint and to identify the new and innovative opportunities we need to deliver to continue to grow and ensure Australian football is accessible to all.
The AFL, in conjunction with our State and Territory football and government partners, believe we have a responsibility to sustainably plan for Australia’s future.
Through this Plan, we have prioritised our critical facility needs and will align our investment to best address and support the delivery of community needs and to also meet government’s broader objectives.
Staged and shared investment is the key to success, and we know that when we invest, significant projects and outcomes are delivered.
Preferred Facility Guidelines
The AFL Preferred Facility Guidelines should be used to inform the provision and development of appropriate venues, facilities, and amenities for local level football.
The Guidelines provide a consolidated resource to assist stakeholders in the planning and development of welcoming, inclusive and sustainable facilities.
The 2024 edition builds on the previous versions and reinforces the need for access, equity and sustainability across all venues.
It also provides a greater focus on the stages of project planning and supports the need to better cater for and support the umpiring community through more fit-for-purpose infrastructure.
It is acknowledged that many existing venues may not meet the preferred levels of provision documented within the Guidelines. However, it is not intended that these Guidelines be used as a basis for assessing the suitability of all existing venues.
Rather, should existing venues be considered for upgrade or improvement, then where possible, the Guidelines should be used as a road map for future development.
The AFL is a game that unites the community locally and across the country and is a central part of life. We’re continually striving to grow participation and opportunities for people to access and engage with our game as players, volunteers, administrators, and spectators.
A sensory space is an intentionally designed space that people can access to regulate their systems. In the context of a stadium venue, the space aims to offer a calm environment removed from loud noise and crowded spaces, whilst also providing purposeful equipment and activities that supports people to access sensory input that has a regulating effect on them.
The aim of these Guidelines is to define a strategy to include the benefits of a sensory space in stadium venues, events and communities and to outline the steps and considerations in designing and implementing Sensory Spaces.
This can be facilitated through various means:
- Sensory Room Proper (a permanent space within the venue itself)
- Mobile Sensory Space (van or trailer)
- Temporary Sensory Space (outdoor marquee or temporary function space fit out)
Australian Football Facilities Fund
To assist with projects coming to life, the AFL has created the Australian Football Facilities Fund (“AFFF”). On average, our AFFF partners on $50M worth of community football facility projects benefitting more than 100 clubs each year.
The AFFF has the aim of ‘supporting the provision of well positioned, welcoming, accessible, fit for purpose football facilities that support our growing game’s strategic priorities’ - as outlined in more detail below.
- Maximise the carrying capacity of existing venues and the quality/functionality of their supporting infrastructure.
- Develop new and increased carrying capacity through construction of new ovals, especially in growing communities.
- Provide inclusive and accessible facilities that cater for the diversity of participants, particularly female participants, who wish to participate in our game.
- Develop venues to support the game’s complete talent pathway, umpiring, landmark heritage sites and people working and volunteering within the game.
- Enable planning and project partnerships to form with a range of government and non-government bodies to result in an improved quantity, quality and welcoming venue network for Australian Football.
This innovation in construction allows State Governments, Councils and Clubs to invest in best-practice facilities that meet key design, cost & quality requirements.
AFL supports modular construction for AFL community clubs
Across Australia, we are seeing a dramatic surge in grassroots sports participation. At the same time, many sports facilities don’t meet unisex design requirements and construction costs continue to escalate.
In 2007, Federation University Australia (formerly the University of Ballarat) developed criteria for the use of synthetic turf for Australian Football and cricket commissioned by the AFL, Cricket Australia, Sport & Recreation Victoria and JLT Trustees (the insurer to both the AFL and Cricket Australia). An expert panel regularly review the criteria to ensure that the products are safe and comparable with the playing characteristics of natural grass.
A Synthetic Turf Product Certification System has been developed in response to the need for a system to serve and protect AFL CA synthetic field manufacturers whilst giving vital support as part of the solution in meeting the substantial demand for additional playing fields to meet each sports participation needs into the future.
The purpose of this Certification System is to ensure compliance with AFL CA requirements to safeguard the health of players and officials and to guarantee the integrity of the performance of the synthetic field.
The AFL CA Synthetic Turf Product Certificate is not intended as a product endorsement beyond one of suitability and acceptability for community football and cricket competitions under AFL CA. The system is administered by the AFL CA Community Facilities Departments in co-operation with the AFL CA Synthetic Turf Technical Committee.
Certified products along with venues installed across Australia will be listed on our sport’s websites as will those installers that have been endorsed due to their relevant capabilities and experience.
- AFL CA Synthetic Flyer
- SRV Guide for Artificial Turf
- Current AFL CA Synthetic Fields in Australia
- Current Listing of AFL CA Registered Installers
- Current Listing of AFL CA Certified Products
Standard and Certification Information
- AFL CA Synthetic Field Standards
- AFL CA Synthetic Field Standard Summary of 2018 Updates
- AFL CA Synthetic Turf Certification
- Product Application Form AFLCAS1
- Installer Application Form AFLCAS3
Synthetic surfaces (1 min video)
Ken Gannon Community Facility Awards
The AFL Ken Gannon Community Football Facilities Awards annually recognise best practise in community football facility development across Australia, along with the people, clubs and other stakeholders driving our best projects.
In a decorated career across many areas of the code, Ken spent much of his last decade of his career developing the AFL’s interest and partnerships in the community facilities space, leading outcomes related to over 800 community football facility projects in that period.
These projects align very strongly to the AFL’s aim of providing well positioned, welcoming, fit for purpose football facilities that support our growing game’s strategic priorities.
Check out the case studies section for examples of winning projects over recent years.
Ken Gannon Community Facility Awards (pdf docs):
Express Your Innovative Ideas
Our growth shows we need access to one new field every week for the next five years to meet this demand. As we look Towards 2030, the AFL is seeking Expressions of Interest from forward thinking school leaders or Education Departments, or other landowners with innovative ideas, who want to help their communities deliver better sporting facilities and create more opportunities for communities to be healthy and active.
To register your idea and seek AFL support, submit an EOI here and our team will be in touch.