Capital Football withholds ground payments to Hutt City Council

Capital Football has announced today it will withhold payments on Hutt City Council ground fee invoices until the Council agrees to participate in a region-wide independent review of sport facility charges across Wellington.

Capital Football CEO Richard Reid says it will not participate in the Hutt City Council’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.

“Mayor Campbell Barry and 8 other councillors promised to do an independent review during the election, and we intend to hold them to that promise.

“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 8 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 withold payment of the fees until HCC signs up to the independent review.

Capital Football and its affiliated clubs across the five council districts pay approximately $750k in ground fees, artificial turf & indoor venue hire, including competition and training costs.

“An analysis done last year estimated that each year sports, including colleges, pay $2.1m to the five councils”, said Reid.

“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”.

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 reccomendations 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.

Reid said football games and competitions in the Hutt would be scheduled as normal this weekend, including those on Council-owned grounds.

Contact: Richard Reid, CEO, Capital Football.  021 944 201

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