Member for Page Janelle Saffin is joining forces with SBS sports commentator and former Socceroo Craig Foster to push an initiative, ‘Football – The North Coast’s window to the world’.

Ms Saffin said Foster came to her with his vision for making Lismore the leading regional football education and development centre in Australia and the Asia-Pacific.

“Craig is a former Lismore boy who knows what this region has to offer, and he knows that non-metropolitan centres can be great incubators of sporting talent,” she said.

“His detailed proposal includes tertiary courses in football administration and coaching at Southern Cross University, regional training camps and tournaments, elite matches, coaching and education seminars and in the longer term a dedicated residential football facility.

“Although the proposal is in its very early stages, the idea is taking off and has already attracted support from Football Far North Coast, Southern Cross University, political representatives and a broad range of stakeholders. 

“Craig asked me to lead the North Coast support delegation, and I am convening a meeting this Friday to set up the steering committee to push the project along.

“I have already had discussions with Sports Minister Kate Ellis, and she shares my enthusiasm for the project.

“As the soccer sign-on weekends begin locally, this is very exciting news for local football and all the thousands of boys and girls and men and women who play the game here.

“Imagine if our young talented players had the opportunity to be trained to international standard without having to move to the city?”