A $10,000 grant from the NSW Government’s Office of Sport will help establish the new Western Premier League soccer competition and in doing so breathe new life into the sport in the Central West.

Bathurst MP Paul Toole joined the Acting Minister for Sport Geoff Lee at Bathurst’s Proctor Park today to announce the funding.

Mr Toole said this is a win for Central West footballers.

“The funding will help cover league registration and insurance costs, team registration fees and administrative costs,” Mr Toole said.

The new Western Premier League (WPL) will commence in early 2020 with teams fielded from across the Central West including Lithgow, Bathurst, Orange, Dubbo and a representative team from Parkes, Forbes and Lachlan.

“The Western Premier League will provide a pathway for young footballers in the Central West to go on and reach the National Premier League and beyond,” Mr Toole said.

Mr Lee said it is difficult for footballers in western NSW to progress to professional teams due to travelling distances, costs, lack of player development and the leap in playing quality.

“The establishment of the Western Premier League will reduce barriers and provide more opportunities to excel in football from regional communities,” he said.

“The WPL will assist with overcrowding in local competitions and provide western NSW communities, struggling through drought conditions, an opportunity to come together and socialise in an active setting.”

The Office of Sport provides millions of dollars annually in government grants to nurture sporting talent, help build sports facilities and develop the industry across NSW. For more information visit www.sport.nsw.gov.au/clubs/grants.