Closing immediately: SCU shuts down football centre
UPDATE, 1pm: SCU Football Centre manager Scott Collis said the centre's closure was devastating news for the four full-time and 23 casual caching staff involved in the program.
"They still have a really wonderful facility out there and local football may have a role there in the future," he said.
"The COVID-19 has had a terrible impact on the country and the tertiary industry has been hit really hard and SCU along with other universities has to make some really tough decisions.
"This is a huge loss for the 250 families involved in the program which was considered the number one globally," he said.
Collis said the centre did an incredible job through its five year journey: "The legacy created out this will resonate for years to come".
"I need to acknowledge the legacy from this, we have trained hundred of kids and coaches and this knowledge is not lost to the region," he said.
"This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I'm very grateful for the support of SCU in putting this together."
Original story: IT'S the end of a sporting era with the Southern Cross University Football Centre, which hosts programs including the Liverpool FC International Academy, set to close.
The centre had been dormant since the COVID-19 restrictions forced its suspension in March and training had only resumed in recent weeks.
Southern Cross Vice President (Operations) Allan Morris said the university made the hard decision to close down the centre with great sadness.
"We know how fond of the centre and the Liverpool FC program many football fans are and we have seen some 1500 young Northern Rivers players and another 150 coaches enjoy its programs over the last five years," he said.
"But a review of university operations has highlighted that in the current climate it is unsustainable for us to continue to underwrite its activities.
"The centre will close immediately, with the loss of four staff.
"So many of us across the region are feeling the effects of this downturn and Southern Cross is not immune.
"We, too, have to make changes."
Mr Morris said the university would consider future uses for the football centre in the coming months.
Junior teams and competitions scheduled for the centre in 2020 are also cancelled.
He also thanked the centre staff for their dedication in building up the reputation and scope of the Liverpool FC International Academy.
"We had just expanded the scope of the Academy at the end of 2019 to include the Liverpool Football Excellence program but COVID-19 put an end to that. It is very regrettable," Mr Morris said.
"Dealing with Liverpool Football Club over the last five years has been a tremendous experience and we have been honoured to be their Australian partner."