11-year-old challenges politicians to save soccer academy
AN 11-year-old footballer has launched a campaign to save the Liverpool Academy in Lismore from closure.
Oliver Hoath-Bastion presented a petition to the Shadow Minister Sport and Recreation Lynda Voltz and Lismore MP Janelle Saffin with more than 2400 signatures from fellow football players and parents to keep the Liverpool International Football Academy open.
>>> Latest Northern Rivers Business news
A passionate player for both Lismore Thistles and trainee at the Liverpool International Football Academy, Oliver said he wanted the government to help.
"Best case scenario would be that the government funds something," he said.
"We want it to continue, so the kids can keep playing football."
Ms Voltz said they needed to talk to the Southern Cross University vice chancellor as to why the business model for the Liverpool International Football Academy was not working.
"We should be looking at a model that works. It's an important facility, a big investment … you don't want to see things that you've invested in just sitting there idle, you want to make them work," she said.
>>> Latest Northern Rivers Council news
Ms Saffin added that she will be making representations to the vice chancellor on behalf of Oliver, his mum and the many parents, athletes and others who have contacted her to keep the facility running.
"We can't allow this to sit here as a white elephant. It's a fabulous academy with up to 1500 kids using it. We can't just have it cut off overnight," she said.
Ms Saffin and Ms Voltz said they will be sending a letter to the NSW Minister Sport and Recreation Geoff Lee for $20,000 to help do a basic business case that considers how the academy or the training it does, might continue.
"We've got to find a way to go forward and we'll - Ms Voltz and myself ‒ be talking to the minister to see if we can get a bit of help there and I'll be speaking locally with the vice chancellor."
Oliver's petition will accompany the formal letter.
Ms Saffin added that she would also write to the Page MP Kevin Hogan who has also expressed his interest in the facility staying.
Ms Saffin said she would take Oliver's petition to the NSW parliament for discussion.
>>> Latest Northern Rivers Sport news