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WA football kicking goals with biggest sponsorship deal - Albany Advertiser

Saturday, 7 April 2018

A chance encounter at a charity function has won Football West its biggest corporate sponsorship, with global miner Gold Fields signing a three-year deal to support State soccer.

At an estimated $100,000 a year, the sponsorship is modest in comparison to some others signed in Australian sport.

However, it is a landmark deal for local football, which has struggled to compete for corporate backing.

The funds will support WA’s 21 State football teams and see Gold Fields Australia partner with Football West in its regional programs.

The sports governing body in WA had been looking for a major sponsor when one chairman, Liam Twigger, ran into Gold Fields’ local boss, Stuart Mathews, at a charity function in February, just as the miner was thinking about how to promote itself in WA.

Mr Mathews, Gold Fields’ executive vice-president, Australasia, said the miner was immediately attracted to Football West by a shared purpose and the latter’s commitment to regional WA.

Gold Fields, which has been in WA for 17 years, operates four mines in the Yilgarn — St Ives, Agnew, Darlot and Granny Smith —and is developing the $532 million Gruyere project in partnership with Gold Road Resources.

Mr Mathews said it was “uncanny” how well the Football West alignment “matched our values and vision”.

“We liked the striving for excellence ... and working with respect, integrity and innovation,” as well as the commitment to regional development, he said.

Gold Fields also sees the opportunity to use the partnership to promote mining as a career to children playing football.

“We want to be able to have a vehicle where we can talk about mining as a career, because a lot of people don’t understand how diverse the industry is nowadays,” he said.

“It’s not just about mining engineers and geologists, there’s a whole raft of opportunities in mining.”

Over the past 18 months, the Football West board has taken on a more professional face as it seeks to better compete with other sporting codes.

Chief executive James Curtis said the partnership coincided with a period of “renewal” for football in WA and the launch of a new strategic plan.

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