Campbelltown Council commits $2.5 million in support of new A-League club community venture

Macarthur FC Bulls director Gino Marra (left) and Campbelltown mayor George Brticevic. Picture: AAP/Dan Himbrechts
Macarthur FC Bulls director Gino Marra (left) and Campbelltown mayor George Brticevic. Picture: AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Campbelltown Council will give Macarthur's new A-League club $2.5 million over five years to support community programs.

The council this week decided to become the Local Government Community Sponsor of the newly-named Macarthur FC Bulls for a five-year term. Campbelltown was the only council offered this opportunity.

The partnership requires the council to pay the club's as-yet-unnamed not-for-profit community branch - separate from the football operations of the club - $450,000 in the 2019-2020 financial year, with that figure going up by $25,000 in each of the four following years.

The money will be drawn from the council's existing City Hosting Fund - designed to attracts acts and events to Campbelltown - in the first year. The fund will have $600,000 in reserves as at June 30.

The decision to make such a large financial commitment to an organisation in its infancy was not supported by all councillors on Tuesday, with councillor Paul Lake raising several serious questions about the partnership.

"We don't know what the company is called yet, who the money is being paid to, who is on the board of the not-for-profit entity, we don't know what's in their constitution," Cr Lake said at the meeting.

"I'm not happy to sign off an an organisation that I don't know anything about."

Cr Lake moved to defer the decision until the next council meeting, when more of his concerns could be addressed.

However, his deferral motion was not supported and the chamber voted to accept the partnership deal as per the council staff recommendation.

The council report stated the community partnership with the Macarthur FC Bulls was in line with Campbelltown's commitment to promoting active lifestyles.

"Participation as a community partner of the club contributes to the council's strategic direction in the Community Strategic Plan to encourage community participation in sport and recreation," the report read.

"It also aligns well with the council's commitment to the Change4Campbelltown childhood obesity partnership project with the South Western Sydney Local Health District and would establish a strong and innovative partnership between the council and the club in the deliver of health and wellbeing programs across the city.

"The specific programs focussing on children with disability and Indigenous children would complement and enhance the council's commitments in the Disability Inclusion Action Plan and Reconciliation Action Plan."

Mayor George Brticevic said this was the only partnership of its kind the council would be entering into and he was proud to support the region's "only full-time, professional, national sporting team".

"I'm excited to be in partnership with the community organisation," he said.

The partnership will help the A-League team connect with local schools, the football community and community groups. The council brand would also be connected with soon-to-be-established Macarthur FC Bulls academy.