Korikori Park in Hamilton is one of the city sites that will benefit from the $1.15 million in new government funding.
Hamilton will receive $1.15 million from the government to upgrade football facilities as part of new funding for FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 training and match venues in Aotearoa.
The city council said in a statement that the $1.15 million will go toward upgrades at Waikato Stadium, Porritt Park, Gower Park and Korikori Park.
About $600,000 will go toward infrastructure upgrades for training venues and $550,000 toward facility upgrades, creating “gender-neutral locker rooms where every athlete can feel comfortable using them.”
Upgrades include individual showers, privacy screens, in-cabin toilets, baby changing tables, accessible bathrooms and gender-neutral changing rooms for both players and officials.
The funding for Hamilton is part of a $19 million national package announced by the government on Friday.
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“These are essential upgrades to ensure the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup can be hosted in Aotearoa, New Zealand, including the play-off tournament to be held in Hamilton Kirikiriroa and Auckland Tāmaki Makaurau in February,” the council said.
Acting community general manager Rebecca Whitehead said the $1.15 million would be “a game changer for supporting our communities and groups who use these locations every day”.
“Having these facilities available to our regular users will encourage more people to participate in community sports. Not only that, but this coupled with the venue infrastructure upgrades puts Hamilton Kirikiriroa in a stronger position as we bid to host international events in the future.”
Waikato Bay of Plenty Football CEO Karyn Walters said the funding would also have a huge impact on encouraging women to play football in Waikato.
“Traditionally, the locker rooms at our sports venues are geared towards men, but it is important that all athletes feel comfortable in the locker rooms, regardless of their gender. These locker room upgrades will help remove those barriers.”
The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 will take place next year from July 20 to August 20.