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Study proves football returns value to society

A landmark study has proved what most Victorians have known for years — footy is good for the mind, body and economy.

A 12-month La Trobe University research project found that for every dollar spent on a community football club, at least $4.40 was returned in social value to society.

The study — the first in the world to attempt to measure the social impact of a community sports club — found footy clubs increased social connectedness, wellbeing, mental health status, employment and personal development.

Football clubs provided people, particularly those aged 15-24, with significantly increased chances of getting a job.

And the study, to be released today, found the mental health of people aged 18-24 associated with a football club was much higher than the general population.

“Anyone who has been involved with a community football club will know that they are much more than just a sporting group” – Gillon McLachlan

AFL chief Gillon McLachlan said the research provided proof to long-held beliefs about the social and economic value of community clubs.

“Anyone who has been involved with a community football club will know that they are much more than just a sporting group,” Mr McLachlan said.

There are more than 1100 clubs in Victoria and over 2600 nationally, and he said the benefits were delivered to people and communities across Victoria and Australia.

“We have these fantastic community hubs providing people of all ages and from all walks of life an opportunity each weekend to be part of a tight-knit community, bonded by passion, common purpose and a love of our great game,’’ he said.

The study was conducted in partnership with AFL Victoria and the AFL.

Research leader Russell Hoye said nine clubs, 110 interviews and 1677 survey responses were analysed.

“There has been no other study worldwide we have found that tries to value the benefits of community based clubs,’’ he said.

“It confirms what a lot of people have been saying for a long time — sport is good for the community and this is the proof.’’

Prof Hoye said police, local government chiefs, industry and community leaders had been quizzed as part of the research.

“This is not just football people talking about how good football is, it’s the whole view of what community football clubs do for the community,’’ he said.

This article was originally published on and can be accessed here.