A simple idea has created a future for football in New Zealand

Sir Eion Edgar. Photo: Hannah Johnston/Photosport

Back in 2010 after the All Whites secured their place at the World Cup in South Africa, Sir Eion Edgar laid out his idea for setting aside some of the funds received from the tournament in a separate entity. New Zealand Football took that idea back to their board who decided to ensure the sports future with Edgar at the helm.

“After they had decided they would like to create the New Zealand Football Foundation, New Zealand Football’s board said to me, you came up with the idea, will you be part it?” said Edgar.

“Obviously, I was honoured to be trusted with such a task”

Edgar’s connection with football started when his boys played the sport in primary school and in the nineties, Edgar was invited to become president of New Zealand Football. Since then he has kept up his interest in the sport and it is now a game he enjoys and follows.

Having been involved in both the U17 and U20 World Cup’s, Edgar had three goals in mind for those tournaments,

“One, they were great promotion for the southern regions of New Zealand to the world. Two, tournaments like those are wonderful ways to encourage young people, players, supporters and those who ran the tournaments, and three, we had future stars of the world participating in our own back yards which I thought economically it would be good for both the South and the country” said Edgar.

Now the Honorary Patron of the New Zealand Football Foundation, Sir Eion is proud to see the funds from both the 2010 World Cup campaign and donations received being re-invested into local communities around New Zealand.

“It’s great to have confidence that the initiative is helping younger players in the community have access to the sport and supporting them to reach their potential” said Edgar.

Edgar is also one of the New Zealand Football Foundation’s largest donors having made a half a million-dollar donation back in 2016 at the 125 year celebration of New Zealand Football.

“We decided, I have been involved with football for a while, and I’d like to put something back. I committed half a million, and then I talked Mark Stewart into doing the same, so that gave an additional million dollars to the Foundation to lift the capital base at the time” said Edgar.

“If you add a good capital sum and build on it, it gives you a start and allows the organisation a chance to do things that you wouldn’t normally do if there wasn’t the money.”

“You’ve got to just do the basics with it. This gives you a chance to put money into other ideas, and the New Zealand Football Foundation’s success clearly demonstrates that.”

With a big interest in the Southern region of New Zealand, Edgar and the Foundation have used a proportion of his investment into the new Logan Park facility in Otago. A facility that Edgar believes will help the future stars of our game.

“It’s so important to have those kinds of facilities if you’re going to attract young people to a sport. And then spectators will be able to view it at a good playing facility. I am sure it will continue to have a positive effect on the local community and football in the region for years to come.

Edgar also has some words of encouragement for those thinking about investing in the sport and the New Zealand Football Foundation

“If you’ve got an interest in the sport, this is the best way you can help the sport, because a capital sum allows long-term planning and the ability to not just do one-offs, but give a proper programme” said Edgar.

“And the other thing is, the New Zealand Football Foundation is fortunate to have a good group of trustees. And collectively, they think about whether a programme or activity it’s the best for the sports future”

Edgar is the New Zealand Football Foundation’s Honorary Patron, a title he is modest about but one he is deserving of.

“I feel very humbled to be the Honorary Patron, because there’s an awful lot of people who’ve done a lot more, but I suppose the recognition that the initiative I proposed has come off and I’m very proud of that” said Edgar.

If you would like to find out more information on the New Zealand Football Foundation and the different types of donations that can be made to support the game please visit footballfoundation.org.nz