Former Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke.
Former Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke.

Clarke, Spartan Sports going into bat for grassroots

SPARTAN Sports, in partnership with the Australian Sports Foundation, is giving away $1 million worth of product and equipment to help combat Australia's declining participation rates in sport and physical recreation.

It is the biggest donation in Australian history by a sporting manufacturer as part of a ground-breaking partnership with the Australian Sports Foundation.

Communities, sports clubs and schools all over the country are set to benefit from the equipment bonanza, as part of the Sports Foundation's Giving4Grassroots program.

Former Australian cricket captain and Spartan Sports ambassador Michael Clarke announced the program in Sydney this morning and said it would help increase social and organised sports participation and encourage children and adults to become more active.

"The ball is central to the playing of just about every sport, particularly team sports. It takes one ball to start a game and a strong partnership like this is a great way to create real change and have real impact in our communities,” Clarke said.

"Australia is an amazing country with great facilities and perfect weather. Our children and youth should be outdoors swinging a cricket bat, catching a netball or kicking a football or shooting hoops.

"The opportunities for healthy sports activity are endless but, sadly, we are losing our way. That is why Spartan is taking action, together with the Sports Foundation, to fix this problem and promote more lively participation and healthier lifestyles. Let's get our local communities active again.”

This initiative from Spartan Sports and the Sports Foundation comes just days after the release of the Australian Sports Commission's AusPlay report which revealed just two per cent of children are active every day outside of school hours.

The AusPlay report follows the Australian Bureau of Statistics survey into Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation for 2013-14 which showed a significant decline in activity compared to the two years prior.

"Enough is enough. These are alarming statistics and it only appears to be getting worse. That is why Spartan is doing something about it. We want to take excuses out of the equation,” Spartan Sports Managing Director Kunal Sharma said.

"We need sporting clubs and schools across Australia to share in our concern and our passion for this and help us fix the problem,” Mr Sharma said.

"Spartan and the Sports Foundation are taking the first step. We are providing the biggest donation of sporting goods in Australian history. We are calling on sporting clubs to identify the need in their local community and go to or to register their details.”

Under this unique partnership, Spartan Sports will provide grants of balls for rugby league, rugby union and football, plus netballs, basketballs and cricket balls to sports groups and school teams all over Australia.

Australian Sports Foundation Chief Executive, Patrick Walker said the donated balls will be distributed to clubs and schools via its Giving4Grassroots program.

"Our Giving4Grassroots program was created to help bridge the gap for Aussie sports clubs and get more people playing sport and connecting sport with positive health and social outcomes. The program is funded by generous donors. This partnership with Spartan Sports will really boost the impact and reach of this program,” Mr Walker said.

"The recent research that reveals Australian kids are among the least active in the world is quite alarming. At the end of the day, we can't just sit back and wait for someone else to do something, we have a role to play in affecting positive change through participation in sport and that's what this partnership is about,” he added.

The Sports Foundation raised a record $32 million for sport in 2015-16 - up by $8 million on the previous year. The Sports Foundation is the only body than can offer a tax deduction for gifts of money, equipment or good for sports projects.

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