Investment confirmed for Home of The Matildas in Victoria

Football Australia and Football Victoria have welcomed the Victorian Government's investment in a world-class Home of The Matildas.

Football Australia and Football Victoria have welcomed the Victorian Government’s announcement to invest in a world-class Home of The Matildas at La Trobe University in Bundoora.

After the 2020 commitment of $15 million from the Federal Government, this latest announcement will pave the way towards constructing the Home of The Matildas and Home to Football Victoria – situated in a purpose built, state-of-the-art State Football Centre, alongside a State Rugby Union Centre at La Trobe University’s Bundoora campus.

The most significant investment into a community football project in Victoria was made by Acting Premier, the Hon. James Merlino and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, the Hon. Martin Pakula, at the future site of the facility.

The precinct is expected to be ready for the Westfield Matildas before the start of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023.

The facility will be available year-round to provide access to elite training and match facilities for Victorians, suitable for both junior and senior players with five natural, hybrid and synthetic pitches and a purpose-built futsal court.

The announcement that is three years in the making was met with excitement by key members of Football Australia, Football Victoria and the Matildas.

Football Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson:

“This substantial commitment from the Victorian Government, combined with the Federal Government’s earlier $15 million contribution to the project, will have a significant impact on the development of women’s football, and football overall, in Victoria and Australia for decades to come. This commitment is also a good launching pad for the Facilities and Infrastructure pillar of our ambitious Legacy ‘23 plan which was recently launched.”

“The high-performance environment that will spring to life on the La Trobe University grounds in Bundoora will feature world-class facilities and amenities that will ensure Victoria can regularly play host to the Matildas, as well as other youth and senior national teams and touring international nations and clubs.

“Crucially, The Home of The Matildas at La Trobe University will not only be a space that caters for the elite levels of the game, but the community and grassroots, too. The site will become home to Football Victoria’s Administration, ensuring consistent, year-round use by the football community through football, futsal, all-abilities, multicultural, and social programs.”

Football Australia Chairman, Chris Nikou:

“Football Australia extends its thanks to everyone that has contributed to this important project – particularly the Daniel Andrews’ Government, the Federal Government, Football Victoria, and La Trobe University. Through true collaboration and partnership, football will soon have a home to be proud of in Victoria – one that is fit for our inspiring national teams, and that our large and diverse participation base deserve.”

Westfield Matildas captain, Sam Kerr:

“This is wonderful news for the Westfield Matildas and the prospect of having a state-of-the-art facility specifically designed for our use is very exciting.”

“The team loves playing in Melbourne and we really look forward to having a dedicated base where we
can train and prepare for matches when we are in Victoria.”

FV President, Antonella Care:

“This is a milestone day for our Victorian football community. The Matildas have captured the imagination
of our nation, establishing themselves as one of Australia’s most loved teams.”

“The team are the ultimate ambassadors for our beautiful game, providing inspiration for football fans of
all ages to step off the sidelines and get in the game.

“FV and Football Australia’s target of 50/50 male/female participation by 2027 is ambitious, but this
announcement provides us with the ultimate launchpad to make that ambition a reality for Victoria.”

Football Victoria CEO, Kimon Taliadoros:

“We’re excited to provide vital infrastructure that will not only support the Matildas, but also support our entire football community, of all ages and all abilities, to follow their football dreams.

“Whether you prefer to play socially with friends, or are on a high-performance pathway, this facility will deliver the platform for all Victorians to live and love football.”

“We thank the Daniel Andrews Government, the Acting Premier of Victoria, The Hon James Merlino, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, The Hon. Martin Pakula, Minister for Women, The Hon Gabrielle Williams and Minister for Community Sport, The Hon. Ros Spence, La Trobe University Chancellor and former Premier of Victoria, John Brumby, and Vice Chancellor, John Dewar, for their ongoing commitment to this vital project. This shared vision will build an enduring legacy for football in our state.”

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Liam Watson is the Co-Founder & Publisher of Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

Football Victoria choose INTIX as exclusive ticketing provider

Football Victoria have confirmed a new and exciting partnership with ticketing and membership company INTIX, which will commence in 2024 in time for next season.

INTIX will become the exclusive ticketing provider for all FV-managed events and will be the preferred provider for events at The Home of the Matildas.

This collaboration will also make FV’s event management more efficient and improve communication with fans and sponsors through their CRM systems.

INTIX is an Australian owned and operated company that specialise in event operations, ticketing and marketing specifically for sporting events.

The company was established in 2017 by Alex Grant with an ambitious goal to provide the best ticketing platform available to event organisers, clubs and venues.

INTIX partnered with Melbourne Victory to provide digital ticketing for all its corporate hospitality functions, and they have worked many high-scale football events.

The company also has experience in the NBL with the Tasmanian JackJumpers and in 2021 worked with AFL Victoria to supply ticketing services to metropolitan leagues and clubs.

This partnership for FV scratches the surface for what is the possibility in the future for NPL and A-League matches that have completely different systems. The expensive processing fees of Ticketek and Ticketmaster have left many fans frustrated at the process of purchasing their ticket and success with this collaboration could see INTIX expand inside the sport of football.

FV Executive Manager of Commercial, Chris Speldewinde, spoke about the improvements to matchday operations that will be made through this collaboration.

“We are thrilled to join forces with INTIX. Their state-of-the-art ticketing and CRM solutions will not only optimise our operations but also elevate our engagement with fans and sponsors. This collaboration signifies an exciting new chapter for Football Victoria,” he said in a statement.

INTIX’s advanced ticketing system will simplify the purchasing of tickets to these events and be readily available to fans online, reducing wait times to provide seamless access into events.

As the Home of the Matildas begins to stage bigger events, this partnership importantly professionalises the experience of getting to the seat and helps FV manage big crowds a lot easier.

It’s a collaboration that allows FV to focus more on strategic growth initiatives and delivering a better experience for fans and stakeholders.

Uncertainty looms around National Second Tier’s future

The highly anticipated National Second Tier (NST) in its proposed format is set to be postponed by Football Australia, with the body looking to find alternative ways to include these NPL clubs into a similar structure that would be more financially viable.

Vince Rugari of the Sydney Morning Herald broke the news on Tuesday claiming the highly ambitious second tier was likely going to be put on hold after the original plan was to have 10 to 14 foundation clubs forming a separate league, without promotion or relegation to start.

There was a very high financial threshold that the eight foundation clubs needed to reach in order to be granted a licence and unfortunately with rumours of some in the eight sceptical of its viability, other NPL clubs with a proposal in the original plan have backed away from the idea for the time being.

For what is meant to be a ‘national competition’, having clubs from NSW and Victoria only is quite restricted but the search for a financially strong club outside of the two states, willing to take that massive financial risk, is a task that is too difficult in the country’s current state of football affairs.

There has been a lack of a clear message from Football Australia across the past 12 months. The eight foundation clubs were left on standby about important information like the correct format, whether it was going to expand to 10 or 12 teams that Football Australia promised multiple times, or when the league would actually kick off in winter of 2025 or beyond that considering the shaky A-League finances being the main subject of discussion surrounding the initial success of the NSD.

After the A-Leagues controversial call to reduce initial funding of top tier clubs to $530k a year from its usual $2m a year, a properly run second division seems like a task too far down its priority list despite the positive feedback it has received from fans and clubs about implementing a ‘transformative’ system mirroring European football.

An idea being floated around as a possible solution to the unviability of a separate league is to add existing A-League teams to the ‘Champions League-style’ second division, which would essentially be a more exclusive version of the existing Australia Cup.

Football Australia CEO James Johnson told The Asian Game exclusively that “we will have a (national) second tier it will exist,” but the home and away format played during the winter is a long shot and the foundation clubs are left in limbo wondering what their immediate futures are considering the heavy financial investment they will have to make if it goes ahead.

This whole saga has been a case of Football Australia pushing away the problems that quickly arose from this ambitious idea and being too reactive when it comes to finding a solution that would be fair for the foundation clubs financially.

The NSD must wait and not force itself into a fragile Australian football landscape that has many more issues it must worry about in the top flight before building a second division that could financially damage some of the most historic clubs in Victoria and NSW.

In a world where Australian football needs authority and structure, the collapse of the original idea of the NSD proves there is a long way to go and communication towards the clubs and fans involved has to improve.

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