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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.”

Liam Watson is the Managing Editor at Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

Sky Sports extends rights to NIFL

The Northern Ireland Football League has announced that Sky Sports will be the exclusive broadcaster of Football in the region once again.

The Northern Ireland Football League has announced that Sky Sports will once again be the exclusive broadcaster of top-flight football in the region for the next three years.

The Irish League has had a long-lasting partnership with Sky over the years and the agreement will see the relationship in place until the end of the 2024/25 season.

The new agreement will see four Danske Bank Premiership fixtures and the BetMcLean League Cup final broadcast live across the UK & Ireland each season.

Northern Ireland Football Chief Executive, Gerard Lawlor:

“We sincerely thank Sky Sports for their continued backing of our game and we look forward to showcasing some of the best NI Football League matches together over the next three seasons,” he said.

“To continue to have the invaluable support of such a high-profile broadcaster shows how far our league has progressed in recent years as we bring our game to an increasing audience of loyal fans.

“The NI Football League brand is continuing to grow outside of the confines of Northern Ireland, and through Sky Sports, many football fans are now becoming more familiar with the rich history of our clubs and as well as some of the household names that have played in the Irish League.”

Sky Sports Director of Football, Gary Hughes:

“As a long-term partner to the Northern Ireland Football League, we’re delighted to extend Sky Sports’ support of the league and ensure that its entertaining action continues to be available to our customers,” he said.

“Sky Sports customers will be able to enjoy the Northern Ireland Football league alongside our ever-expanding football offering in the UK & Ireland which includes over 500 live games in 2022, from the Premier League, EFL, Scottish Premiership and FA Women’s Super League as well as international action in the form of World Cup Qualifiers, and this month’s Africa Cup of Nations – placing Sky Sports as the home of live football.”

Valencia CF presents revised stadium upgrade plans

Valencia CF President Anil Murthy has stated the club will not deliver a “low-cost stadium” after holding talks with Mayor Joan Ribó over reviving the long-running Nuevo Mestella project.

Valencia CF President Anil Murthy has stated the club will not deliver a “low-cost stadium” after holding talks with Mayor Joan Ribó over reviving the long-running Nuevo Mestella project.

Valencia’s stadium, the Nuevo Mestalla, was originally under construction in 2009. However, over the last 12 years, due to financial issues and negotiation breakdowns, construction has never been completed and the situation has become known as one of the world’s most notorious stadium projects.

Murthy presented revised plans to a Council delegation led by Ribó, with the club seeking to recommence work on the stadium in order to ensure it retains the advantages granted to it under an ATE construction license given in 2012.

The plans presented to the council include a stadium capacity between 43,000 to 46,000, expandable to 60,000. The stadium would have a second ring dedicated almost exclusively to leisure and restaurant offerings, while the roof will be fitted with solar panels in an effort to drive sustainability.

Valencia Mayor, Joan Ribo:

“Initially it is proposed for a capacity comparable to that which the (Mestalla) stadium currently has (48,500), but expandable to 62,000 spectators. But I think this is not the fundamental element,” he said.

“The fundamental element is the novelty of this second ring that has seemed to me to be a remarkable element that is not in many football stadia. They propose a roof that is made of photovoltaic panels, which is an example at that level that I want to value.

“They have assured us that they have guarantees with the bank where they have the debt, which is now Caixabank.

“They have presented us with a calendar where in June 2022 the works of the sports centre would begin, in October 2022 the start of the works of the stadium and in August 2024 the inauguration of the new Mestalla. The calendar seems realistic and possible, but if it is not met, they will listen to us.”

In December, Valencia revealed plans to use funds from LaLiga’s strategic venture, with global investment fund CVC Capital Partners to help finance the construction of its new stadium. Valencia is reportedly set to receive approximately $189 million AUD from LaLiga as part of the LaLiga Impulso venture. $125 million of which is set to head to the stadium project.

Valencia CF President, Anil Murthy:

“The meeting has been very positive. After the two meetings with the Generalitat, today we have taken an important step by formally presenting the project we have to the important institution, which is the City Council,” he said.

“We have agreed on recommencing work as soon as possible, after presenting the project to the Generalitat and the City Council.

“Nobody talks about a low-cost stadium. It’s going to be a stadium that’s going to give a lot of people a lot of hope and it’s going to mean a lot of investment in the city. It’s going to be something different and something attractive.”

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