Western United training facility development approved

Western United training facility

Construction is set to begin at Wyndham’s future home of Western United Football Club, as confirmed by Wyndham City Council.

They approved the Development Plan for the Regional Football Facility, which will also be a state-of-the-art training precinct. It includes the construction of three soccer pitches and grandstand with a total seating capacity of 5,000 spectators.

It’s the first stage of Wyndham City’s landmark A-League Stadium Project with Western Melbourne Group. The land is owned by Wyndham City and forms part of a public-private partnership agreement with Western Melbourne Group, owners of A-League team Western United.

The land, located at 1160 Sayers Road, Tarneit, will be the spot for a purpose-built 15,000 seat soccer stadium and mixed-use precinct, including sports training facilities, residential, commercial and community facilities.

Wyndham City Mayor and Active City portfolio holder Cr Peter Maynard:

“This is an important step forward in the process of constructing a unique, state-of-the-art sports facility in Wyndham,” he said.

“We can now get on with the job of building the training facilities that will be adjacent to the main stadium.”

“Large projects such as this are significant for a city like Wyndham. As we continue our Covid recovery, we’re working hard to ensure our local economy bounces back and this project will provide jobs and create a fantastic new community asset.”

According to an economic impact assessment, the Wyndham Stadium development will provide 835 jobs during the construction phase and 125 ongoing permanent roles once it is fully operational.

“We also anticipate that when complete, the Wyndham Stadium development will attract about five million visitors to the Stadium over 20 years, generating non-stadium visitor spending and supporting local business, including those in Riverdale Town Centre,” Cr Maynard said.

In February 2021, the Minister for Planning approved Amendment C254 to the Wyndham Planning Scheme, identifying the Wyndham Stadium Precinct as a project of state significance. The Amendment applied a Special Controls Overlay to the land with an Incorporated Document providing a framework guiding the future use and development of the land.

In January 2022, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) approved the concept Master Plan for the Wyndham Stadium Precinct.

The Regional Football Facility Development Plan approval is the first stage of that development.

The Regional Football Facility will comprise a two-storey building located centrally between the training pitch and stadium pitch.

The pavilion will comprise of a range of training and gym facilities, function and media spaces and will include change rooms, staff facilities, kiosks, public toilets and first aid room.

Both the main and training turf pitches will be occupied by Western United Football Club throughout the year, with a short off-season period between around May and July.

It is anticipated that up to 12 Women’s A-League games may be played during the season between October and March, with average attendance of around 1,200-1,500 spectators, peaking at 3,000-5,000 for derbies and finals.

The third pitch proposed for the site is to be a synthetic turf field located in the southern end of the site. This high-use pitch will support academy and community engagement undertaken by Western United FC.

“It is anticipated that the synthetic pitch will be used predominantly on weekends for matches and during weekday afternoons and evenings for training and clinics. It may also be used intermittently during weekdays for school matches or tournaments,” Cr Maynard said.

The main (stadium) and training turf pitches will be used throughout the week for training.

The proposed development will be completed by May 2023.

Staff Writer
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City Football Group add İstanbul Başakşehir to club portfolio

City Football Group (CFG) announced a “football collaboration agreement” with Turkish Süper Lig side İstanbul Başakşehir to expand on their current portfolio of worldwide football clubs.

CFG is the owner of Premier League giants Manchester City and the group also own majority shareholder status in a further seven clubs around the world including A-League side Melbourne City.

Under this agreement, CFG will provide Başakşehir with guidance on transfers, academy development and data-driven insights. The group will also offer support with player screening and football strategy.

This strategy used by CFG has been rather successful for all the clubs under the consortium and Melbourne City in particular have used this connection to make some big transfers in and outgoings. David Villa was the first significant loan move from CFG club New York City FC which started a practice of players and coaches rotating between the group’s clubs.

It has seen players like Daniel Arzani and Aaron Mooy move to Manchester City temporarily to be loaned out to other European clubs. Recently, Patrick Kisnorbo earned a move to fellow CFG club ESTAC Troyes to become the first ever Australian manager in a top five European league.

Göksel Gümüşdağ, Majority Owner and Club President of Başakşehir, explained that this move is immense for the club.

“İstanbul Başakşehir FK has achieved many firsts in Turkish football despite its young age and today, with this collaboration with the leading football group in the world, it marks another milestone for İstanbul Başakşehir and Turkish football,” he said in a club statement.

“From the very beginning, we have reiterated at every opportunity that our vision and goals are different and today underlines this expression again. We are very happy, proud and excited. I would like to thank all the people in City Football Group for their approach and support in the process. I hope it will be beneficial for Başakşehir FK and Turkish football.”

City Football Group released their own statement regarding the new addition to their family and the future plans for the club.

“This collaboration will help CFG grow knowledge and develop relationships in Turkey, an ambitious football nation and developer of talent. This will also provide CFG with an opportunity to collaborate across emerging football areas with a club that has a shared vision.” a CFG statement read.

City Football Group, INEOS and Red Bull in particular have figured out a way to potentially ‘game the system’ to their advantage before FIFA or UEFA had ever thought of cracking down on this potentially threatening move for football.

İstanbul Başakşehir is just another club adding to the growing list of clubs involved in a multi-club structure which is said to be over 180 clubs across the world in total. Modern football is transforming like never before.

DFL and EA Sports continue to delight Bundesliga fans

The German Football League (DFL) renewed its partnership with sports game manufacturer EA Sports, in a deal labelled by officials to be of ‘high strategic importance’.

It guarantees that clubs from Germany’s top two tiers will feature in EA Sports’ football video-game, EA Sports FC, until 2027.

In addition, EA Sports will continue to sponsor the ‘Player of the Month’ and ‘Player of the Season’ awards for the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2.

A relationship that stems back to 1998, the DFL and EA Sports share an important history built on innovation within the gaming world.

In 2012, the DFL pioneered the world’s first eFootball competition, Virtual Bundesliga (VBL), helped greatly by its relationship with EA Sports. The VBL remains a strong part of the DFL’s vision, resulting in the professionalisation of the competition.

An arm of video-game publishing organisation Electronic Arts, EA Sports is in the midst of a new era in football gaming, after failing to agree a deal with its long-time naming rights partner, FIFA.

However, the game’s universal popularity since its inception in 1993 gives it one of the highest return customer rates in video gaming history.

EA Sports’ first iteration of the game since removing the FIFA branding – EA Sports FC 24 – is the highest-selling video game in the UK and Europe, and ranks 10th in the United States (from Statista).

This global demand is exactly what the DFL is eager to capitalise on, according to Bundesliga International Chief Marketing Officer Peter Naubert.

“The contract renewal confirms the positive development of our global licensing and sponsorship partnerships and underscores the global appeal of the Bundesliga brand as well as the significant growth that the DFL generates for clubs,” Naubert stated via press release.

The gaming industry remains a lucrative space for football organisations to increase its marketability and generate greater revenue. Late last year, the Argentina Football Association partnered with a gaming software company to increase its marketing presence in Europe.

DFL joint-CEO Marc Lenz explained that the extension of its deal with EA Sports is crucial to its marketing strategy.

“Our core aim is to reach young fans and find new ways to spark their interest in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2,” Lenz told the DFL website.

EA SPORTS FC is a successful part of this strategy, because the licensing partnership and the Virtual Bundesliga increase the visibility of our leagues and clubs.”

Lenz’s partner Steffen Merkel spoke about the relationship between the DFL and EA Sports.

EA SPORTS FC deepens the connection between millions of fans and their favourite players and clubs from the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2, which are an important part of the video game series,” Merkel added via media release.

“The partnership has existed since 1998 and underscores the shared conviction behind the cooperation, which is characterised by constant and successful evolution.”

Meanwhile, the inclusion of Germany’s top two professional leagues in EA Sports FC will assist EA Sports’ future plans for football gaming.

“Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 are key to building an innovative and evolving football platform for fans, and we’re thrilled that the DFL shares our vision for the future of football,” EA Sports President, Cam Weber, added via the DFL website.

By continuing its relationship with EA Sports, the DFL demonstrates its commitment to a sustainable and profitable future for its competitions.

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