A-League fixture revealed as Western United adds another home venue
The 2021/22 A-League season will begin on November 19 at AAMI Park, as Western United announce they’ll host seven home games at Albert Park’s Lakeside Stadium.
UPDATE: Western United will no longer play home games at Lakeside Stadium, with the seven matches to instead be played at AAMI Park.
The first six rounds of the new season were released by the Australian Professional Leagues on Thursday morning, taking games through until December 27.
However, it’s the decision by Western United to add another home ground that has drawn the most attention, with the club set to play matches at Lakeside Stadium, home of NPL Victoria club, South Melbourne.
With construction of United’s purpose-built home ground yet to commence, the club was hopeful of playing the majority of its matches at AAMI Park, but that drew resistance from both Melbourne Victory and City. They’ll now host matches at the Albert Park venue, as well as Ballarat, Geelong and Launceston. The Whitten Oval has also been used for a one-off match previously.
The club said it looked at alternatives in Melbourne’s west, including Knights Stadium, but none were up to A-League standard and would require significant investment to be able to host matches. Early works for Wyndham City Stadium are set to commence next month.
However, South Melbourne has released a statement rejecting Western United’s plans to use Lakeside Stadium as a home ground. “South Melbourne considers Western United to be a direct competitor in the Melbourne, Victorian and Australian football market” the club said.
Meanwhile, games for Central Coast Mariners and Wellington Phoenix are currently listed as ‘TBC’, with the Mariners in talks regarding the ongoing management rights tender for Central Coast Stadium. The Phoenix will base themselves in NSW at a venue yet to be determined.
Games in the opening round are scheduled in Melbourne, Geelong and Sydney, despite both Victoria and New South Wales remaining in lockdown. But the A-League is backing border restrictions to ease with surging vaccination rates around the country and is confident a full season of football will unfold.