Melbourne City to move base to Casey Fields
A-League club Melbourne City FC has announced it'll relocate to a brand-new elite sporting facility in the South-East Melbourne.
While the club will continue to play home games for its A-League team at AAMI Park, it'll progressively move its training and administration base to Casey Fields in time for the 2022 A-League season.
The new Etihad City Football Academy (CFA) will sit within the 84-hectare Casey Fields Sporting Precinct, and will feature an elite training tablet pitch, four full-sized floodlit pitches, a two-story elite performance and HQ building and space for a 4000-capacity mini-stadium to be created as part of a future ‘Stage Three’ construction.
The move replicates the plan of the Dandenong-based Team 11 group, who had unsuccessfully bid for an A-League expansion licence in 2018. Part of that plan was to construct a new $175 million 15,000-seat stadium, however at this stage there are no plans to shift A-League matches to the region.
The City Football Academy is borne out of the blueprint that was developed to create Manchester City’s iconic City Football Academy that opened in 2014. The Manchester City Football Academy was the product of six years of research and construction. Since 2014, CFG’s global infrastructure team has created a further three CFAs, in New York, Montevideo (under construction) and Melbourne with the support of global partner Etihad Airways.
The Club’s Academy will move to the already constructed ‘Stage One’ community and academy facilities in February 2021. The four full-sized floodlit pitches and single-story building are available for immediate use, and will be the centre of the Club's academy, schools and community work as well as the City of Casey's grassroots football and community programs. The remaining ‘Stage Two’ facilities will be completed by early 2022 when Melbourne City will take full occupation of the site, following interim occupation in August 2021.
Melbourne City’s W-League team will play their first home match of the season on January 2 at the Frank Holohan Soccer Complex - home ground of the Dandenong City Soccer Club, playing four games at the venue including a Melbourne derby match against Melbourne Victory on January 28.
City in the Community, Melbourne City’s charitable arm, will also be headquartered from Casey Fields, enabling more regular engagement with the in-need communities of South East Melbourne whilst continuing their city-wide work.
Melbourne City join the Melbourne Demons’ AFL, AFLW and VFL teams, the Casey-South Melbourne Premier Cricket Club and several grassroots sporting clubs who call Casey Fields their home.
The Club has been located at La Trobe University in Bundoora since its foundation in 2009 and moved into the original City Football Academy in 2014 following its acquisition by City Football Group.
The South East has a new home of football! 🏠⚽— Melbourne City FC (@MelbourneCity) December 14, 2020
We are excited to announce our relocation to a brand-new Etihad City Football Academy at Casey Fields.
Full details: https://t.co/KLvcInBSXD@CityOfCasey @greaterdandy pic.twitter.com/wwHkT2Pz4D
City of Casey chief executive Glenn Patterson said: "This is a game-changer for the City of Casey and South East Melbourne.
"We are proud of Casey Fields as an elite sport precinct, and the addition of a second, full-time professional club adds to its status as the region's premium sporting precinct ... [It] will result in wide-ranging economic and social benefits, as will the creation of much needed construction jobs for our local community."
City of Greater Dandenong mayor, councillor Angela Long, pointed out the importance of the previous Team 11 bid in creating an appetite for a team in the region and its key role as a driver for the development of a new stadium.
"[It] set out to foster grassroots football development with professional pathways, to connect with and grow our burgeoning business community, to market the region to national and international audiences and to provide a platform for community outreach programs," she said.
"The proposed Dandenong Sports and Events Centre was an important part of that bid and today's announcement marks a step forward in bringing that idea to life.
Asked about a new stadium in Dandenong, Rowse was circumspect.
"We don't have anything concrete on that one, if that is something that gets explored in the future we would of course have a look at it but it's not been part of the decision making process at this point," he said.