Ikon Park upgrade underway as AFLW season prepares to kick-off
Construction work on the Ikon Park redevelopment, including new elite women’s facilities, has commenced ahead of the 2021 AFLW season-start on Thursday night at the venue.
The Carlton ground has served as a primary venue of the AFLW competition, having hosted the first ever game in 2017 in front of a sell-out crowd of almost 25,000 spectators, and now its facilities will be upgraded to ensure it remains the home of women’s football into the future.
The $42 million project will see the Pratt Stand demolished and replaced by a new match-day pavilion containing AFLW changerooms, an indoor training facility and new floodlights to allow for night games, removing the need for temporary lighting which has been used for previous games.
The existing training and administration building will also be refurbished and upgraded to provide AFLW and AFL players and staff access to the same facilities and resources, reinforcing a culture of gender equality throughout the club.
The Ikon Park masterplan has been underpinned by $20 million in funding by the State Government, $15 million from the Federal Government, with support from the AFL contributing the remaining funds.
Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula said, “Elite footballers like Maddy Prespakis and Tayla Harris deserve a level playing field – that’s why we’re backing this landmark project and others like it across Melbourne.”
“It’s a win for the current crop of elite players and also for the next generation of girls who will be inspired to follow in their footsteps.”
The Victorian Government has invested in numerous venues to support the growth of women’s football, including $13 million for the second stage of the Moorabbin Oval redevelopment, $5 million for match-day and training facilities at Whitten Oval, $5 million to upgrade Casey Fields and $2 million to remake the Victoria Park change rooms.
Senator the Hon Jane Hume said, “Ikon Park is of course an icon, it has been around since 1897 and now it has found a new lease on life as the home of AFLW.
“The facilities that we are seeing being created at Ikon Park today are a game changer for women’s sport. Integrated training facilities will take elite female athletes to the next level and so they well should.”
The 2021 AFLW season gets underway on Thursday night at Ikon Park, with Carlton hosting Collingwood. For the first time, fans need to purchase tickets to attend matches, with ticket sales strong across all round one matches. View the AFLW Fixture | Buy AFLW Tickets