New home of the Matildas to be built in Melbourne
A $116 million soccer and rugby supersite will be built in Melbourne’s north ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, providing a new home for the Matildas.
A $101.1 million investment in the Victorian Budget 2021/22 has secured the state-of-the-art facility for La Trobe University’s Bundoora Sports Park in a major advancement for women’s sport in Australia.
The centre to host Football Victoria’s high-performance program for young soccer stars as well as its administration base, while grassroots clubs will have access to the centre’s pitches and community-level programs, including training for volunteers and administrators, referees and coaches.
The Victorian Government last year invested $1.5 million to plan for the facility, which will boast a marquee pitch with a 1,000-seat grandstand, four other pitches, and high-performance facilities including a gymnasium and wet recovery area, medical and rehabilitation centre, meeting areas and player lounge.
With the Federal Government having pitched in $15 million towards the project, the State Government’s investment means work will now begin on detailed designs for the Home of the Matildas, which will also incorporate the Victorian State Rugby Centre.
Construction is expected to start in December and be completed in time for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which will be played across Australia and New Zealand in July and August. Five World Cup games will be played at Melbourne’s AAMI Park, including a quarter final. The Matilda’s will be based at the facility in the lead-up to the tournament.
Not only will this investment create new jobs during construction, it will also reaffirm our state’s reputation as the nation’s sporting capital – and support the thousands of Victorians employed in our sports industry.
Soccer participation in Victoria has been growing strongly – particularly among women and girls. The most recent Ausplay data showed the number of females playing club-based soccer in Victoria had more than doubled in five years to 55,000, including 25,000 girls.
As part of the commitment, pitch use will be offered to community clubs at a discounted rate, and La Trobe students will enjoy free access to the facilities for around 20 hours a week.
This will mean more than 6,000 hours of use over an average year by the national teams and development pathway programs – including approximately 140 days of use by the Matildas.
Acting Premier James Merlino said, “We can’t wait to cheer on the Matildas at the World Cup in Melbourne in 2023 – and with this investment, we’ll give our female soccer stars a world class home in the heart of Melbourne.”
“When we say we’re serious about improving the visibility of our female athletes – we mean it. Not only will this investment deliver new facilities, it will mean more young soccer fans get to see their heroes up close.”
The Victorian State Rugby Centre will boast a show pitch with grandstand seating and two additional pitches, along with high performance facilities including a gymnasium, sport science, medical and recovery areas and a training and match day home for the Melbourne Rebels’ Super W team.
The dual-sport super site at Bundoora will also encourage research collaboration between high-performance experts and academics at La Trobe University.
La Trobe University has invested more than $80 million to develop its Sports Park, including an indoor stadium, research laboratories and soccer, Australian rules football, cricket and baseball facilities.
The Melbourne City Football Club has been located at the Bundoora site but recently announced their move to the Casey Fields sporting precinct, where they’ll build a brand-new City Football Academy.