Brimbank could become home to one of Australia’s most successful and popular sports teams, with the council putting its hand up to become the Matildas’ home base.
Under the proposal, a $60-$80 million elite training base for the national women’s soccer side – ranked sixth in the world and heading to the World Cup in France in June – would be built, with Brimbank one of seven municipalities vying for the facility.
Casey, Maroondah, Maribyrnong, Darebin and Shepparton have also expressed an interest, as has LaTrobe University’s Bundoora campus.
Brimbank mayor Lucinda Congreve confirmed Brimbank’s interest.
“Brimbank council has thrown its hat in the ring,” Cr Congreve said.
“We’ve submitted our expression of interest to Football Victoria to be considered for this amazing development … now we’re keen to get a better understanding of the project requirements, parameters and timelines.”
Football Victoria’s proposal to build the elite facility in Melbourne has the backing of Football Federation Australia and could include a number of pitches, administration headquarters and a stadium with a capacity of up to 5000.
Football Victoria president Kimon Taliadoros said the project would be a huge investment in the women’s game.
“It’s an exciting initiative for the women’s game in Australia and would serve to inspire generations of female footballers who dream of following in the steps of their heroes”, he said. “Certainly, a dedicated facility would go a long way towards helping Victorian football meet our stated objective of 50:50 gender participation by 2027.”
The president of the highest ranked women’s side in Brimbank, Eric Psarianos of Calder United, said bringing this facility to the area could revolutionise the game in the west.
“If Brimbank was able to pull off a coup and get this it would be fantastic,” he said. “Female football and junior participation numbers are going through the roof and Brimbank is one of those councils that is really on the front foot with it.
“To have this facility so close to home, and have the girls aspire themselves to get to that level, would be a game changer.”
Mr Psarianos said Calder United’s Keilor Park home base was a potential candidate for the Matildas’ facility, but no formal talks had taken place.
“I’ve had some very unofficial-type talks with council about the future of Calder and what we aspire to be,” he said.
“One of those things would be to have facilities that the girls can call their own and be at a standard where they can continue down the elite pathway.”
Football Victoria will select a shortlist of potential partners, with hopes of the facility being completed before the 2023 World Cup, for which Australia is bidding.