As you may be aware; the Footscray Park project has been a long time in the making with our partners the Victorian Government, Victoria University and Blue Light Victoria.
Our vision is to deliver a unique, world-class football facility that brings together the local community through our programs with local schools and clubs, our youth outreach initiatives, high performance training and education pathways with Victoria University.
Our goal is to motivate kids at the grassroots level to take up football and provide them with elite pathways should they wish to pursue their dream of playing on the national and international stage.
Our academy at Footscray Park will provide a home base for our W-League team. We were also delighted to announce our partnership with the Maribyrnong Swifts FC – the sole female only football club in the West. Our academy will provide these young women and girls with access to the facilities they deserve and assist in “up-skilling” their local volunteer coaches by providing access to our professional coaches for mentoring and development programs.
There’s a lot of misinformation being circulated about this project, our motives, intention for the use of the facility and its impact on Footscray Park. I’d like to take this opportunity to clear some of this up.
Firstly, Melbourne Victory FC Headquarters and professional training base is, and will remain, at AAMI Park. The Women’s and Youth academy will operate as our not-for-profit entity with any profits to be re-invested into community programs and scholarships for kids.
Secondly, we have a growing population and understand the demand on local schools and clubs to access sporting facilities. Any lease at Footscray Park will include access for local schools, Maribyrnong Swifts FC and passive recreational activities to ensure the whole community continues to benefit from Footscray Park. Similar leasing arrangements exist for the communities surrounding Albert Park sporting facilities and the much-loved Gosch’s Paddock in Melbourne. There is no intention to “lock out the community”.
Footscray Park has become a local sporting hub with Cricket, Gridiron, Rugby and Rowing club all currently holding leases for sport and recreation purposes. Melbourne Victory’s vision is to return the original football pitches at Footscray Park West back to their former glory and deliver a Women’s and Youth Academy and community facility we can all be proud of.
For further information regarding the council’s process to consider the academy at Footscray Park, click here.
You can also find more information on the history of football at Footscray Park and community benefits of the project via the community Facebook page.