Melbourne City Football Club (FC) today announced its relocation to Casey Fields after signing a Heads of Agreement with the City of Casey and the City of Greater Dandenong.
The Etihad City Football Academy (CFA) will sit within the Casey Fields Football Centre of Excellence, featuring an elite training pitch, four full-sized floodlit pitches and a two-story elite performance headquarters building, with space for a 4,000-capacity mini-stadium to be created as part of a future stage three expansion.
The new CFA is partly constructed with stage one of the community and academy facilities already complete. 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 in early 2022.
City in the Community, Melbourne City’s charitable arm, will also move their head office to Casey Fields, enabling more regular engagement with vulnerable groups in Casey, and the wider South East Melbourne region.
City of Casey CEO Glenn Patterson said today’s announcement followed four years of work by the City of Casey, City of Greater Dandenong and Cardinia Shire councils to bring an A-League and W-League football club to the region.
“This is a game-changer for Casey and South East Melbourne. Melbourne City is a club that shares our community-first ethos and will be a wonderful addition to our growing and diverse region,” Mr Patterson said.
“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 premier sporting precinct.
“Thanks to Melbourne City, we will be able to co-develop world class facilities that the community will also be able to enjoy. But just as importantly, we will be introducing amazing male and female role models into our community, who will not only inspire a new generation of potential Matildas and Socceroos stars, but who will also encourage our residents to be active and lead healthy and happy lives.
“Welcoming the Club’s 250 players and more than 100 staff will result in wide-ranging economic and social benefits for our community, as will the creation of much needed jobs.”
Melbourne City joins 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.
City of Casey Chair of Administrators Noelene Duff PSM said: “We are looking forward to seeing our residents out in force watching Melbourne City’s teams train, seeing our budding juniors learning from their heroes and watching our community enjoy that added thrill of being able to play around on the same pitches as some of the stars of the game.”
Melbourne City Football Club competes in the major Australian domestic competitions, the A-League, the W-League and the Y-League.
The Club, formerly known as Melbourne Heart FC, was established in 2009, inspired by a vision for a broad-based community team, celebrating cultural diversity and sporting passion through football.
Becoming known as Melbourne City FC in 2014, the Club is wholly owned by City Football Group (CFG), as is English Premier League club Manchester City FC and Major League Soccer club New York City FC.
Melbourne City CEO Brad Rowse said: “The sporting precinct at Casey Fields is an incredible destination and we are delighted to call it our new home.
“To have a brand-new facility with bigger capacity, more pitches and to be in the heart of a diverse community with a deep footballing tradition is a fantastic opportunity.
“Football is the number one participation sport in South East Melbourne, with 115 grassroots clubs and 23,000 registered players across the wider region. This move creates a fresh street-to-stadium pathway for all the boys and girls who have been desperate for a professional team on their doorstep.
“Having City in the Community headquartered here was a really important part of this move. Their work will always be wherever there is need, and being right in the heart of this community will create new opportunities to serve the communities of South East Melbourne.”
To view the Melbourne City press release, visit their website.