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Melbourne Victory Football Club plans soccer academy for Footscray Park

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ONE of Australia’s biggest sporting clubs wants to establish a junior football academy in Maribyrnong.

Melbourne Victory Football Club is seeking to develop the “world class” academy at Footscray Park that would provide youth development opportunities for both genders, international competitions and school and community based programs.

Maribyrnong Council last night endorsed entering into a memorandum of understanding, which will see it jointly fund a feasibility study with the club to explore a concept design, costings, future funding, operational arrangements and community benefits.

The academy would host competitive matches for the Youth League, W League and National Premier League teams along with a program focused on Under 20s through to Under 12s.

Melbourne Victory’s vision is for an “academy which is a pathway for talent identification and development and a platform to build strong ties with the community”.

The proposed academy would require three natural turf playing fields, a pavilion/clubroom and spectator seating.

Current activity at Footscray Park includes rugby, dog walking, informal recreation and a range of festival events.

It is proposed that each of these activities is relocated and/or facilitated within the proposed development.

Councillor Michael Clarke said the academy would be an “enormous opportunity” to add to the suite of sports offerings in Maribyrnong that already included the Western Bulldogs and Victoria University’s elite sports science institute.

“If we bring in the mighty Victory this will add to the lustre of our city,” he said.

Cr Sarah Carter said open space was one of the city’s greatest assets in the face of increasing density and council would need to “tread carefully”.

Cr Catherine Cumming said Footscray Park was problematic given it was flood prone.

But Cr Clarke stressed the memorandum was not a commitment to proceed with the academy and the council could still choose to back out.

An update report on the feasibility study will be provided to the council in early 2017.

© 2016 Maribyrnong Leader | This article was written by Bridie Byrne and first appeared on the Herald Sun website on 27 July 2016.

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