Posted by The Age on Sunday, January 25, 2019 11:05:00The future of the new Melbourne football club will be decided in the coming months but the focus will now turn to the next step in the process.
A consortium of investors led by Chinese media company Tencent is set to take over the club, which is due to open in late 2019, and a new owner is also expected to be unveiled within the next few weeks.
“I think we have the most promising future in football,” Melbourne City chief executive Richard Farrier said.
“The way the game is evolving, I think the way it’s played, I know we’re going to be in good shape for a long time.”
The move to a new stadium will create an immediate need for more seats, but with a small-market stadium only half the size of the current One-League club’s home, the need to grow is significant.
“There are a lot of young players out there that would love to play for us,” Farrier told The Age.
“And there’s a lot more opportunities than ever before.”
But we’re a club that has had some fantastic players and a very successful football club over the last 10-15 years, so it’s not a situation where it’s about making some changes and hoping we can get better and be better, but what we have to do is to look at all the options and then decide what the best future is for us.””
We’re going forward and I’m very confident we’ll be a great club in a short period of time.
“A key part of the plan is a new facility that will be built on a site at the former A-League venue of Etihad Stadium.
It will be one of the largest in Australia and be home to 10,000 people, although the new stadium may be a bit larger, Farrier indicated.”
We have to look around and think about the best site and we’ll find the right site and hopefully the right size,” he said.
Farrier said the A-L clubs’ history had taught them the importance of building the right stadium.”
It’s really hard to go to a place and have a good football club and build a stadium,” he told The Australian.”
So you’ve got to be really committed and you’ve really got to understand what the importance is of building it right and the importance for the fans and the club and the community.
“When you build it right, it’s very, very difficult to go anywhere else.”
But while the new ground is expected to cost at least $1 billion, it will still cost a relatively small chunk of the existing stadium.
The plan to build a new A-league stadium will be funded by private investment and is expected by 2022.
The AFL’s financial committee has approved a $500 million loan from China’s State-owned property company, State Grid, for the stadium.
But Farrier has cautioned that a return to the AFF, as it is known, would not be the best option.
“You’ve got a new, bigger stadium to be built, you’ve also got to look what happens to the clubs, you don’t want to be back at the AFA [Australian Football League],” he said, adding the clubs’ future in the game would depend on the decisions made.
“A lot of clubs are very keen to get back to the AFL and I think it’s going to take some time and it’s also going to require some big decisions on the part of everybody involved.”
“You’re going back to a situation that’s very difficult, I’m sure, but there’s some good things to come.”
The new stadium could be a home to a handful of A- League clubs, including Melbourne Victory, who will move to Melbourne next season, but the new club is expected not to be a key factor in the future fortunes of the club.
“If you want to have a successful club, you need to get a club with a stadium, a stadium that’s going a good distance, a club to which you can attract some players and attract some supporters,” Farriers said.
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