‘Strongly against’: South Melbourne attacked Western United stadium plan for new A-League season

WRITTEN BYSPORTING NEWS

Just hours after the opening matches of the new A-League season were revealed, the Victorian national Premier League team South Melbourne has thrown an almighty wrench into the works.

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A-League team Western United confirmed their plans to play seven home games during the 2021-22 campaign on Thursday at Lakeside Stadium.

John Aloisi’s side is still in the process of building their own land and declared their intention to use South Melbourne for the next year.

However, that’s a first for both the club and the venue itself, as the NPL team is ready to do everything it can to ensure Western United plays elsewhere.

“Lakeside Stadium and Albert Park is the home of South Melbourne FC and has been for over sixty years. Our licensing agreements with Lakeside Stadium and the state government ensure that it will continue to do so for decades to come,” a statement read. of the club.

“South Melbourne FC has a stadium, we have a home and we are proud to call it our own.

“Lakeside Stadium and Melbourne Sports Centers executives have informed South Melbourne FC that, contrary to the announcement made by Western United FC, there is no written or signed agreement with Western United FC or the Australian professional leagues to allow access to Western United FC to Lakeside Stadium for the 2021/22 A-League season.

“South Melbourne considers Western United to be a direct competitor in the Melbourne, Victoria and Australia football market.

“Its acceptance into the A-League was largely based on a commitment to have a purpose-built football stadium in West Melbourne. It is now three years since the A-League expansion clubs and the works were announced. construction has not yet started Western United’s use of Lakeside Stadium is not acceptable and South Melbourne FC will strongly oppose such plans.

“South Melbourne can confirm that it will exercise all rights to prevent Western United FC from playing A-League matches at Lakeside Stadium.”

In a club statement of its own earlier on Thursday, Western United explained its decision to choose Lakeside as its venue and emphasized the desire to work with South Melbourne in the future.

“United were eager to continue playing at AAMI Park based on the 2020/21 season, but rivals Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City were strongly opposed to this option, despite being the only rectangular stadium in Melbourne that meets all of the requirements to host an A-League Game, “read a club statement.

“Lakeside Stadium was selected for a number of reasons, including its easy access to both public transport and road networks with ample parking for fans of West Melbourne-based United. It is also a purpose-built football stadium that can be tailored to meet with A-League Rules, which was a critical factor in the decision-making process.

“The move has the added benefit of supporting grassroots football, with Lakeside the home of South Melbourne FC, one of Australia’s most successful football clubs.

“Lakeside is the home of South Melbourne FC, a club that United has the utmost respect for and wants to work with to grow football in Victoria.”

As part of the opening matches of the A-League, Western United was expected to host Perth Glory at Lakeside Stadium on November 26.

The Melbourne club also confirmed on Wednesday that the first works on its planned stadium in Tarneit will begin on October 25.

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