Both Labor and the Coalition have now BOTH pledged $15m to back Football Victoria's bid to create a national home of football for the Matildas - regardless of who wins this weekend's election.
The announcements come as the Matildas go into next month’s FIFA Women’s World Cup among the favourites, with Football Federation Australia announcing today the final squad for France.
Football Victoria president Kimon Taliadoros welcomed the bipartisan funding commitment which he said was vital to sustain the record number of girls and women coming into the game.
“Providing a fully-equipped, high performance base for the Matildas is a game-changer for women’s sport," said Taliadoros.
"Not only will it help them develop and compete internationally, but the halo effect of a dedicated facility that can be shared with the community, and particularly with female footballers, will be an enormous boost in encouraging even more girls to play the game they love.
“We welcome the support of both the Federal Government and Opposition in enabling such an important initiative – one that will also go a long way towards helping the game in Victoria to meet our stated objective of 50:50 gender participation by 2027.”
Peter Filopoulos, Football Victoria CEO, said the state-of-the-art facility will host training camps and elite pathway programs for our girl’s and women’s representative teams.
“It will also provide a crucial training and education facility for non-playing roles including specialist programs for girls and women as coaches, referees and club administrators," he said.
Westfield Matildas vice-captain and native Victorian Steph Catley said the creation of a dedicated facility signalled the leading role that women’s football was playing on the Australian sporting landscape.
“It’s so exciting knowing that we’ll have our own place to come together as a squad, to train and prepare for big matches and major tournaments like the forthcoming World Cup in France," said Catley.
"It will put women’s football on the map and give girls coming through the system a real impetus to achieve their dream of being a Matilda.”
Football Victoria has received expressions of interest from a number of local government authorities seeking to host the proposed development including the cities of Brimbank, Casey, Darebin, Maribyrnong, Maroondah, and Greater Shepparton. La Trobe University has also made a formal submission as part of redevelopment plans at its Bundoora campus.