South West Sydney bid’s dream arena unveiled

It’s the dream home which is set to become a reality for the Macarthur South West Sydney bid if it is awarded an A-League license.

With Tuesday’s ratification of a new order to run the game in Australia - and the end of Football Federation Australia as we know it - it’s likely the announcements the two successful expansion clubs for 2019-2020 will be pushed back beyond the initial October 31 deadline.

But the new Congress model, existing A-League clubs, and soon-to-elected new board in the post-Steven Lowy era remain committed to growing the competition.

And for bidders like MSWS, the game remains the same.

The gleaming 18,000-capacity all-seater arena - as depicted in this computer-generated image - is how Campbelltown Sports Stadium will look five years from now as a the permanent abode of the lavishly-backed franchise seeking to become Sydney’s third A-League team, ahead of rival NSW bidders Wollongong Wolves and Southern Expansion.

In a vote of confidence for a project to be jointly financed by council, local and state government and private funding, all 28 of the planned corporate boxes have already been pre-sold.

It will feature a function room for 400 people and even a hotel next door to the stadium.

Backed by billionaire property tycoon Lang Walker, and an array of local business identities, MSWS have already agreed a 15-year rolling tenancy with Campbelltown Council for a peppercorn rent.

And, in a plus for fans and the club, they would be able to still play all their A-League, W-League and National Youth League matches out of the stadium during the phased refurbishment.

Co-chairman and property financier Gino Marra, the bid’s spokesman, explained: “The reason that’s possible is they can rebuild one side at a time and it will not affect our club.

“The plan is for temporary seating on either side of the existing stadium structures, so you start on one side and not be losing numbers on attendances.

“We’re excited to be the major tenant. With a 15-year lease we’ll be the envy of the A League.”

In tandem with the planned regeneration of a stadium in search of a permanent tenant is a $26.5 million construction of a centre of excellence, sports science facility and training base for the club adjoining Western Sydney University just 5km away, with construction to start in February and run over 18 months.

Centre of Excellence
Centre of Excellence

“It will give the team and the community the best in sports science and recovery,” added Marra.

“We could have a team successfully on the park by next year, whereas a lot of the other bidders (eight are chasing two A-League licenses for 2019-2020) will need to put all the infrastructure in place.

“Even though the centre of excellence isn’t due for completion till early 2020, council is giving us the athletic centre next to the stadium in the interim.”

Campbelltown mayor George Brticevic is a leading advocate of the bid, viewing it as another economic driver in possibly Australia’s fastest exploding growth corridor.

“We have a stadium which is owned by the community and we’re at the epicentre of growth for the region,” he said.

“Participation rates are at 20,000 players and growing at a huge rate.

“Sydney FC have thrown support behind our bid (while nearby Western Sydney Wanderers have remained tight-lipped) and unlike others we’re concentrating on our own area.

Centre of Excellence
Centre of Excellence

“We’re offering content to the stadium and the club will provide a pathway for the girls and boys of the future.

“My vision is a boutique stadium, something like a (smaller version of CenturyLink Field, home of) the Seattle Sounders in the MLS.

“The way their fans celebrate goals and the atmosphere they generate is something I’d love to see here in Campbelltown.

“It’s my dream for how a team will be in Sydney’s south west.

“A club here would be a win for the region and also the A-League itself.

“The bid document is of high standard and in terms of a business case for a team we have the infrastructure, the growth, the registrations and can give young kids a pathway.

“A total of 620 babies were born in one month alone here … hopefully we’ll win over the fans of today and those who are aren’t yet born.”