Melbourne City FC will commence its inaugural Westfield FFA Cup campaign in Ballarat with an intriguing opening round clash against Sydney FC on August 12.
In a coup for the Ballarat region, the Round of 32 match will be played at Morshead Park – the newly-redeveloped facility which will host the Bahrain national team for a pre-competition camp before the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.
The venue also played host to a recent pre-season match between Melbourne City and the Ballarat Red Devils on June 25.
Melbourne City worked closely with the Ballarat City Council to deliver the match at Morshead Park, after the Club drew fellow Hyundai A-League outfit Sydney FC from Pot B in the FFA Cup draw on June 27.
Melbourne City CEO Scott Munn, made the announcement today alongside the Mayor of the City of Ballarat, Joshua Morris, at the venue.
“We’re delighted to return to Ballarat for this match; the Council has been extremely accommodating - and what better way to reaffirm our commitment to the broader Victorian community than to play our inaugural FFA Cup match here,” Munn said.
Coach John van’t Schip, who is currently in Manchester with the Melbourne City FC squad for a pre-season camp at Manchester City’s Carrington Training Centre, said he was impressed by the venue.
“They have a fantastic facility in Ballarat,” van’t Schip said. “At this point in the pre-season it is important for us to play matches in good conditions and the pitch at Ballarat will be perfect for us.
“The first FFA Cup match is important and will be a great moment for us to see where we are at in our pre-season after the camp in Manchester.”
Mayor Morris said the prospect of Ballarat hosting an inaugural FFA Cup fixture was exciting for the region.
“To see two A-League teams fighting it out right here in Ballarat is beyond our wildest expectations,” Mr. Morris said.
“I can’t wait to welcome Melbourne City FC to Morshead Park, and I am certain that the town will turn out to support them.”
The Victorian Government, which has provided $3.1 million since 2009 to redevelop Morshead Park and its facilities, has also committed $10,000 from the Significant Sporting Events Program to assist in delivering the event.
“The Victorian Government is proud to support regional centres like Ballarat in their efforts to kick goals when it comes to the world game,” Minister for Sport and Recreation, Mr Damian Drum, said.
“This Melbourne City FC fixture is off the back of recent news that the Bahrain national team will be basing themselves at the new Ballarat Regional Soccer Facility at Morshead Park in the lead up to the 2015 Asian Cup.
“These events showcase this fantastic part of Victoria, and the quality sports facilities to even more people around the globe reinforcing our States reputation as a sporting capital.”
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