City of Casey Council say they will consider using temporary grandstands to create a rectangular feel at Casey Fields should Team 11 be part of an expanded A-League.
The bid from southeast Melbourne, comprising the Dandenong, Cardinia and Casey shires, is hopeful of joining Australia’s top flight for the 2019-20 season, and has planned to have a new stadium under construction if successful.
Until the Dandenong-based stadium is finished, Team 11 have indicated they will play the majority of their matches at Casey Fields in year one, some 30 minutes away from the proposed venue site.
Team 11 said derby games against Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City “may be taken to one of the city’s larger venues” for safety reasons.
Casey Fields houses a host of sports – most notably VFL club Casey Demons – and its primary ground is oval-shaped.
“We are confident that the intimate capacity, uninterrupted sight lines and ample standing room around the venue will provide a unique and enjoyable experience for A-League fans in the early evolution of Team 11,” City of Casey Mayor Geoff Ablett said in a statement.
Needless to say, even though a master plan is in place for the development of Casey Fields – it will be the training and administrative base for Team 11 if included in expansion – it is not yet football-conducive.
But Manager of Active Communities Callum Pattie, who is partly responsible for the logistics of Casey Fields, backed the facility to deliver an engaging product for supporters.
“We have hosted large games with AFL, so we had AFL preseason games there and AFL Women’s games as well,” he said on Thursday’s Daily Football Show.
“We consider ourselves to be of a level like the MCG, Etihad (Stadium) and Geelong (GMHBA Stadium – Kardinia Park).
“At a rural level, we’re trying to make sure that we provide a community experience, but also a fan experience out there that really supports that.
“The facility itself, Oval One has a capacity of 10,000, so we’re working towards trying to make sure that we can provide an experience for the fans that actually is conducive to the round ball, that really supports an opportunity to see this actually occur.”
The bid team has stressed the need to keep the majority of the proposed club’s games in the southeast.
Pattie said council was exploring options to give the venue a more rectangular feel, including temporary grandstands.
“We’ve got a planned upgrade, which is looking at increasing to 2,000 seats, but in saying that, we’d be looking at temporary grandstands,” he added.
“As you’d have at Etihad and the MCG, you’d consider putting in some targeted sponsorship around the ground to really make it a rectangular stadium as such.
“We are looking at other fan amenities as well, which really support football, but outside of that, we really just need to consider how that actually works in terms of the AFL oval itself.”
Temporary seating was used at Ekaterinburg’s Central Stadium during the recently concluded World Cup in Russia in order to boost its capacity and thus meet FIFA requirements.
Team 11 require state government funding alongside A-League inclusion to go ahead with their stadium plans.
Football Federation Australia will announce the two successful expansion candidates on 31 October.