Western United locks in stadium funding

Western United chairman Jason Sourasis (centre) with players and partners at its training ground in Tarneit. (supplied)

Cade Lucas

Western United’s long awaited stadium in Tarneit is a step closer to fruition with the club announcing partnerships to fund and build the project.

New York Stock Exchange listed technology firm, Johnson Controls, will provide a $50 million debt facility to fund the project, while YourLand Developments have signed on to build the stadium and the surrounding suburb billed as Australia’s first to be focused on sport and recreation.

The rest of the funding for the $2 billion project will come from a public-private partnership with Wyndham council and an array of private investors.

The club aims to host matches at its 15,000 seat stadium by 2026/27, and at the 5000 seat second stadium and training facility next door by the end of the current campaign. Residential and commercial developments and recreation focused wetlands are also part of the development on a 62.5 ha site between Leaks Road and Ison Road in Tarneit.

Western United chairman Jason Sourasis said the stadium will be a game changer for the club and the broader soccer community.

“This is truly the most exciting project in Melbourne’s sporting landscape and will create only the second A-League broadcast compliant, rectangular stadium in the state,” Mr Sourasis said.

“ As one of the newest football teams in the Australian domestic league, creating a welcoming and safe space for our fans is our top priority and this project will set our club up for the long-term.”

Doubts about the stadium project have dogged Western Untied ever since it helped them gain entry into the A-League in 2018. Repeated delays, missed deadlines and the collapse of original construction partner, Probuild, have led to questions about the veracity of the project and whether the club should’ve been granted a license in the first place.

In the meantime, playing home games in Geelong, Ballarat, Tasmania, Whitten Oval and AAMI Park have hampered efforts to build a fanbase, with even an A-League premiership in 2022 failing to lift its profile.

The partnership announcement provides some much needed good news for the club, which currently sits at the bottom of the A-League table, has no CEO and recently had to deny reports its players were not being paid on time.