Boost funding to Morshead Park soccer facility: Knight

BALLARAT West MP Sharon Knight has called on the Baillieu government to boost funding to the Morshead Park soccer facility, as the city ramps up its bid to host a nation during the 2015 Asian Cup.

The state government has committed $2 million to help pay for the development.

Ms Knight said another $2.2 million was needed to complete the project.

“That’s crucial for us to put in a bid to host a team at the Asian Cup.

“I know that the government will be making decisions around their budget, I’m saying this should be a real consideration,” Ms Knight said.

The call for more funding for Morshead Park comes as part of the “Back the Bid” campaign, which Ballarat Mayor John Burt launched in January.

Ms Knight said hosting an international team at 2015 Asian Cup would provide a boost to tourism.

“Ballarat is really good at hosting these events.

“We’ve got the restaurants, we’ve got the hotels and the tourist facilities,” Ms Knight said.

“What we need now is soccer facility, which will be one of the best in Australia. I think it will be world class and would really help our chances for an Asian Cup bid.”

Knight said the benefits would go beyond the Asian Cup, with the possibility of the stadium hosting A-League pre-season matches before the next season. Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart had expressed interest in playing in Ballarat, she said. 

“Other cities around Victoria are already engaging with these teams so we would need to get everything here at Morshead Park up to standard very quickly, or we could miss out,” Ms Knight said.