FOOTBALL Federation Victoria president Nick Monteleone has thrown his backing behind Ballarat’s bid to host a team for a 2015 Asia Cup pre-season training camp.
Monteleone was present at the Ballarat Red Devils’ first National Premier Leagues Victoria home game on Saturday and liked what he saw – both on and off the pitch at Morshead Park.
The bad weather wasn’t ideal for the grand unveiling of the new pitch but it didn’t stop well over 1000 onlookers from watching the game in sodden conditions.
A makeshift grandstand and pavilion were constructed for the match and will be used for the next month or two until the facility is completed.
Monteleone, appointed as FFV’s president in 2011, believes Morshead Park has the necessary infrastructure to host a big-name side come January next year.
“If you have a look at what’s on the field today – it’s an absolute credit to the club, to the city of Ballarat and I’m sure it will be an iconic venue in Victoria,” he said.
“We look forward to the region being a host for many things – not only the NPLV but also (potentially) the Asian Cup.
“The facility meets much of the criteria but I know a number of councils are working proactively and very hard to bring a nation to their town.”
Ballarat’s close proximity to Melbourne makes it an attractive prospect to many of the 16 nations set to compete in the second-oldest continental football championship.
Monteleone also hinted at the possibility of Morshead Park hosting a Football Federation Australia Cup match in one of the coming editions.
“There’s obviously the FFA Cup, which will involve A-League clubs, and we look forward in the not too distant future to having a game in Ballarat for points, and that means something,” he said.
Saturday’s debut went off without a hitch, with the new pitch, completed just days before the match, coping well in the heavy rain.
There was also plenty of space around the ground for parking.
Works continue on the building itself while roads in and out of the area are yet to be laid.