Ballarat is a frontrunner to be a training and potentially a match-day venue for Melbourne’s newest A-League soccer team.
The City of Ballarat and Western Melbourne Group have already had initial talks.
The group mooted the possibility of taking games into Western Victoria mid-year while still developing a bid.
The group’s Maurice Bisetto said at the time: ”We see anything west of Melbourne, Western Victoria call it, as being our catchment and we’re looking to engage with all of that community.”
With the bid having been given green light to join the A-League next season, momentum for a partnership with Ballarat is starting to build with construction yet to start on a purpose-built stadium for the team.
Western Melbourne is hoping to play games at Geelong’s Kardinia Park stadium, but it is expected to need venues for training camps and pre-season games in the lead up to 2019-20.
Ballarat has two possible venues – the city’s international standard home of soccer Morshead Park and multi-purpose Mars Stadium.
Morshead Park has already hosted internationals, a Football Federation Association Cup tie and A-league friendlies since opening in 2014.
Melbourne City met Sydney FC in an all A-League cup tie in 2014 and also played a practice game against Newastle Jets in 2016, while Melbourne Victory had a friendly against Brisbane Roar in 2017.
The two Melbourne sides have also played practice games against Ballarat.
Bahrain and Jordan clashed in an Asia Cup warm-up in 2015, with Bahrain using Ballarat as base for a pre-tournament training camp.
The Matildas played New Zealand in a women’s international at Morshead Park in 2016.