Western United have found a Melbourne based home after their plans to play at Lakeside Stadium were rejected.
Western United is currently in the process of building its Wyndham City Stadium, with the first phase of construction beginning later this month. In the interim, this has left Western United without a Melbourne based home stadium.
The club had confirmed that like in their two previous seasons of existence, Western United was planning to split its home games across a number of stadiums. GMHBA Stadium in Geelong, MARS Stadium in Ballarat and UTAS Stadium in Launceston would each host two home games this season.
The club then searched for a Melbourne based rectangular stadium that could accommodate the A-League's requirements after their desire to keep playing its remaining home matches at AAMI Park, like they had done in 2020-21, received opposition from the stadium's other A-League tenants Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City.
Western United had announced two weeks ago that Lakeside Stadium, the grounds of National Premier League Victoria club South Melbourne FC, would be their new 2021-22 Melbourne home with the A-League listing the stadium on their original partial 2021-22 schedule.
However, South Melbourne FC rejected this announcement. The club have a licensing agreement with the Victorian State Government and opposed the use of the stadium by Western United whom they consider to be a cross-town competitor.
In a statement issued today by Western United, games originally scheduled at Lakeside Stadium will now be played at AAMI Park. A-League's commissioner Greg O'Rourke is quoted as saying:
“Following last week’s partial fixture release, the two Western United games originally scheduled at Melbourne’s Lakeside Stadium will now be played at AAMI Park.
“Matches that were originally intended to be scheduled at Lakeside for the remainder of the 2021/22 season will also now be played at AAMI Park.
“This decision has been made following a continued consultation process between the A-Leagues, State government, Western United FC and South Melbourne FC.
“With a small number of rectangular stadiums available in Melbourne that meet the standards for an A-Leagues broadcast, and the delayed start to the season as a result of COVID-restrictions further limiting the available options, this is the most suitable interim solution as Western United work towards delivering their home stadium in Melbourne’s West.”
The A-League's partial 2021-22 schedule can be found using the following link.