Knox Council has granted the federation an initial 10-year lease – followed by another five years – to run the full-sized synthetic pitch and Australia’s first five-a-side pitches, which will open later this year.
The federation was to pay $1million towards construction of the Wantirna South grounds, next to the incomplete State Basketball Centre in High Street Road, but will now pay between $1.5million and $1.6million after asking that the east pitch be changed into nine five-a-side pitches.
The council’s youth, leisure and cultural services manager David Blair said the federation would also pay $715,000 towards a fund to replace the pitches every seven years.
Cr David Cooper said Knox would be the first place in Australia to have five-a-side pitches.
“There’s a higher demand for soccer than what we can supply facilities for. Not only will we get a state-of-the-art soccer pitch, there’s opportunities for people to play casually. It’s a great step forward.”
Cr Peter Cole said the decision was “the most significant amount of funding we’ve received from a sporting body, and the fact that there have been changes shows that all parties have acted in good faith”.