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Wanderers pitch for fans: Western Sydney could play A-League games at Belmore

By Oliver Murray

August 25, 2015 - Canterbury-Bankstown Express

WESTERN Sydney Wanderers will look at playing games at Belmore Sports Ground as part of a push into the Canterbury and inner west region.

The A-League club's home ground Pirtek Stadium is expected to undergo a $300 million upgrade, with work to start as soon as next year.

The Wanderers, with 18,700 members, would need a temporary home while Parramatta is redeveloped.

The 20,000-capacity Belmore Sports Ground is one option, with Penrith, Campbelltown and ANZ Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park.

Wanderers chief executive John Tsatsimas said the club looked at playing its FFA Cup tie against Brisbane Roar this month at Belmore before deciding on Pepper Stadium in Penrith.

"We haven't ruled out the possibility of taking future matches to the inner west where we have a large number of members and supporters," he said.

Mr Tsatsimas said the region was important to the Wanderers, with the club forming a partnership with the Canterbury District Football Association.

The idea was supported by the Back to Belmore group that has campaigned for more sporting events at the venue.

"It would bring unparalleled joy to soccer fans in the area," a spokesman said.

"Seeing Wanderers fans walk up and down the streets of Belmore would be fantastic and it would mean a lot for local businesses."

Belmore Sports Ground is used as a training base and headquarters for NRL club the Bulldogs and home ground for NSW National Premier League club Sydney Olympic FC.

The Bulldogs drew crowds of 17,000 and 19,000 this year in the first NRL games at Belmore since 1998.

The Bulldogs signed a long-term lease agreement with Canterbury Council to used Belmore Sports Ground until 2036. It means any decision on who uses the ground is made by the Bulldogs, not the council.

A Bulldogs spokesman said the issue had not been discussed by the club because the Wanderers had not made an approach to use Belmore apart from the recent FFA Cup match.

Sydney Olympic general manager Anthony Nicolaou said the Wanderers using Belmore would not stop the former National Soccer League club's goal to play in the A-League.

Canterbury District Football Association president Ian Holmes said the association would work with Wanderers to promote any games at Belmore.

 


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