Western United lands regional fixtures, eager to build connection

December 3, 2020 BY

GMHBA Stadium has been without fans for much of this year, but Western United will be hoping to see plenty of its fans return when it hosts A-League action in December. Photo: @GAZiPHOTO

WESTERN United FC is eagerly anticipating hosting Adelaide United at GMHBA Stadium on December 28, in what will be the first match allowing fans can attend since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

The A-League announced its 2020/21 fixture last week with Geelong set to host three matches and Ballarat’s MARS Stadium to host two. But Western United CEO Chris Pehlivanis is confident the club will deliver a fourth game in Geelong, with the club currently in negotiations with the key stakeholders.

Pehlivanis said it was extremely exciting to bring the game regionally and was eager to continue growing the connection with the community.

“It’s exciting to get back to the regional cities, we want to build our base there,” he said.

“It’s amazing, hopefully we can get as many people as we can in the stadium. After the year we’ve had I think people are craving it.

“To build that rapport we need to bring our brand to those communities and keep showing we’re committed to those regions.

“(With no BBL in Geelong this year), It gives us a great chance to be the only summer sport team in the region.”

The home game, which will be the second match of the A-League season as it returns on December 27, will be accompanied by matches at GMHBA Stadium on January 6 and January 24 while Ballarat will get a taste of A-League action on January 12 and Western United’s final home and away season match on May 22.

Kardinia Park Stadium Trust (KPST) CEO Gerard Griffin said it was great to welcome back the community to the stadium following such a testing year. While Kardinia Park will not see any Big Bash League cricket, having previously hosted Melbourne Renegades, to land multiple A-League fixtures was huge.

“KPST are thrilled to see the return of events to Kardinia Park from late December 2020,” Griffin said.

“We are actively working with the relevant government agencies to understand the logistics and safety standards that we will need to follow to re-open for events.

“It has been a long year for our community and the stadium with little to look forward to, but that will soon change with Western United playing three or four games at Kardinia Park.

“Unfortunately, Geelong will not see the Renegades this season, but we look forward to hosting them again during the 2021/2022 summer season.”

Geelong hosted three AFL matches earlier this year, but crowds were unable to attend.

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