Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Sporting boost: new precinct for Cobram

A sporting precinct has emerged as the main driver behind merger of Cobram and Victory soccer clubs.

ROBERT HENSON July 30, 2014 3:45am

Future of football: Preliminary concept plans for a multi-purpose sporting precinct, adacent to the Cobram Italian Social Club (bottom left).

A new sporting precinct has been revealed as the major motivating factor behind Cobram soccer clubs merging last week.

On Wednesday night about 100 Cobram Soccer Club and 80 Cobram Victory Football Club members voted overwhelmingly to merge into one entity for the 2015 season.

Italian Social Club president Anthony Barca said talk of the sporting precinct had brought the clubs together in the past year, with plans drawn up in recent months.

Conceptual plans show three fields adjacent to the Cobram Italian Social Club, with a pavilion structure hosting change rooms and a grandstand.

The social club is acquiring the 6.8ha property from Oasis Homes chief executive Libro Mustica, who bought land specifically for the project.

Mr Barca said the sporting precinct would be Cobram’s home of soccer, but could also serve other sports.

‘‘At the end of the day we do need a home for soccer, but there’s no reason we couldn’t have a multi-purpose oval,’’ he said.

‘‘That’s why we’re calling it a sporting precinct.’’

Mr Barca said because Italian Social Club was purchasing the site, it would oversee the soccer club’s operations.

‘‘What we would then do is let the soccer club run its own entity, as it does today, but be accountable to the Italian club.’’

Mr Barca said the plan’s benefits would extend beyond the Cobram clubs.

‘‘We want it to be Cobram’s sporting complex, not the Italian Social Club’s sporting complex.

‘‘We need the people in the door (of the Italian Social Club), and soccer needs somewhere to go. It’s all about the community.’’

The move is designed to bring more patrons into the social club, which currently hosts a few major functions a month, as well as other regular bookings.

With plans in early stages, costs are not yet known, Mr Barca said.

‘‘It could easily cost $1million, or $500000 — it depends on what you’re producing, and whether there is state or federal funding.

‘‘And in-kind support — we are going to ask the community for help.’’

State Member for Murray Valley Tim McCurdy, after assisting in previous merger attempts, said the new soccer club entity had his full support.

‘‘The only downside, we need to be careful there’s still an opportunity for young kids to play,’’ Mr McCurdy said.

‘‘Merging two sides into one, you have to make sure there’s other avenues to get a game somewhere.’’

Mr McCurdy said the merged entity was more likely to receive Victorian Government funding than two separate clubs.

‘‘Certainly once they’ve come together we’ll be sitting down with the group on what requirements they may have and how the government might be able to assist.’’

The facility could be ready as soon as midway through next season, with soccer clubs currently playing on Cobram Showgrounds and Barooga Recreation Reserve.

Mr Barca said the facility needed a new name, and threw it open to the community, calling for suggestions.

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