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Iconic MCG prepares for billion-dollar revamp

Iconic MCG prepares for billion-dollar revamp

Melbourne has been on the ball to follow Adelaide, Perth and Sydney who have either been redeveloping existing grounds or building brand new state-of-the-art facilities.

The proposed AUS$1 billion renovation of Victoria's iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) includes a complete revamp of the precinct surrounding the stadium, to better connect the stadium with Melbourne Park as well as introduce a fancy five-star hotel.

AFL clubs and Cricket Australia are among the MCG tenants involved in consultations, with stakeholders invited to assess whether minor modifications would be preferable and more financially sensible than wholesale changes.

The State Government has committed AUS$2m to complete the business case for the redevelopment project, which is in addition to funding allocated by the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC).

A statement from MCC Chief Executive Stuart Fox explained: "This funding will allow the MCC and the State Government to develop detailed plans around scope options, funding and timing for possible future redevelopment of the MCG.

"We have a shared commitment to ensuring the MCG remains the People's Ground, a world-class stadium and caters to everyone's evolving needs into the future,"

The MCG has hosted soccer matches since 1912, ranging from international friendlies through to Olympic matches and Oceania and Asia World Cup qualifiers.

The Socceroos, competing in Qatar 2022 with a tough group to navigate from that includes defending champions France, will benefit from the MCG project. For those fans who want to follow all the action from the Middle East and fancy a flutter should check out the latest FIFA World Cup predictions before tackling their bets.

Australia have never set the world alight at the sport's showpiece event, managing just two victories from 14 matches played, but the heat and humidity in Qatar could work in the favour of the Socceroos.

This ambitious billion-dollar project will rebuild the southern stand, which was renamed the Shane Warne Stand after the legendary Australian cricketer passed away in March, to increase the stadium's capacity to 105,000.

The fact that the Socceroos could be cheered on by one of the world's largest ever football attendances bodes well for Soccer Australia and putting the team firmly on the world map.

The Shane Warne Stand, seen as partly self-funding the project with the introduction of bars and restaurants, is aiming to have decks facing Yarra Park to open it up to its surroundings.

It is also being redesigned to improve infrastructure, especially with transportation connections, with a view to potentially reaching the Melbourne and Olympic Parks precincts.

The new grandstand, which will incorporate new elite player facilities, is planned for a revamp that would change the face of the MCG forever.

Lights will be integrated into the roof by increasing the height of the stadium. Yet these would end the usage of the world-famous landmark of the six light towers, which all visitors to MCG fondly remember.

However, even though these would be deemed redundant the fact that they are strongly associated with the MCG means that these six light towers would be kept and integrated into the new stand because of its history.

Sports Minister Martin Pakula released a statement: "The MCG is our most iconic stadium and we're working with the Melbourne Cricket Club and the Melbourne Cricket Ground Trust to plan what's needed for decades to come."

Major works on the redevelopment project are expected to take place after the 2026 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony at the MCG. However, the MCG is under consideration to host the final of the 2027 Rugby World Cup so could cause further delays.

The MCG will still be used for major events, including Australia's 2026 World Cup campaign when they aim to reach the FIFA World Cup finals for the sixth time on the spin, as redevelopment is anticipated to be undertaken in sections.

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