The Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) calls on the Victorian Government and Football Federation Australia (FFA) to re open communications regarding the much anticipated Australia vs Greece Football series scheduled for later in 2016.
The GCM understands that negotiations for a Melbourne leg of the two match series was initially slated for Etihad stadium only for negotiations between the Victorian Government and the FFA to have come to a halt with Newcastle now favoured as the alternate site for the second game – the first having been secured for Sydney.
The GCM is a peak community organization in Melbourne representing the 300,000 people in Victoria that have Greek heritage. Melbourne is in fact well known as the largest speaking Greek city in the world outside of Greece.
President of the Greek Community, Mr Bill Papastergiadis was quite concerned about the impending announcement;
“The Greek Community of Melbourne are stunned that the scheduled match between the 2 countries is moved from Melbourne to Newcastle. It makes sense on so many levels that the match should take place in Melbourne. First, Melbourne has a rich history in promoting the biggest games in the world. Secondly, the last time the 2 countries played in Melbourne in 2005, over 95,000 people attended the MCG match. Thirdly, the last game in Melbourne prior to the Asian Cup was in 2013. Melburnians have been starved of matches with the Socceroos in the interim.”
The 2005 meeting of the two teams saw unprecedented celebrations with a dedicated community street party to welcome the team in Lonsdale Street attracting 60,000 people to the historic Greek precinct in the city.
“Greece is the former European football champions and have regularly been ranked in the top 15 nations in the world. It beggars belief that Melbourne will not feature in the schedule” said Papastergiadis.
“The broader Greek community in Melbourne is not only proud of its European roots. Over 15 players of Greek heritage have proudly warn the Socceroos shirt and the current coach, Ange Postecoglou was born in Greece.”
It would be a travesty for Melbourne to lose this match to Newcastle or any other city and we call on the Victorian Government and the FFA to ensure that this does not happen.