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National Rugby League Parramatta Eels' Parramatta Stadium will be renamed Pirtek Stadium. Pirtek has signed a five-year deal with Venues NSW with an option to extend as naming-rights partners at Parramatta Stadium. Parramatta member Geoff Lee said, "Plans on the A$29 million ($27M) redevelopment are well underway, and Pirtek's slogan is very appropriate as they have moved from the Parramatta Eels jersey sponsors to stadium naming-rights sponsors" (Parramatta). In Sydney, Daniel Lane reported when former Parramatta CEO Ken Edwards "demanded early in the season" that Pirtek increase its A$1M a year sponsorship to A$1.5M, the company "ended what had been a long-term and seemingly successful relationship." However, Pirtek "wanted to remain involved in the area via sport as a sign that it was committed to the western suburbs -- the place where the global company started." The deal means its brand "will feature prominently at all events staged at the ground," including Western Sydney Wanderers A-League games and Parramatta games (SMH, 10/9).
A football college modeled after a "world-renowned academy in Europe" was launched in Melbourne Thursday, according to Wes Hosking of the HERALD SUN. The Heart College of Football, "to be based at John Fawkner College" in northern Melbourne, will "deliver an elite training program alongside academic studies." It is a partnership "between the college and A-League football club Melbourne Heart." Australian Education Minister Martin Dixon said, "This groundbreaking football and education initiative will engage students who have a passion for sport and learning." The college, "which will be based in a multi-million dollar sports and learning complex being built in CB Smith Reserve," is modeled after "the Johan Cruyff Football Academy at Barcelona FC and Ajax FC" (HERALD SUN, 10/10).