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SBD Global/March 31, 2014/Facilities

A-League Sydney FC, Local Semi-Pro Club Sydney Olympic Battle For Training Center

Building a center of excellence "remains the holy grail" for A-League Sydney FC Chair Scott Barlow, who is "acutely aware that after a decade of existence the club desperately needs to prove it has some sense of direction," according to Michael Cockerill of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. At last, "the CoE is more than a dream." Soon it "could become a reality." For that to be achieved, however, the "richest club in the A-League needs to win a battle for hearts and minds with a club many associate with a bygone era," semi-pro side Sydney Olympic. Marrickville Council "will have to decide, but don't assume might is always right." Olympic, which has "close cultural ties to the district, have produced a tender based on community involvement which may yet usurp the claims of a club which, after all, is owned by a foreign billionaire." It's a "hard one to call." Two leading Labor Party figures -- former powerbroker Mark Arbib, "these days a Sydney FC board member, and Anthony Albanese, the local member -- may ultimately have a major influence on the outcome of the council's deliberations." Newington College, where former Sydney FC coach Ian Crook runs the football program, is "also believed to be part of both submissions." Crook also "worked briefly for Sydney Olympic as their technical director." Either way, Tempe Reserve -- "which encompasses the failed Newtown Jets social club -- is grand prize for the game." Situated on the "border of three local associations -- St George, Eastern Suburbs and Canterbury -- it has the size, and the location, to become an iconic new facility for hot-housing the best young talent from Sydney's eastern seaboard" (SMH, 3/30).
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