Lease gives Perth soccer stadium new life

Floreat Athena Football Club’s chairman Paul Kotsoglo, Mayor Emma Cole and Football West’s head of member services Alex Novatsis pictured at Litis Stadium earlier this year.
Floreat Athena Football Club’s chairman Paul Kotsoglo, Mayor Emma Cole and Football West’s head of member services Alex Novatsis pictured at Litis Stadium earlier this year.

FLOREAT Athena Football Club has secured its home for the next decade.

The club will remain at Litis Stadium in Mt Hawthorn until at least 2030 after Vincent Council approved a 10-year lease at its November 12 meeting, which would also see greater community access to the facility.

It followed two years of negotiations between the soccer club and City.

Secretary Emmanuel Takoniatis said one year had remained on its existing lease, which was at the City’s discretion.

“A week ago there was a proposal to grant the club just a five-year lease with a five-year option, again at the City’s discretion,” he said.

“So to be able to persuade council enough to give us long tenure has been a significant challenge.”

Mr Takoniatis said the long-term lease would allow it to continue its focus on developing junior players.

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Vincent mayor Emma Cole said under the agreement, from October 2020 the club would lease the clubrooms, adjacent tiered seating and have stadium access from April to September while the City would manager the remainder of the stadium.

“As a growing, inner city community we want to make the most of all of our parks, reserves and open spaces,” she said.

“The new tenure arrangements for Litis Stadium will maximise our open space and allow our community to enjoy this historic sporting venue.”

Vincent mayor Emma Cole and Floreat Athena representatives at Litis Stadium.

The City wants to integrate the stadium with adjoining Britannia Reserve by removing the perimeter fencing.

Ms Cole said it would seek expressions of interest next year from other sports and community groups to use the facility during summer.

She said they would also work with the club to secure a $3 million Federal Government contribution, previously promised by One Nation Senator Peter Georgiou in August 2018, through the Community Development Grants program.

At the time, the funding announcement blindsided the City and the club later revealed it had narrowly avoided financial collapse thanks to donations.