Mariners pitch to host first FFA Cup final

The Central Coast Mariners have submitted a bid to Football Australia in the hope they will be given the right to play their inaugural FFA Cup final on home soil.

The Mariners defeated Sydney FC last week to secure a spot in the final, which is slated to take place on February 5.

Due to other events in Melbourne, Melbourne Victory’s semi-final with Wellington Phoenix has been moved to Geelong’s GMHBA Stadium on Saturday.

And Central Coast chief executive Shaun Mielekamp has argued that the club could net the FA a significant windfall if given the green light to host the game in Gosford.

“If we can make a quick decision on this we have more time to promote,” he told AAP.

“We believe we could get around 15,000 people there and of course that’s variable because of COVID but depending on ticket pricing you could get a $300,000 payday.

“Right now there’s clear air on the Central Coast. The other venue being considered is AAMI Park and with the Australian Open, the Socceroos playing down there and a bunch of festivals on in Melbourne, there’s a lot of noise and there wouldn’t be much cut through.

“It would be a first for our region and we believe it would be a stronger commercial scenario. We’ve outlined our corporate and council commitments along with NSW state government support.

“I’m hoping by Thursday we’ll have an answer and have tickets on sale for the first final at Central Coast Stadium.”

After a lowly few years, Mielekamp said hosting a final would be a reward for the club’s investment in their academy which is bearing fruit under head coach Nick Montgomery.

“The majority of players who have got us here are locals,” he said.

“We have the likes of Oliver Bozanic and Matty Simon but also guys like Jacob Farrell, Harrison Steele and Matt Hatch who all mean something to the region.

“The pride that comes along with hosting a final would create memories and inspire other kids in the area.”