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Doyle backs Dees' Docklands base

THE Melbourne Football Club should relocate to a yet-to-be built elite sporting centre at Docklands, lord mayor Robert Doyle urged this week.

Cr Doyle said that the Demons would inevitably out-grow their present base at AAMI Park, which is shared with two soccer and two rugby clubs. He said he would hate the club that bore the name Melbourne to lack a city presence.

''In 25 years' time, I can tell you the MFC will not be based in AAMI Park and therefore the City of Melbourne, and the Melbourne Football Club and the government of Victoria have to work out do we want the MFC, the MFC, without a presence in Melbourne?'' Cr Doyle said.

He said a new sporting facility with a full size AFL oval could be built near the Bolte Bridge, beyond the current New Quay residential development.

MFC chief executive Cameron Schwab said there was great potential in the proposal. It was possible the AAMI complex would become too small for the clubs now based there. ''If we [the AAMI-based clubs] all grew as much as we have in the previous 20 years, chances are that's right, but that's the time frame [20 years] we are looking at. It's a very long-term proposition,'' Mr Schwab said. ''We are keen to explore the possibilities.''

The area involved is close to the Docklands film studios, which may ultimately make way for more appropriate development, according to city planners.

Cr Doyle said the move would not interfere with the Demons' summer training base in outer-suburban Casey. Most clubs now ran a ''two-campus operation''.

''It's an idea that's been kicked around for a while. [The developer] Buxton's have talked to the MFC. The MFC have talked to us and Places Victoria. I think we all agree if it can be made to work, it's a good idea in principle. They could easily, I believe, accommodate both Casey and a city presence,'' Cr Doyle said.

''I would hate to see the day when there was no presence of the MFC in Melbourne.''