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Volume 10 No. 25


Australian Football League CEO Andrew Demetriou confirmed that "two suburban grounds from a bygone era, Carlton's Visy Park and Richmond's Punt Road, could re-emerge as boutique venues," according to Jon Pierik of THE AGE. Whether this "is a ploy to put pressure on Etihad Stadium to sell the venue to the AFL earlier than the scheduled date -- March 8, 2025 -- thereby improving the financial distributions to struggling clubs, remains to be seen." However, Demetriou said that "the league had conducted a feasibility study on Carlton's home ground." He said, "Visy Park can work. But we've got a couple of other options. I think Punt Road has got some legs." A redevelopment of either ground could cost up to A$150M ($157M). AFL Chair Mike Fitzpatrick said last week that "the league had been unable to agree to a price with Melbourne Stadiums Ltd., acting on behalf of the five superannuation stakeholders in Etihad." He said that "time was running out for a deal to make financial sense to the AFL, for the league will automatically take ownership of the stadium" for A$1 in '25. Melbourne "has also investigated whether its training venue at Casey Fields could host home-and-away matches." The Blues "also want to ditch Etihad Stadium as their home ground from 2015 and shift eight home games to the MCG, where a better financial deal awaits." The economics of playing there "could also help smaller clubs such as the Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne when hosting interstate teams." The break-even attendance "would be far lower than required at Etihad Stadium" (THE AGE, 3/26).

Australian Football League CEO Andrew Demetriou has refused to help fund cricket's proposed exit from the Melbourne Cricket Ground, "despite top-level talks putting pressure on the AFL to contribute" to the A$15M ($15.6M) shortfall needed to send the Sheffield Shield to a new home, according to Caroline Wilson of THE AGE. Cricket Victoria bosses met Demetriou on the eve of the AFL season, launched in Adelaide and Perth last weekend, "with the MCG kept contractually vacant in case Victoria reached the shield final." The summer sport also held talks on Monday with the Melbourne Cricket Club, "which the AFL believes should pay the extra millions required to rebuild the Junction Oval." Demetriou: "We won't be paying any money for the development of the Junction Oval. We haven't got the money." Widespread frustration has accompanied the '13 season launch, with worse potentially to come next season, "when cricket could keep football off the MCG until April given the push for a revised calendar for the next summer of cricket which would push the Sheffield Shield final back another week" (THE AGE, 3/26).