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Volume 6 No. 214


A "tense behind-the-scenes battle has emerged" between the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Australian Football League over the stadium's decision to "stage three multi-million-dollar International Champions Cup" football matches on key dates of the '15 AFL season, according to Caroline Wilson of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. In a play for games in July next year "potentially involving" Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea and Man City, the MCG has "infuriated its biggest client, which has already been forced to restructure the 2015 season due to World Cup Cricket." The dispute has "also involved the Victorian Government -- which is financially backing the ICC games along with significant private funding -- and the Victorian Major Events Company, which has strongly supported the MCG." Neither the AFL nor the MCG would comment on Tuesday but the AFL governing body "remains disenchanted at the MCG's decision coming at a time the AFL is attempting to forge closer links with its biggest stadium." AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan "expressed his displeasure" to Melbourne Cricket Club CEO Stephen Gough last month in a letter dated July 16. McLachlan's letter "came in response to a letter from Gough on July 9 instructing the AFL not to schedule games at the MCG over key dates on the two winter weekends" (THE AGE, 8/13).