Decision On Allianz, ANZ Stadiums Expected To Be Delayed
It has been billed as "Sydney’s greatest soap opera" and "like any great drama," there could be a "surprising twist in the tail" for Allianz and ANZ Stadiums as "D-Day threatens to turn into another day of delay," according to Brent Read of THE AUSTRALIAN. Amid speculation that a cabinet meeting on Thursday "would finally provide some clarity on the NSW government’s stadiums strategy," there are "growing fears" that an announcement will be stalled until next week at the earliest. The wait "goes on." NSW State Sports Minister Stuart Ayres attended an NSW Rugby League event in the shadows of ANZ Stadium on Wednesday and "refused to even confirm he would put the futures of the city’s biggest sporting venues before cabinet." The expectation is that he will propose a A$2B ($1.6B) redevelopment that would allow for both venues to be rebuilt, "although that could result in the NSW government delaying any formal announcement" as it balances the books and potentially looks to "justify the increased expenditure by procuring more content from the major sports." The National Rugby League has "already committed 20 years of grand finals to Sydney once ANZ Stadium is turned into a state-of-the-art rectangular venue." There "are many" who suspect that Ayres "has done his best to delay a decision on the stadium strategy to aid the cause of Allianz Stadium." He "may be delaying the inevitable when it comes to the grand final." Ayres: "I want to make this very, very clear -- we want to invest a significant amount of taxpayer funds in renewing our sporting infrastructure in NSW. I won't be giving up the grand final lightly" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/19).
WAR OF WORDS: In Sydney, Adrian Proszenko reported NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley "has ridiculed suggestions Allianz Stadium is a potential death trap," claiming the government's push to knock down and rebuild the venue could jeopardize the 20-year commitment to stage NRL grand finals in Sydney. Ayres: "The occupancy certificate is that we have until 2019 to correct a number of the occupancy safety and security issues in the stadium." Foley "slammed the safety concerns as rubbish," labeling them part of a campaign to "divert funds from ANZ." He said, "They have dropped stories to the papers saying people are going to die, yet they still play there the next Saturday. Do you think any government, if people were at risk of dying in a government-owned venue, would open it the next weekend for a footy game? It's just rubbish" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 10/18).