Peter V’landys has guaranteed another fight with the New South Wales state government unless promised upgrades to suburban grounds goes ahead sooner rather than later.
The boss of the ARLC met with premier Dominic Perrottet last week to thrash out an agreement to keep the grand final in Sydney, with money originally allocated to the upgrade of Accor Stadium now distributed elsewhere.
PointsBet Stadium, 4 Pines Park and Leichhardt Oval will be the beneficiaries, along with the previously announced rebuild of BlueBet Stadium.
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The commitment will keep the grand final in Sydney, despite Queensland reportedly offering $10 million a year to host the finale multiple times in the next decade. V’landys said prior to his meeting with the premier that the grand final was “up for grabs”.
Asked by Radio 2GB’s Ben Fordham whether he expected to see shovels in the ground or simply another feasibility study, V’landys made it clear he’s looking for work to start ASAP.
“If that’s the case we’ll have another fight, because we want it done now,” he said.
“They went to an election three years ago (promising to) spend $800m on Accor Stadium which was a poor investment.
“We assisted them in not going with that poor investment, and putting it into suburban stadiums.
“They’ve allocated the money over and over again, I don’t understand why they’re procrastinating and why they just don’t get on with it.”
V’landys conceded the negotiations with Perrottet and sports minister Stuart Ayres were “pretty tough” but said rugby league fans won’t be the only beneficiaries.
“What it will mean is they will spend money on public facilities, it’s must-haves, like toilets and food and beverage (outlets) and cover, so people don’t get wet,” the ARLC boss said.
“We want Shark Park to have great facilities for the Sharks fans, we want the Tigers fans at the spiritual home at Leichhardt. Of course, Penrith’s going to get a brand new stadium similar to CommBank Stadium which is probably one of the best stadiums in the world.
“This is a suburb asset. It’s not only for rugby league, it’s for everything. Athletics, school sport, that other game they play, soccer.
“There’s a number of ways it can be used. It’s a part of the suburb, a part of the community.”
V’landys said people’s expectations have changed from the days where they would crowd onto the hill.
“Fans require good facilities to attend the matches,” he said.
“People demand comfort, they don’t demand cement seats and hotdogs.”
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