Football could walk away from Patersons Stadium, its spiritual home of more than 100 years, to cash in its long-term lease and shore up its finances when the $700 million stadium is finished at Burswood in 2018.
WA Football Commission chief executive Gary Walton has confirmed using the entire Patersons site for commercial development was an "extreme" option being considered as talks start with the State Government on financial arrangements for the new stadium.
Fremantle has revealed it is also investigating a move from its spiritual home at Fremantle Oval to a possible training base at Cockburn.
And the WAFC will hold talks with AFL heavyweights within weeks on possibly changing the licensing and ownership structures of West Coast and Fremantle with the prospect of reducing its control of the clubs given funding is secure.
In an exclusive interview with _The West Australian _, Mr Walton stressed the preferred option for Patersons Stadium, which has been used by the WAFL since 1908 and is West Coast and Fremantle's home ground, is that it remains the commission's headquarters and a training ground for the Eagles who want to build an elite training facility on adjacent Kitchener Park.
But there are concerns over what it will cost to maintain the stadium and uncertainty over a new financial model for WA football which has previously used revenue from the stadium to fund football in WA.
Mr Walton said options included setting up the stadium as an elite training facility, partial demolition of older grandstands at the western and northern ends for commercial development or selling the lease.
What was the best option would depend on financial arrangements at the new stadium.
"There is a clear preference from the football commission that West Coast be here and be on Kitchener Park," Mr Walton said.
"We align with West Coast on that. It is not as straightforward as just saying to West Coast you can put buildings on Kitchener Park. It (the WAFC) has a long-term lease over eight hectares that derives significant revenue that seeps back into the system. In six years time it might be eight hectares of non-revenue generating land.
"You could have West Coast and a football oval and development around the west end and along the northern side," he said. "There has even been a notion where you flip the oval from east west to north south, keep Kitchener Park and create the development area, make it bigger in terms of what goes on around there."
"The absolute other extreme is football is not based here and this eight hectares gets used for something else. You can't be naive and not look at the range of things."