WAFC eyes off Fremantle Oval
WAFC eyes off Fremantle Oval

The WA Football Commission will contemplate shifting its administration base to Fremantle Oval under options being considered for the future of the Dockers' existing headquarters.

International sports marketing company Gemba has been commissioned by Fremantle to produce a report on what could happen to the Fremantle Oval precinct when the AFL club's planned relocation to Cockburn is complete.

And _The West Australian _understands the WAFC could be among the potential suitors to take over the lease on Fremantle's current home if Dockers chiefs decide not to hand control of the prime real estate back to the City of Fremantle.

The commission is based at Patersons Stadium, but the Subiaco venue's long-term viability remains in serious doubt beyond the completion of Burswood's new $1 billion stadium.

Informal discussions have been held about the merits of moving WA football's administrative hub to Fremantle.

The WAFC wants to create a centre of excellence that could house its highly-successful State under-16 and under-18 programs.

The Fremantle Oval facility is potentially suitable for that purpose, with the ground floor containing a commercial gym and a 25m heated training pool.

It is understood that shifting the WAFC offices to the Burs-wood stadium is unlikely given the financial cost of such a move.

WAFL clubs South and East Fremantle have been asked about their interest in leasing the Dockers' headquarters.

The Department of Sport and Recreation and the University of Notre Dame have also been part of discussions to find a potential lessee.

The lease for the 2000sqm building's upstairs floor space has been valued at about $150,000 per year. The ground floor could fetch closer to $250,000 a year.

The Dockers aim to complete their new $114 million training and administration facility in Cockburn by 2016-17.

A club spokesman said the report on the Fremantle Oval precinct was being prepared in consultation with key stakeholders, including the WAFC, but would not confirm the document's expected release date.

WAFC chief executive Gary Walton said the commission had been assessing its own options, but a decision had not yet been made on the organisation's future location.

"At the present time there is considerable uncertainty and all these considerations are subject to satisfactory negotiations and agreements being reached," Walton said.

South Fremantle want to again become the primary tenant of Fremantle Oval.

Under existing arrangements, they are restricted on how often they can train on the ground.

The club also cannot book concerts or other events that were a major boost to coffers before Fremantle's introduction to the AFL in 1995.

"At the present time there is considerable uncertainty …""WAFC chief executive *Gary Walton *

The West Australian

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