The West Australian Football Commission has raised the possibility of relinquishing its lease on Patersons Stadium as part of offsetting the cost of the new Burswood stadium and setting up a new financial model for football once AFL games shift to the new stadium in 2018.
WAFC chairman Frank Cooper acknowledged the commission might give up the lease, which still has 76 years to run, as he defended football's financial structure after a State Government Budget decision to wipe a further $3 million off the WAFC's debt on Patersons Stadium, reducing it from $10.4 million to $7.4 million.
That money came on top of the Government's $1.2 billion commitment to the new Burswood stadium and more than $10 million to the Cockburn council for its community and aquatic facility that will also house the Fremantle Dockers' elite training base from 2017.
It comes ahead of the likelihood West Coast will get government money for a new training base at Lathlain Park, built in conjunction with the Town of Victoria Park.
Mr Cooper said it was appropriate the Government helped the WAFC with its debt on Patersons Stadium because as a result of the move to Burswood in 2018, the value of the Subiaco stadium in its current form would be greatly diminished. He said football's top priority was to be able to achieve the same financial outcomes at the new stadium that it was able to when it controlled the old one.
Mr Cooper said: "Our agenda with government has been a simple one - how do you replicate those outcomes?
"We don't want to be on the end of a government handout mentality. Football's strength . . . has been its ability to have an independent source of revenue through Subiaco Oval or Patersons Stadium."
Patersons Stadium could have greater value as a commercial or residential site.
Asked whether the WAFC was open to the Government taking over the Patersons Stadium lease to explore commercial or residential developments, Mr Cooper said: "Yes. It is possible that we would relinquish the lease, but we would relinquish the lease not just to formulate payment for the new stadium but formulating that new economic model for football as a whole."