WAFL clubs' stadium concern

John Townsend
WAFC chief executive Gary Walton. Pic: Ben Crabtree/WA News

The WA Football Commission has been urged to reveal its plan B if it does not win the rights to manage the new Perth Stadium.

As the nine WAFL clubs demanded urgent talks over the likely cuts to their annual distribution, their council of presidents sought clarification about the management of the new Burswood venue.

WAFL clubs fear their revenue will be slashed further if football does not receive guaranteed income from Burswood.

"What is plan B if footy does not get to run the stadium? Everything the commission seems to be doing is based on the presumption that they will manage Burswood," presidents council chairman Brett Raponi said.

"But what happens if they don't get the management rights?"

The commission is considering a joint bid with ticketing giant Ticketmaster and caterer Delaware North for the Burswood management rights.

WAFC chief executive Gary Walton acknowledged football's challenging landscape and said finding a new economic model remained the sport's priority.

"The WAFC's full focus is on the current negotiations with the State to work out a new economic model for all of football in WA," Walton said.

"The management of the nPS (new Perth Stadium) is one part of this negotiation and the WAFC, with its commercial partners, will bid for these rights."

The commission has financial issues, including a $10.4 million loan on Patersons Stadium. It is understood the commission this year asked the State Government to pay out the debt, but only received $3 million.

It has also flagged a $1 million funding shortfall next year, prompting moves to trim the $35,000 fee paid to WAFL clubs for each player drafted and the $580,000 annual club coaching and management grant.

Clubs were angered that the announcement of the likely cuts came only several days before they completed their annual accounts on October 31.

"Every club has already budgeted for next year," Raponi said.

"Expenditure has been determined based on revenue forecasts for next year."

Raponi is among a group of influential sports administrators and former players questioning the role, performance and future of the WAFC.

Set up by the State Government in 1989 when WA football was broke and had only one asset - Subiaco Oval - the game has come full circle. The remaining 76-year lease on the ground remains football's most substantial asset and future funding still the game's most significant issue.

Former WAFC football director Grant Dorrington is seeking election to the commission this month. Dorrington will contest three vacancies, with incumbents Brett Fullarton, Larry Kickett and Peter Coleman all standing for re-election. TAFE executive Julia Burns withdrew from the race yesterday.

"What is plan B if footy does not get to run the stadium?""WAFL presidents council chairman *Brett Raponi *

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