AFL Gold Coast deal, but licence on hold - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL Gold Coast deal, but licence on hold

By Sam Lienert 18/11/2008 05:33:38 PM Comments (0)

The AFL has reached an agreement with the Queensland government, allowing the proposed new Gold Coast club to play their home games on the tourist strip once they join the top-tier competition.

But the AFL was unable to confirm on Tuesday that their plan to have the new team enter the league in 2011 would go ahead on schedule or that the Gold Coast bid team GC17 had been successful in their licence application.

The club will still enter the under-18 TAC Cup competition next year as planned.

Speaking after a two-day AFL Commission meeting in Sydney, league chairman Mike Fitzpatrick said it was hoped the licence issue would be finalised by the commission's December meeting.

He said GC17 had met the criteria set for them by the AFL, but in the current uncertain economic climate, the league needed more time to evaluate the new team's introduction.

"The commission today did not make a final decision about the licence," Fitzpatrick said.

"It has instead asked the AFL executive to clarify several matters from today's discussion and provide a further analysis and financial modelling on the impact of the new club on the existing competition."

But he heralded the new agreement with the Queensland government, which overrides a previous contract under which a second AFL club in the state was required to play all home games at the Gabba until 2015.

Under the new deal, the AFL will schedule extra games at the Gabba to help recover the costs of the ground's $260 million redevelopment, as well as fitting out new changerooms at the ground.

The new Gold Coast team will play their home games against the Lions at the Gabba until 2015 and will also have the opportunity to schedule other home games there.

The Lions will have the opportunity to stage an additional home and away game at the ground each season until 2020 by making a deal for a another club to move one of their home games.

An Easter Thursday blockbuster game will be held at the Gabba each year until 2020, subject to cricket commitments.

Fitzpatrick said the AFL was in negotiations regarding the development of a stadium on the Gold Coast, but was unable to comment publicly on their progress.

He admitted it was disappointing they were unable to confirm the granting of the licence to GC17 yet, but paid tribute to the group's efforts.

He said they had amassed more than 42,000 supporters, gained the backing of 111 businesses, built a business plan and established a strong connection with the Gold Coast community.

GC17 chairman John Witheriff said his group was pleased with the positive feedback from the AFL.

"We understand the AFL still has some work to do before making a final decision on the license and we remain extremely confident of a positive outcome for the Gold Coast," Witheriff said.

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