Penniless Port seeks emergency funding - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Penniless Port seeks emergency funding

17/03/2009 07:27:46 PM Comments (0)

Port Adelaide's financial outlook will remain terminally dire unless the SANFL gives ground on a stadium deal the AFL club simply cannot afford.

The Power made their position clear after it was revealed that they had gone cap-in-hand to the AFL commission in search of millions of dollars in emergency funding to sustain the short-term life of the club in a hellish economic climate.

The league has been asked to provide more than $1 million a year for the next three years to shore-up the team from Alberton, until such time as the stadium arrangement, which sees Port lose money on home games unless they return crowds of at least 28,000 spectators, is amended to more accurately reflect the club's limited supporter base.

"The key is we need to get the economics at AAMI Stadium to stand up based on crowds of 25-35,000 people, and outside of showdowns those are the crowds we can expect to get - we've got to face reality on that," Haysman said on Tuesday.

"We've got to make sure the economic model stacks up based on crowds at that level.

"In the short term we may need some transitional assistance from the AFL over two or three years while we bed down a new stadium arrangement."

Haysman said the Power's stadium problems were made clear when their profit margins were lined up against those of other non-Victorian clubs.

"It's about getting the right share of the pie, and the pie is what's generated out of the footy economy in this state," he said.

"Looking at comparisons, if we were playing over at Subiaco, given the arrangements they have over there, we'd be somewhere between one $1.5 and $2.5 million a year better off, if we were playing up in Brisbane with the sort of crowds they get, which aren't far off ours, it's somewhere from $2.5 to $3.5 million a year better off."

The AFL is well aware of the shortfall, but is likely to pressure the SANFL to bring a more rapid resolution to stadium negotiations before agreeing to the handouts Port have requested.

"They've got issues around stadium economics and they're working very closely with the SANFL to try to solve that," said AFL chief operating officer Gillon McLachlan.

"Like here in Victoria, if you don't have your stadium economics right, you can't make the money you need to survive in this football competition.

"We're obviously concerned, but in the end we know this is a football club with huge history ... we will work with the SANFL, with the Port Adelaide board, with their management team, to work through this."

McLachlan said the club's financial problems had existed "for years" but had "come to a head" due to the deterioration of global economic markets.

The SANFL, which owns both the Port Adelaide and Adelaide AFL licences, has been working with the Power for months on the issue, but does not appear entirely willing to accept that Port should be allowed to keep a greater share of stadium dividends than the Crows have done.

"As the holder of Port Adelaide's head licence, the SANFL recognises its responsibility to take a proactive role to ensure the clubs long-term financial viability is not placed at risk," SANFL chief executive Leigh Whicker said.

How this will all affect Port's on-field performances in 2009 remains to be seen, but Haysman said the club had come to learn the hard way that playing success was not a surefire guarantee of financial safety.

"On-field success though doesn't necessarily deliver the results you need to sustain the footy club," he said.

"That's the challenge we've had and the realisation over the last few years that there's other things that need to be sorted."

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