AFL forging ahead with west Sydney plans - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL forging ahead with west Sydney plans

By Roger Vaughan 17/03/2009 10:49:15 PM Comments (0)

The AFL will forge ahead with planning for their western Sydney expansion team, despite the failing economy.

League chief operating officer Gillon McLachlan acknowledges the enormity of the project, but the AFL insist it is a battle they must win.

Outside AFL headquarters, there is so far no great enthusiasm around the league for the second Sydney team.

A year ago, AFL commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick outlined the league's plans to expand to an 18-team competition, with proposed sides in western Sydney and the Gold Coast.

Although the commission are yet to sign off on the GC17 franchise, plans are well-advanced.

This year, McLachlan says the AFL will set up an advisory board for the western Sydney project.

He added there will be ongoing work on where the team would train and play, as well as planning on how to build the team's playing list.

"What we really need is actually winning the hearts and minds of 16-17,000 people, that basically decides whether this team lives or fails," McLachlan said.

"That's the focus for us, we've been building that base.

"In the end, you're going to have to take a leap of faith and that's still two or three years away.

"As I've said before, we know it's going to be hard, but it's something we have to do if we're going to remain relevant to Sydney as every other sports code grows.

"For us to have a share of voice, we need more than 38 Sydney Swans players."

The league's outlook is they are well-placed financially, despite the state of the economy.

"Of course, the economy has an impact in terms of corporate support, but we've always been talking about 2012 and we're certainly hopeful the economy will have turned well before then," McLachlan said.

Setting up an advisory group was also an important early step in the league's planning for the Gold Coast team.

"I think you will see the development of an advisory board, the same way we did on the Gold Coast - a group of business, community, media, football leaders who will basically work on behalf of key stakeholders in that greater west of Sydney region," he said.

"They will be our sounding board."

Meanwhile, the commission will further discuss the Gold Coast team when they meet on Friday.

The project has gained important boosts this month, with a funding commitment from the Queensland government for a new stadium.

The Federal government have also indicated they are likely to help finance the new stadium.

But it is unclear what might happen if the Bligh government loses the upcoming Queensland state election.

"I don't want to talk about politics - we never have and never will buy into politics," McLachlan said.

"We need a redeveloped stadium for a team to play on the Gold Coast, we've made huge inroads in that over the last 10 days."

The commission is yet to officially sign off on the Gold Coast team.

"I think we're close, I can't speak for the commission - they had a series of questions which we hopefully have gone close to answering," McLachlan said.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news