Port, SANFL face battle to reach terms - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Port, SANFL face battle to reach terms

18/03/2009 08:16:36 PM Comments (0)

Port Adelaide and the SANFL must overcome fundamental differences of opinion if they are to successfully re-negotiate the stadium deal the Power stress as pivotal to their AFL future.

SANFL executive commissioner Leigh Whicker presented a firm case against many of the contentions of Port Adelaide chief executive Mark Haysman on Wednesday, suggesting it will take some time before the two parties can reach a satisfactory agreement.

The AFL has made it clear to the Power that they must sort out their dealings with the SANFL before the national body will agree to provide short-term funding relief but Whicker and Haysman appear to diverge markedly on several key points.

Whicker said the stadium deal was only a minor element of Port's financial problems, whereas Haysman has repeatedly referred to it as the core issue.

The figures presented by Haysman on the yields from AFL matches at the Gabba and Subiaco were dismissed as irrelevant by Whicker when placed alongside the deals that exist between Adelaide, Port Adelaide and the SANFL, which owns both AAMI Stadium and the AFL licences.

Thirdly, Whicker argued it was realistic to expect the Power to build a larger supporter and membership base that would allow the club to flourish without a redraw of the stadium agreement, even though Port have seemingly resigned themselves to home crowds of 25-30,000 - not enough to turn a decent profit under the current terms.

During an often heated press conference, Whicker reiterated that the Power were already receiving extra help from both the SANFL and the AFL, in the shape of $250,000 a year from each body over three years to cover for a crowds shortfall.

"The stadium deal is only a small part of their business plan and their problems and they know that, very simply," Whicker said on Wednesday.

"We're in a financial global crisis at the moment, it's not easy street at present and Port Adelaide are doing it tough like a lot of other clubs, but they're not in dire straits like some are making it out to be."

The SANFL has commissioned a financial modelling of AAMI Stadium through accounting firm Ernst and Young, and will not consider re-distributing funds from home matches at the venue until that report has been finished later this year.

Haysman, though, was adamant that the stadium deal had to be re-drafted so as to be more suitable for Port Adelaide.

"We are working through our stadium deal with the SANFL, so we'll work through that, and then re-submit some plans to the AFL and from there they'll look at what level of support they'll give us," Haysman said at Port's season launch.

"We need to make sure we come up with the right stadium deal from the SANFL, submit that through and then we may get some additional funding from the AFL.

"(It's) just breaking up the pie in a slightly different way to the way it's done now, the world's moved on and that just needs to be re-visited."

A young administrator new to the world of football, Haysman has clearly ruffled a few feathers in the SANFL's halls of influence, where Whicker proudly pointed out that they had met their budgetary targets for each of the past 24 years.

"Yes it is (annoying), I've spoken to Mark a couple of times, I've said `we've got to make sure you understand where we're heading', which he does," Whicker said.

"But he's under pressure, he's an outstanding young man and he'll be a great administrator.

"You don't change things overnight, and Mr Haysman is very comfortable in the negotiations we're having with him."

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