Large debt central to MCG talks: Gough - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Large debt central to MCG talks: Gough

By John Salvado 01/04/2009 08:15:19 PM Comments (0)

The MCG's $320 million debt gives them less scope for greater generosity towards AFL clubs who play at the venue, Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) chief executive Stephen Gough says.

The 10 Victorian AFL clubs believe they are being short-changed by the management at Melbourne's two venues - the MCG and Etihad Stadium.

The AFL want to re-negotiate their current deal with the MCC - which runs until 2032 - to provide greater returns to clubs, who believe other codes such as soccer get a much bigger per capita return.

A revised offer from the MCC was rejected by the AFL last week.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou said last week that the MCC offer was worth $45-50 million if the current contract with the venue was extended another decade to 2042.

"As far as we're concerned, we put a very generous offer on the table, we don't have to put anything on the table," Gough said on Wednesday.

"And the clear difference between us and the other stadiums, as the AFL know, is we built this with the support of the AFL and the government and we've got over $320 million of debt to service.

"They don't have that debt in WA so to make the comparison between the two stadiums is wrong based on the facts.

"It's apples and oranges."

The MCG underwent a major facelift for the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Gough also said any future redevelopment of the southern side of the ground, which was last done in the early 1990s and includes the AFL Members Reserve, would make it even less likely the MCC could increase its financial returns to the AFL clubs.

"The Great Southern Stand option really initially came from the AFL who wanted to look at the redevelopment of the southern side," said Gough.

"We said we'd have a look at it, we've got some views on what might be possible.

"But as the AFL acknowledge, if we do something on the southern stand all we do is increase our debt which makes it even less likely that we can do anything greater for the clubs.

"It's a balance between debt and return."

The AFL want the Victorian government to intervene in the negotiations.

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