AFL to give Western Sydney team a boost - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL to give Western Sydney team a boost

By Adrian Warren 03/07/2009 07:12:32 PM Comments (0)

AFL chief executive officer Andrew Demetriou has revealed the Western Sydney franchise is poised to get even more generous concessions than the Gold Coast.

Western Sydney, slated for AFL inclusion in 2012, are using the same working party that formulated the concessions for the Gold Coast who'll enter the competition a year earlier.

And speaking at the new Blacktown Olympic Park AFL-cricket facility on Friday, Demetriou indicated that the new team from Sydney would be given a significant leg-up.

"They (the working party) have already identified that they will have to probably provide even more concessions (to Western Sydney)," Demetriou said.

The AFL boss didn't elaborate on whether the concessions would be limited to the draft or might include salary cap relief.

Gold Coast will get first, second, third, fifth, seventh, ninth, 11th and 13th picks in the 2010 national draft prior to their 2011 debut.

Demetriou praised the existing AFL clubs for their understanding of the unusual - and for them unfavourable - draft situation and said the list working party would finalise the Western Sydney concessions over the coming months.

"They want it to be competitive when it hits the ground. They want it to be probably more competitive earlier than the Gold Coast team, because it's terribly important that they are competitive," Demetriou said.

A number of Sydney Swans officials including chairman Richard Colless, chief executive Myles Baron-Hay and general manager-football Andrew Ireland were present at Blacktown.

While Swans coach Paul Roos has expressed concerns about the disastrous consequences of potentially having two struggling sides in Sydney, Ireland was philosophical about his team's battle to remain strong.

"It's up to us to make sure we manage our list properly," Ireland said.

Quizzed about potential home venues for the Western Sydney franchise, Demetriou said Sydney Showground was under consideration as well as the neighbouring and much larger ANZ Stadium.

Demetriou said there were four key criteria which the AFL Commission would require evidence of to ensure the new Sydney club could be viable and successful.

The club will need to establish a strong base of supporters and potential members, build strong support from business partners, connect with the local community and develop an identity that reflected the region.

"We anticipate that the Community Advisory Group has probably got the better part of nine to 10 months work in front of them," Demetriou said.

"We would hope by next February-March to be in a position, having discussed and consulted with our clubs along the way with some of the progress reports, that we would be in a position to decide on a license."

Asked if the entry of the 18th AFL team could be delayed if they struggled to meet the criteria, Demetriou said: "no looking back, we've only looked forward".

"We would do everything within our wherewithal, within our resources, to give every support to this group to help them validate the case."

Swans officials were impressed with the facility which on Friday staged its first competitive Australian Rules game, a national under-16 championship match between NSW and Queensland.

Sydney expects to play either NAB Cup or NAB Challenge matches at the venue from next year.

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