Adelaide Oval deal my legacy: AFL boss - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Adelaide Oval deal my legacy: AFL boss

Sam Lienert 11/08/2011 06:14:26 PM Comments (0)

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou says coaxing South Australia's cricket and football interests to shelve 40 years of "hatred" and commit to the Adelaide Oval redevelopment might be his greatest legacy.

Demetriou said the planned $535 million revamp of the historic ground, announced earlier this year, would benefit SA for the next century, but had been incredibly hard to engineer.

He likened persuading the state's rival sporting bodies to work together to brokering peace in the Middle East and described it as "probably the most difficult thing I've ever been involved in."

"In South Australia, football and cricket, unbeknownst to me, because I'm not South Australian, had forged a hatred relationship over 40 years," Demetriou told a business lunch in Melbourne on Thursday, when asked what the legacy of his time at the AFL might be.

"They disliked each other intensely, it was like the Middle East peace process.

"To actually get the two bodies into a room one day secretly and ... say football, you're about to spend $100 million at AAMI Stadium and cricket, you're about to spend $75 million at Adelaide Oval, I know you dislike each other, but why don't we talk about actually doing something together at Adelaide Oval.

"Much to my surprise, at the end of two-and-a-half hours there seemed to be a lot more in common than not.

"For two years after that, I kept getting told it's never going to happen, it won't work, it won't happen and there were lots of arguments.

"Two-and-a-half years down the track we got there and just a couple of weeks ago it got passed through the (SA parliament's) upper house."

AFL games are due to be played from 2014 at what will be a 50,000-capacity stadium.

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