Kangaroos group to mobilise members - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kangaroos group to mobilise members

By Guy Hand 29/10/2007 08:55:21 PM Comments (0)

Kangaroos supporters have mobilised in the wake of the possible relocation of the AFL club to the Gold Coast, forming an organisation aimed at returning decision-making power to Roos members.

We Are North Melbourne (WANM) wants members to have a stronger voice in the club's unwieldy power process, which currently ensures key decisions on the Roos' future are made by shareholders rather than members.

The Kangaroos' unique and complex share structure means the eventual decision on a permanent move to the Gold Coast - which the AFL wants and the club's Victorian-based fans don't - would be made without any direct input from Roos members.

The AFL wants a permanent presence on the Gold Coast by 2010, and they are expected to offer the Kangaroos a lucrative relocation package to head north.

Club directors held a meeting in Melbourne, and the Gold Coast issue is likely to be on the agenda at a board meeting on Wednesday amid speculation a decision on whether to relocate will be made soon.

WANM chairman David Wheaton said his group wanted to acquire enough shares or like-minded shareholders to form a bloc which would hold an Australian Democrats-like balance of power in important decision-making.

"Our long-term objective is we would return the ownership of the club to its members, but in the short-term it would be about acquiring enough shares to have a say and be able to represent the members," Wheaton told AAP.

"In We Are North Melbourne, members would actually decide which way the organisation would swing its voting power.

"Every other club is run that way (with members' input) and structured that way. Why should North Melbourne be any different?

"It's a bit like saying since they own such own such a big stake in the country, we'll let James Packer, Frank Lowy and Richard Pratt get together and decide who runs the country instead of having a general election."

The Roos' share structure was introduced when the club hit hard times in the 1980s, and then-chairman Bob Ansett publicly floated the club to raise much-needed cash.

Members currently elect three of the nine board members - the other six are voted on by shareholders.

The club itself refused to comment on any plans to relocate permanently, or when any decision would be made.

The Kangaroos are currently entering year two of a three-year, $400,000 per match deal to play 10 games on the Gold Coast.

They will play four home-and-away matches on the Coast next year after playing three there in 2007.

While there is a school of thought the Kangaroos cannot survive long-term in Victoria, those who want the club to stay put say the Roos can survive in Melbourne by increasing membership, boosting attendances for home matches and eliminating debt.

Opponents of a Gold Coast move also warn a large percentage of the club's 22,000 current members would not renew if the Roos were shipped north, and point to the Brisbane Lions' declining membership as proof south-east Queensland may struggle to house two clubs.

Any Gold Coast move would lock the Roos into the 14,000-capacity Carrara Stadium - less than half their 2007 average Melbourne home crowd of more than 34,000 - until any future redevelopment of the stadium was completed.

There is also an $11 million redevelopment under way on the Kangaroos' Melbourne headquarters at Arden Street, funded in large part by the federal and Victorian governments.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

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