Kangaroos abandon Gold Coast relocation - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kangaroos abandon Gold Coast relocation

By Roger Vaughan, Adam Cooper and Daniel Pace 06/12/2007 10:30:06 PM Comments (0)

The Kangaroos defiantly turned their backs on the AFL's multi-million dollar Gold Coast proposal, vowing to secure their long-term future in Melbourne.

Incoming chairman James Brayshaw received a standing ovation from around 2500 Kangaroos members tonight at a club information meeting in Melbourne's Dallas Brooks Hall.

Brayshaw has led the push to reject the Gold Coast relocation proposal, but he has warned club fans that the fight to ensure the club's survival has only started and will be difficult.

Just before tonight's meeting, he said the league's inability so far to secure a stadium deal on the Gold Coast was the main reason why the club rejected relocation.

"The circuit breaker for us is that the AFL didn't have a stadium deal in place," he said.

"Quite frankly, I don't know how they expected us to agree to a relocation without our home being fully-funded and ready to go."

Arguably the most dramatic day in the club's history opened with the AFL telling the Kangaroos it had rejected their request for 12 months' grace so they could consider the Gold Coast scheme.

The board then met this afternoon and voted to reject the Gold Coast proposal.

It also unanimously endorsed Brayshaw, co-host of Channel Nine's The Footy Show, as the new chairman and also voted for a spill of the board.

"We're very disappointed the AFL didn't accept our proposal to extend ... the main reason we're disappointed is we didn't think the offer was in a form we could accept," Brayshaw said.

The AFL said it would underwrite the relocation until a stadium deal was finalised, but Brayshaw said that would mean too much uncertainty.

"Basically, that just means we're going from welfare to welfare, which is what we really don't want to do," he said.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou repeated his comment that the league would consider setting up a 17th licence to ensure it had a permanent presence on the Gold Coast.

The Kangaroos have a financial deal with the league to play home games there for the next two years, although the specifics are now likely to change because they have abandoned relocation as an option.

"You know our position on that - that is absolutely a very viable option and of course we will do the work required to explore the 17th licence as an option," Demetriou said.

"It's now up to the Kangaroos as a board to make a decision on whether they wish to pursue the AFL's $100 million package or the James Brayshaw plan."

Brayshaw said relocation was also untenable because it meant giving too much control of the club to the league.

"Part of this AFL deal is that we completely hand the keys over and it's owned and run by the AFL," he said.

The enormous challenge for the Kangaroos now will be to turn around their poor financial position.

Brayshaw has an ambitious plan to raise $10 million for investment, with the interest used to help shore up the Kangaroos' finances.

He will take over from interim chairman John Magowan, who is likely to resign from the board.

Club legend Glenn Archer backed the pro-Melbourne camp and was at tonight's meeting, but is unlikely to join the board.

There is considerable ill-feeling among Kangaroos fans towards the AFL, particularly Demetriou, and this was borne out frequently during the information session.

There were concerns the meeting could become a fiery debate over the club's future, but once it was known that relocation was no longer an option, it became a noisy and good-natured Kangaroos rally.

St Kilda and Collingwood have expressed interest in playing some home games on the Gold Coast if the `Roos reject relocation.

Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke accused the Kangaroos of insulting fans in the region.

"I think it's now or never because you just can't play around with people's emotions like that," he told AAP.

"Yes we want the AFL but the league would be better off taking up the offers from St Kilda and Collingwood and mixing some games up here until they sort out a team.

"In my opinion it can't be North Melbourne because they've rejected it once.

"They just can't say we'll wait another 12 months and then we may accept it, but we really don't want to come.

"You insult the people that are very keen to support you."

The AFL maintains its relocation package is of $100 million, but some Kangaroos fans claim the package is closer to $45 million given the club would receive allocations from the AFL regardless of whether it moved.

Also, Brayshaw vowed to change the club's official name from The Kangaroos back to North Melbourne, their former title.

The AFL issued a statement, thanking the board for a "swift decision" over the relocation package.

AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou congratulated James Brayshaw on his elevation to club chairman and wished him well in his new role leading the Kangaroos, the statement read.

He said the AFL respected the club's decision and now urged Kangaroos members and supporters to get behind the Kangaroos' decision to pursue the James Brayshaw plan.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

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