The AFL insist no deal has been reached on who will be Port Adelaide’s opponent for a regular-season match in China next year despite Gold Coast strongly hinting they will be that team.
The Power announced last week they would be the first club to play a match in the world’s most populated country after signing a sponsorship deal with a Chinese investor last week.
With a reported $600,000 match payment in the offering for their opponents, several clubs are believed to be in the hunt for a deal.
Many believe the Suns are the front-runners with chairman Tony Cochrane revealing his club wants to be involved in the match.
“We’ll be pushing as hard as we can to try and get the China game up and make it as big a success as we humanly can,” Cochrane said.
The former V8 Supercars chief executive took the Australian motorsport championship to Shanghai in 2005 and says there are obvious tourism benefits to the Gold Coast being involved in the China match.
“The Gold Coast has tremendous ties to China,” Cochrane said.
“Not only in terms of tourism but with billons of dollars worth of Chinese money being poured into the Gold Coast community in terms of new facilities and new hotels and other investment opportunities, so it just makes a really good, logical fit that it should be the Gold Coast Suns.”
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan confirmed the Suns had shown an interest in being part of the historic match but no deals had been made.
“It’s very clear now, I can say publicly, Gold Coast want to be in China but a decision hasn’t been made and there are other clubs interested,” McLachlan told SEN Radio.
“It (the money) comes out of whatever deal’s done, we won’t be paying a club to do it.”