Canterbury CEO Todd Greenberg insists his NRL club has every right to use Belmore Oval as a training field and dismisses claims they’ve been given preferential treatment for its use over NSW soccer club Sydney Olympic.
The Bulldogs were on Wednesday accused of going against council orders not to train on the ground because of its poor condition, while co-tenants Sydney Olympic were forced to play their soccer matches elsewhere.
But Greenberg said his club were never banned from training on the field by the City of Canterbury, just from playing matches.
“There was no directive about not using it (for training), it was not using it for games,” he told AAP.
“The directive that came from council was that both teams need to relocate their games away, so there was to be no event days played here – not soccer, not rugby league.
“That was the directive and that’s what’s been complied with.”
Greenberg said he didn’t think the situation was unfair, despite claims Sydney Olympic had lost $60,000 in lost revenue because of the forced match relocations.
“We had the same problems that they had. We had to relocate our (NSW Cup) games, so I think both parties were equally affected by that,” he said.
“All these decisions about their access is made by Canterbury Council – that’s who’s calling the shots.”
Earlier, Bulldogs coach Des Hasler also denied any misuse of the ground.
“We’ve just been training in the twenties (quarter at each end of the ground) so we’ve cooperated with all the restrictions put on us by the council,” he told reporters.
The council’s general manager Jim Montague said the Bulldogs had been granted permission to train at the ground but only on the outer areas where there was little damage.
He admitted there were limited occasions when they did not comply.
“They did run on it, but they didn’t actually play and there certainly wasn’t the level of intensity of use that the ground would receive if there was a soccer match on it,” Montague told AAP.
Sydney Olympic president George Giannaros said the Bulldogs use of the ground was a sign of disrespect to both his club and code.
“We fully respect rugby league and we want them to understand the position that we’re put in as well, because they are utilising the ground and we’re not using it at all,” Giannaros said.
Both clubs are currently negotiating a new lease agreement with the council, which is proposing the Bulldogs be made head lessee and sub-lease the facility to Sydney Olympic.