NRL, clubs at stadium stalemate

The NRL is asking the NSW government for an extension to meet its criteria for $1.6 billion in stadium funding, with talks with the competition’s clubs failing to find a resolution.

Sports Minister Stuart Ayres had given the NRL until Friday to gain a commitment from its clubs to play 65 games at ANZ Stadium, Parramatta Stadium and Moore Park in return for the government’s funding to go ahead.

While all parties described Friday’s stakeholder talks as constructive, the meeting ended at an impasse.

The NRL had been close to reaching the 65-game quota across a redeveloped stadia network but there was a sticking point over how the money will be spent.

With Penrith offering to take two games to a renovated Parramatta Stadium and with finals, State of Origins and grand final factored in, the NRL is just a few games short.

However there is a disagreement between the NRL and the clubs over how the $1.6 billion will be spent.

Those at Rugby League Central and the state government want Allianz Stadium knocked down and a new stadium built on the Moore Park site because of its central location and proximity to public transport.

In club land, a $700 million upgrade of ANZ Stadium, which would transform it into a 75,000-seat stadium with fully closable roof, is the preferred option.

The NRL will now go back to the clubs and continue to push its case for a new 55,000 seat stadium at Moore Park.

“There continues to be constructive dialogue in an effort to reach a final position,” Canterbury chairman Ray Dib said.

“But that position has not been finalised yet. We are working towards it.

“It was a meeting about the whole stadia policy. At this stage the NRL is still working towards a quota but they’ve been having individual meetings with clubs and working out what clubs will give up.

“Most of the clubs are okay – us and Souths, Roosters and Parramatta – but that’s between the NRL and the clubs.”

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