AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has guaranteed football in Perth in 2018 will be played at the new Burswood stadium.
As negotiations continue with the state government, West Coast and Fremantle want a better deal than what has transpired at the redeveloped Adelaide Oval.
While Adelaide and Port Adelaide have attracted 40,000-plus spectators in the past 18 months, they haven’t received the financial compensation they hoped, thanks to a poorly-constructed arrangement.
The new Perth stadium is expected to be ready for the 2018 AFL season and both the Eagles and Dockers are keen to ensure a deal is in place with the West Australian government that sees them adequately compensated.
There remains sticking points over what will open the 60,000-seat stadium, how much the clubs will receive for their home fixtures and who will run the venue.
But McLachlan is confident the final deal is close and says the AFL will be contributing to the building costs.
Despite fears the AFL and clubs would play hard ball and threaten to remain at Subiaco Oval, McLachlan guaranteed football will be played at the new Burswood stadium in 2018.
“I have not contemplated not playing at this fabulous new stadium in 2018. It’s an incredible asset for Perth and Western Australians, and I’m looking forward to playing football there,” McLachlan said while in Perth for discussions with the state government.
“It is obvious we are making a significant commitment to this venue and we’d like to make sure that the sharp end of the season, in September, that we have priority but absolutely this deal will be resolved hopefully a long way before 2018.”
McLachlan also confirmed that Fremantle and West Coast, who are currently first and second, will host preliminary finals in Perth if they earn the right to do so this season.
“Yes, particularly if they play each other. If separate, they will be playing prelim finals in Perth and to be honest the way they are playing it is a possibility,” McLachlan said.