Brisbane facilities a concern: AFL boss

Battling Brisbane’s facilities are a concern but AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has baulked at adding to their $5 million investment in the Lions’ proposed new headquarters.

The Lions were hopeful of lobbying for more funding from the league for their proposed new base near the airport when they met the AFL Commission on Friday in Brisbane.

A $25 million multi-sport complex is planned, modelled on Melbourne’s AAMI Park where the Demons (AFL), Storm (NRL), Rebels (Super Rugby) and Victory (A-League) are based.

“It’s clear the facilities at the Lions are a concern,” McLachlan said.

“They’re very keen on the airport. The AFL has committed $5 million of funding to that.”

Asked if the AFL would consider contributing more, McLachlan said: “Five million dollars is significant.

“In the end, we will need to have broader partnerships than that, no matter if we increased it, to get this facility to work.”

But McLachlan claimed a new Lions base was a priority.

“We’re clear now about what the Lions’ priority is there and we’ll work with them to secure an outcome,” McLachlan said of Brisbane’s proposed headquarters.

“It’s a priority. We’ll be going as fast as we can.

“I think we’ve come a long way in the last couple of months.”

The Lions are also lobbying the Queensland government for funding for their new base.

Meanwhile, McLachlan admitted it was an issue that the Lions were more than $1 million short of spending their football department “soft cap”.

Brisbane also struggle to expend their entire player salary cap.

“But this year, there are 15 of 18 clubs not spending up to the cap,” McLachlan said.

“It’s a priority across the league for all clubs to pay 100 per cent of the salary cap and spend up to 100 per cent of the soft cap … and also to make a profit.

“We are working with the Lions and (Gold Coast) Suns but a lot of clubs are getting there.”

Lions coach Justin Leppitsch said Brisbane would be requesting what a lot of other clubs took for granted.

“Most of our things are really just things every other club takes for granted, as far as facilities, spending of the soft cap, making sure we can spend our full salary cap, things most clubs just have at hand,” he said.

“It’d definitely be helpful to just get the base minimum of what every other team in the competition is doing.”

McLachlan said it was disappointing that the two Queensland clubs – Brisbane and Gold Coast – were again struggling this season.

Brisbane (2-15 record) are second last on the ladder.

The Suns (6-11) are fourth last and have never made the finals since their 2011 inception.

“Clearly, our two AFL clubs have had their challenges in the last 18 months but Queensland generally is going very well,” McLachlan said.

“We always take a long-term view – Queensland particularly.”

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