AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan admits battling Brisbane’s facilities are a “concern” but has ruled out adding to the league’s $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 with the AFL Commission in Brisbane on Friday afternoon.
A $25 million multi-sport complex near the airport is planned and is being based on Melbourne’s AAMI Park where the Demons (AFL), Storm (NRL), Rebels (Super Rugby) and Victory (A-League) reside.
“They’re very keen on the airport. The AFL has committed $5 million of funding to that,” 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.”
The Lions are also lobbying state and federal governments for funding of their new base.
“It’s a priority. We’ll be going as fast as we can,” McLachlan said of Brisbane’s new base.
“I think we’ve come a long way in the last couple of months.”
McLachlan also admitted that it was an issue that the Lions were more than $1 million short of spending their football department “soft cap”.
“But this year there are 15 of 18 clubs that are not spending up to the cap,” he said.
“As we look forward in the investment model and club funding for 2017, 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 Suns but a lot of clubs are getting there.”
McLachlan said it was disappointing that the two Queensland clubs – Brisbane and the Gold Coast – were again struggling this season.
Brisbane (2-15 record) are second last and the Suns are fourth last on the AFL ladder.
“Both clubs have had tough years and there’s a variety of reasons for that,” McLachlan said.
“Both clubs have been decimated by injuries, but there’s a point where you have to make sure you’re looking beyond those things to make sure you’re doing everything you can to ensure growth next year and beyond.”