Stadium call dismays WA football

WA football is demanding reassurances from the state government after missing out on the contract to run Perth Stadium.

Premier Colin Barnett announced on Monday that the government will negotiate with Stadium Australian Operations, which runs Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.

He said the winning bid was the best value for money.

The WA Football Commission operates Domain Stadium, Perth’s current AFL venue, through the Perth Stadium Management consortium.

Domain Stadium is a major source of revenue for the commission, but Perth Stadium Management was one of three unsuccessful bidders.

The 60,000-capacity Perth Stadium could open as early as next year and it will become the home venue for West Coast and Fremantle.

Commission chairman Murray McHenry said in a statement that they are deeply disappointed by the decision.

“We are now deeply concerned about the future financial model for WA football because stadium operations have been critical to the development and success of the game,” he said.

“At all times during the development of Perth Stadium the state government has reassured football that the sport will be no worse off as a result of the new venue.

“We now need the government to show how this will be the case in order to safeguard the future of our game.

“We need the state government to progress discussions on how to preserve football’s financial future as the sport now has no certainty for its future.”

McHenry also said the commission was worried about the two AFL club’s deals with the new stadium.

“(We have) a range of concerns about the potential user agreements for our two AFL clubs at Perth Stadium and whether they will generate sufficient returns to sustain football in WA,” he said.

Perth Stadium Management also missed out as a fallback option for the new venue.

“Perth Stadium will be a world-class venue and it is fitting that a world-class operator is appointed,” the Premier said.

WA Sport and Recreation Minister Mia Davies said a key feature of the Stadium Australia Operation’s bid was their plans to attract events to the new venue.

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