Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys has confirmed the NRL grand final will be moved from Sydney unless the NSW government commits to redeveloping suburban stadiums.
V’landys’ comments came after NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet assured NRL fans earlier this week the grand final would remain at Stadium Australia in 2022 and beyond.
“(V’landys) is not taking it anywhere,” Perrottet said.
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The NSW government in 2018 secured hosting rights for the grand final until 2042 on the condition it agreed to redevelop Stadium Australia.
The NSW government backflipped on its promise to redevelop the stadium in 2020 despite former premier Gladys Berejiklian’s admission it was this commitment that allowed the government to secure hosting rights.
“Had we not invested in our stadiums we would have been at risk and in fact definitely lost events to other states,” Ms Berejiklian said at the time.
V’landys said on Friday the grand final could indeed be shifted unless the funds that had originally been allocated to the redevelopment of Stadium Australia were repurposed for suburban grounds.
“We just want our suburban stadiums in NSW, we want that tribalism,” V’landys told Today.
“We had a deal. The deal was they would spend $800 million on stadiums, but rather than spending it on Accor Stadium (Stadium Australia), we wanted it spent on suburban stadiums.
“We want those promises honoured by the NSW government, and if they don’t, we’ll take it (the grand final) elsewhere.”
Late last year, the Perrottet government committed $300m to revamping Penrith Stadium, but V’landys said the ARLC needed assurance that other suburban grounds would receive the same treatment.
“The government … is just so slow to move,” he said.
“We want ink on the paper, we want it in writing and until we get that, the grand final is up for grabs.”
Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium hosted the 2021 decider and appears the most obvious choice if the grand final was to be moved, but Melbourne looms as another option.
Perrottet suggested this week that “if Peter V’landys took the grand final to Queensland, he probably should move up there, too”.
The comment did not go down well with V’landys.
“What I’ve said to him was that I’d have to if I want to see a major event,” V’landys said.
“I’d have to go to Queensland, or live in Melbourne, god help me.
“That’s where we’re at in NSW. We don’t have events, they wouldn’t know an event if they tripped over it.
“It’s about time they started doing things rather than asking their residents to leave the state to go and see events.”
V’landys and Perrottet will meet on Friday to discuss the matter.