Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman Peter V’landys has threatened to strip New South Wales of hosting rights for the NRL grand final, unless the state government commits to redeveloping suburban grounds.
V'landys has warned that this year’s NRL showpiece could yet be staged in Brisbane for a second straight year, after last year's edition was moved north due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
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The ARLC is at loggerheads with the NSW government for backflipping on a promise to upgrade Sydney's Olympic stadium, now called Accor stadium, as part of a deal struck in 2018 to keep the NRL grand final in Sydney until 2042.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet declared on Friday that the NRL grand final was going nowhere, and insisted that Accor Stadium would host it in 2022 and beyond.
"It's all this little theatre that Peter V'landys is creating, it's not happening," Mr Perrottet said.
"The grand final is not going to Queensland or anywhere else. Peter knows that, I know that.
"Let's have the dance but we know where this is going to finish and we're going to have the grand final in Sydney."
The NSW government's stadium backflip came after claims from former premier Gladys Berejiklian that a promise to redevelop the Olympic stadium was central to securing hosting rights for the NRL grand final into the future.
“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.
On Friday, V’landys declared that NSW could be stripped of hosting rights for the NRL showpiece if the Olympic stadium funds weren't reallocated to suburban stadiums for much needed redevelopment.
“We just want our suburban stadiums in NSW, we want that tribalism,” V’landys told Nine's Today Show.
“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.”
NSW minister for trade, tourism and major events Stuart Ayres suggested this week that “if Peter V’landys took the grand final to Queensland, he probably should move up there too”.
In a stinging response, the ARLC boss suggested he would have to move states if he wanted to watch major events, such as the NRL grand final.
“What I’ve said to him was that I’d have to if I want to see a major event,” V’landys quipped.
“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 are discussing the situation on Friday.
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