Peter V'landys issues threat to NSW Premier over NRL grand final

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Peter V'landys and Dominic Perrottet are pictured side by side.
Peter V'landys has accused NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet of reneging a handshake agreement to renew Sydney stadiums under the guise of assisting flood victims. Pictures: Getty Images

Peter V'landys has accused NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet of using the plight of flood victims to renege on a promise to upgrade various stadiums across Sydney.

Tensions between the NSW government and the NRL have peaked, with the latter reportedly considering hosting the grand final later this year outside of Sydney.

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Accusing Mr Perrottet of going back on a handshake deal which would have seen suburban grounds such as Brookvale Oval and Cronulla's Shark Park refurbished in a $250 million package.

It was announced this week that the suburban ground refurbishments were on the backburner, leaving V'landys and the NRL reportedly considering their legal options.

V'landys slammed the state government in an interview with 2GB, suggesting the premier had lost credibility.

"We looked the premier in the eye, we shook his hand we did a deal and he's just blatantly reneged," V'landys said.

"That's the summary. When you when you do a deal and you shake someone's hand you honour that agreement.

"How is any organisation or business going to do it make an agreement with a NSW government when it's got a precedent of reneging?"

The dispute traces its origins back to a 2018 deal with the government to keep the NRL grand final in Sydney until at least 2042, which also included committments for a $800m upgrade of Sydney Olympic Park.

The onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 disrupted those plans though, with the Olympic Park plans shelves and a new $300m Penrith stadium announced.

The NRL then claimed it agreed on $250 million spend at other stadiums, with V'landys adamant they were community projects as well to curb childhood obesity.

However Mr Perrottet told him on Monday night that was no longer immediately available in a heated meeting, before the NSW premier confirmed his stance on Tuesday.

"The NSW government remains committed to upgrading suburban stadiums however following recent natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic, it is appropriate that further investment in stadia is staged," Mr Perrottet said.

"The government has just received the Floods Inquiry Report, which will likely require a significant cost to the taxpayer and I note right now there are still 1366 people without a home in NSW due to flooding."

But V'landys slammed the government's reasoning, while also calling on Liberal MPs in Cronulla and Wakehurst to act.

"(When) they use the human tragedy of the floods, to spin their way out of why they're reneging on it, it takes it to another level," V'landys said.

"This is about the fourth or fifth excuse that has been given to us."

NRL grand final venue in limbo as V'landys, Perrottet square off

The NRL has been left furious about the suburban upgrades being shelved for the time being, having believed upgrades would go ahead after a meeting with the government in April.

The move from the government will have implications on the competition, with Cronulla ineligible to host NRL-NRLW double-headers next year when their women's team enters because of inadequate dressing-room facilities.

NRL powerbrokers feel the NSW government has backflipped on their deal, prompting a willingness to reconsider this year's grand final venue.

A decision must be made on the grand final venue this week in order to release tickets, but the NRL is yet to commit to Sydney.

The Penrith Panthers are pictured celebrating their 2021 NRL grand final win.
The NRL grand final could once again be hosted outside of Sydney as tensions between the league and NSW Government increase. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Amid the NRL's holdout over the venue, Mr Perrottet defended the amount of money spent on the clubs, pointing out that clubs had benefited in nearly $2 billion of investment into high performance programs, as well as CommBank, Allianz and Penrith Stadiums.

"Sydney will always be the home of rugby league and if Peter V'landys wants to take the grand final away from its home, then he can explain that to the fans," Perrottet said.

Brisbane hosted its first grand final last year due to Sydney's COVID lockdown and the Queensland government has long been keen to lure the event north.

With AAP

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