- Jul 15, 2013
- Reaction score
2019 NRL Draw
I see Parra are playing hardball with the new stadium and threatening not to play there unless they get a better deal.
TBC for their home games at the moment which may delay the draw.
(Via smh.com link wouldn’t work)
Stoush brewing over Parramatta's move into new stadium
Parramatta and the operators of the new Western Sydney Stadium (WSS) have just one week to thrash out a hiring agreement to prevent their impasse from playing havoc with the NRL draw.
The Eels have rejected a deal to play their home games at the venue, claiming the current offer would “impact the club negatively for the next 25 years”. The NRL draw is set to be released next Thursday, but unless the parties strike a deal beforehand all Parramatta home fixtures will be marked as ‘TBC’.
The Wests Tigers have already done a deal with venue operator, VenuesLive, to stage four matches at WSS from 2019. However, anchor tenants Parramatta and Western Sydney Wanderers are yet to come to terms amid reports they are being asked to pay a rate almost twice that of other clubs at other 30,000-seat venues.
According to Eels boss Bernie Gurr, the current WSS deal - which will run for between 15 to 25 years - is “not acceptable”.
“The reality is, and you can’t sugarcoat a bitter pill, the negotiations aren’t going well,” Gurr said. “All we want is a fair and reasonable deal. At the moment, the financial outcomes we’re projecting are not where we want them. It just doesn’t stack up for us at the moment.”
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The Eels were scheduled to be the first side to play in it once construction is completed. The venue is expected to be ready in time to host Parramatta’s Easter Monday clash, most likely against Wests Tigers, in what would be a historic sellout event.
However, Parramatta have rejected the current deal after engaging consultants to ensure the hiring terms are reasonable and on par with what other clubs pay to play at similar venues.
The timing has been viewed cynically by those who believe the decision was made to exact maximum leverage before the NRL draw is announced. Given both parties need each other, it’s almost certain a compromise will be reached well before the 2019 season kicks off.
“Discussions with the Parramatta Eels rugby league football club in relation to commercial terms at Western Sydney Stadium are ongoing,” a spokesman for VenuesLive said. “Every attempt is being made to strike a deal in time for the release of the 2019 NRL draw.”
Parramatta management is adamant it will not accept the current proposal, mindful the previous regime paid what the new board considers ‘overs’ for their arrangement with ANZ Stadium.
Required: Parramatta's troubles extend beyond just the stadium deal.
“The reality is rugby league clubs haven’t got good stadium deals,” Gurr said. “We haven’t made much on our core business of putting on rugby league games. We’re trying to change that in a fair and reasonable way.”
The drama is the first major backlash against the $300 million venue, which was almost universally welcomed despite criticism of the infrastructure spending on the redevelopments of Allianz and ANZ Stadiums.
“This is an embarrassing failure for the Berejiklian government,” said shadow minister for sport Lynda Voltz. “Pricing out Western Sydney’s flagship NRL team from the Western Sydney Stadium has revealed how poorly managed their stadiums plan is.
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“The treatment of the current tenants of Pirtek Stadium is a taste of what other sports can expect under the Berejiklian government’s stadiums strategy.”
Gurr said it was important to strike a fair deal so the Eels could invest in their football department.
Parramatta playmaker Mitchell Moses said he was hopeful the situation could be resolved to ensure the side had a big home-ground advantage next season.
“It’s going to be massive, playing in front of your home fans,” Moses said. “I like playing at ANZ, but to have a ground we can call home is something big and I’m very excited about it. I don’t know too much about (the WSS issue), but hopefully it gets sorted.”
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