The Kardinia Park Stadium Trust (KPST) has announced a positive resolution to its discussions with AFL Barwon which will now deliver a new deal to keep Kardinia Park as the home of local footy finals in 2017.
Both parties have agreed in principle to continue meeting over the coming months to finalise a potential five year agreement for GFL Finals at Kardinia Park.
The two organisations have been working towards a deal to enable the local league to play its finals series at Kardinia Park between Saturday, September 2 and Saturday, September 23 in the wake of increased operating costs at the stadium.
Trust CEO Michael Brown says he’s delighted that an agreement has now been reached for this year and also potentially for a longer term solution and thanked all parties involved.
“Things are different now that the Trust is running the stadium. When it was managed by the City of Greater Geelong, Council had the ability to offer the stadium to the league at as loss as it was a community activity and CoGG were able to ‘sponsor’ the event,” he says.
“We don’t have that ability – we’re a not for profit business with effectively one revenue stream – and to meet government requirements we have to balance the books. But I’m pleased to report that we’ve been able to find some significant costs savings by trimming some of the operations and we’re really pleased that we could work with the league to find a solution and keep the finals here. AFL Barwon have also made a significant contribution to this positive outcome.”
AFL Barwon Region General Manager Lee Hartman also welcomed the deal saying the local finals deserved to be played on what is arguably the best regional stadium in the country.
“We’re really thrilled that the finals are back where they belong and that the players will have the chance to play finals, which is the highlight of their season, on such a magnificent oval,” he says.
“Knowing that we’ve now got a deal locked in for this year really does take some pressure off and means we can now go back to focussing on playing first class regional footy.”
Minister for Sport and Member for Lara John Eren welcomed the agreement and said he was pleased to see that the long held tradition of GFL finals will continue at Kardinia Park.
“The GFL finals series will be played where it belongs – at the best sporting stadium in regional Australia.”
“With a couple of weeks to go, clubs have certainty. Players, coaches and fans can now prepare and look forward to playing all their finals at Kardinia Park.”
“Footy is one of those things that brings us together and we’re looking forward to catching all of action in front of the new Brownlow Stand.”