Peter Beattie says the NRL is OK with a revised NSW government plan for two Sydney stadiums.The NRL has backed the NSW government’s decision to refurbish rather than rebuild Sydney’s Olympic stadium, even though it’s not the league’s preferred option.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Thursday announced she won’t proceed with a plan to completely knock down and rebuild ANZ Stadium at Homebush, instead committing to an $810 million “refurbishment” into a rectangular venue.
The coalition will push ahead with its proposal to demolish and rebuild the smaller Allianz Stadium at Moore Park at a cost of $730 million.
n Rugby League Commission chairman Peter Beattie said while the policy change wasn’t the ideal outcome for the NRL, the league would back it.
“The NRL is endorsing the decision made today by the NSW government,” Mr Beattie said.
“The NRL would have preferred that it was a new stadium … but the fact is the refurbishment to a rectangular stadium – whilst not our preferred position – is one we’ll support.”
The revised deal means Sydney will retain hosting rights of the NRL grand final for the next 25 years – ending speculation the marquee fixture could go to Queensland or another interstate venue.
“I know some people in Queensland would have preferred the grand finals here and I understand that,” Mr Beattie said.
“But we need to get quality stadia. There’s no point Queensland having the best stadia in and NSW are running around in a cow paddock.”
NSW Labor leader Luke Foley is sceptical about the NRL’s support, suggesting the premier has promised them a new stadium after the 2019 state election.
“I can’t think of any other reason why the NRL would endorse this unless they’re on a nod and wink from Ms Berejiklian that once she gets through her election she’ll build them a new stadium for their grand finals and Origins,” he told reporters.
Mr Beattie, a former Queensland Labor premier, labelled the political debate around the stadiums plan “nonsense”.
“Common sense is that we get a bipartisan approach for this stadium deal that’s been put together by the NSW government,” he said.