From the Herald Sun - Michael Warner
The Collingwood Football Club will be given exclusive use of a new MCG-sized training ground on the site of the Olympic Park athletics track.
The Brumby Government claimed yesterday that the Magpies would share the ground with other tenants of the Swan St precinct, including AFL rival Melbourne, Melbourne Storm and Melbourne Victory.
But a spokesman for Sports Minister James Merlino today conceded the facility would be a "Collingwood only'' training base.
The Demons, Storm and Victory will be required to train on other playing fields in the vicinity of the new rectangular sports stadium.
The Government clarification came after Collingwood president Eddie McGuire this morning hit out on his Triple M breakfast radio show at suggestions his club would be required to share the training ground.
The historic Olympic Park athletics stadium, next door to Collingwood's headquarters, will be torn down after the completion of a new $50 million facility at Albert Park.
Work on the new home of athletics at the Lakeside Oval begins early next year.
It will become home to the Victorian Institute of Sport and boast a world-standard running track, recovery pool, soccer pitch, electronic scoreboard, corporate boxes and a new northern grandstand.
McGuire, who also serves as a board member of Athletics Australia, the governing body of Olympic Park tenant Athletics Victoria, has been criticised for his role in the stadium shuffle.
Work at Albert Park will include restoration of the 1926 heritage-listed grandstand.
Mr Merlino said yesterday the Albert Park project would cement Melbourne's reputation as the best sports city in the world, a title it won two weeks ago from Berlin.
"Melbourne's new State Athletics Centre will give Victoria's elite and up-and-coming athletes a new world-class facility to train and compete at," Mr Merlino said.
"By having the best facilities we attract the best major sporting events."