Crunch time for Olympic Park

Austadiums   |  Friday 19th November 2004
Melbourne's Olympic Park is poised for a multi-million-dollar redevelopment if a bid to win a fourth Australian licence in an expanded Super 12 rugby union competition is successful.

The State Government and Victorian Rugby Union officials are expected to announce redevelopment plans today.

This month a spokesman for Sports Minister Justin Madden said the Government was examining a proposal for a 25,000-seat development.

A new stadium costing $100 million was one plan being considered by the State Government.

Melbourne and Perth are bidding for the licence for a fourth Australian team in an expanded 2006 Super 14 competition. Victorian Rugby Union officials will hand their submission documents to the Australian Rugby Union before the 5pm deadline today.

Melbourne will find out on December 10 if the bid is successful.

Contributions toward the building would be sought from tenants including NRL club Melbourne Storm, new national soccer league team Melbourne Victory and possibly the new rugby union team.

The Victorian Government has supported the VRU's push for a licence to field a local team in the 2006 Super 14.

A State Government spokesman last night would neither confirm nor deny any impending announcement.

The West Australian Government has promised $25 million to rebuild the former Perth Oval if the ARU makes a favourable decision.

Melbourne Storm is eager to have its Olympic Park home upgraded to seat 25,000-30,000.

The Super 14 competition, including five teams each from New Zealand and South Africa, will start in 2006.

The ARU said an expanded Super 14 competition would deliver an extra 26 matches each season -- up to 10 extra a year in Australia -- with each of the four Australian sides having as many as seven home games.

Storm plays about 12 home games.

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