Mayor backs Princes Park option

Austadiums   |  Saturday 25th April 2009
Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle is prepared to enter talks with the AFL over possible use of Princes Park for premiership season matches.

The venue, situated within the City of Melbourne-run Princes Park precinct, has emerged as a potential negotiation tool for the AFL as it contemplates ways to break financial stand-offs with its two Melbourne stadiums, the MCG and Etihad Stadium.

The 16 clubs recently told the AFL to explore adding a third stadium to the Melbourne options.

Princes Park is already being redeveloped as part of a community project funded by the AFL and local, state and federal governments.

Doyle said he would support any AFL move to upgrade that redevelopment.

"We would welcome Princes Park (as an AFL venue) on a number of points of view," Doyle told the Herald Sun.

"Obviously, it is in the City of Melbourne, and we have spent a considerable amount on the surrounding parklands and on Princes Park in terms of infrastructure upgrade.

"These days to bring something to AFL level would require significant investment, but one of the things about Melbourne is that if we build or upgrade a sporting arena, even to the very high standards of the AFL, it will be used.

"One of the other things we might like to think about is I believe there is a real possibility that we could be hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2018, in which case another ground in Melbourne could be showcased for that as well."

Doyle said if the AFL wanted to reintroduce Princes Park, which was used in 1277 VFL/AFL matches from 1897-2005, it would need to commit soon.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou said during the week the AFL was "happy to consider" the clubs' request for a third Melbourne venue.

Damian Barrett
Herald Sun

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