Council set to sue footy club

Austadiums   |  Sunday 3rd April 2005

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Collingwood Football Club is set to be sued for allegedly leaving Victoria Park a crumbling $10 million mess.

Yarra City Council vows it will make the Magpies pay. Mayor Kay Meadows declared the club "robbed" its community.

Collingwood handed back the keys to its spiritual home this week. It moved to the state-of-the-art Lexus Centre last year.

Council officials were infuriated at the state of the stadium.

The players' former inner sanctum is littered with junk and flooring has been ripped up. Other rooms have holes in walls and fittings have been torn from walls in the kitchens.

The council has compiled a 19-point list of maintenance demands, which include repairing seating, brickwork and the airconditioning system, patching and painting walls, replacing damaged and missing windows and cleaning up rubbish.

Cr Meadows said Collingwood breached its lease by leaving the ground in disrepair.

A study estimated it would cost $10.7 million to repair the crumbling stadium. But the council has offered Collingwood a settlement of about $5 million.

The club has disputed the bill and offered $100,000, leaving the council preparing for legal action if the Magpies don't budge.

"We will have no option but to go to court, we are not going to have our community treated this way. I think the community has basically been robbed," Cr Meadows said.

The council also wants half of the cash raised in an auction of memorabilia and fittings last September, claiming it owned some of the items.

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire said the claims, which were first made by the council to Channel Seven's , were part of a dirty tricks campaign in the race for TV footy rights.

"There is one room there that looks in bad condition . . . that room is going to be taken over by the umpires and they are to spend $250,000 renovating it. So they said, `Leave it, don't do anything because we are going to pull it to bits anyway'," he said.

"This is just a straight out PR attack on the club, football and me. It looks to me like Seven has hired a PR company to orchestrate its campaign over the TV rights, and this is part of it."


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