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SA 'locked out' from hosting AFL grand final

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South Australia’s Sports Minister says he is “extremely disappointed” the AFL has signed a deal with the Victorian Government to keep the grand final at the MCG until at least 2057.

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In a $225 million deal with the AFL, the grand final will stay in Victoria, while Etihad Stadium and Melbourne’s Docklands precinct will be upgraded.

“It’s extremely disappointing that South Australia is now effectively locked out of hosting the AFL Grand Final for the next 40 years,” Sports Minister Corey Wingard said in a statement to InDaily.

“Adelaide Oval is a world class venue and it’s a shame that as far as I am aware we didn’t even get the opportunity to bid to showcase our stadium to the country and the world with the AFL grand final.

“I think the best way that South Australia can get back at the Victorians is if the Adelaide Crows or Port Adelaide can win the Grand Final and both teams look a very good chance this year.”

To appease the eight non-Victorian clubs in the national competition, the AFL has offered concessions including more training opportunities at the MCG and charter flights to Melbourne for the grand final.

Port Adelaide Football Club CEO Keith Thomas said the club had no objection to keeping the AFL Grand Final at the MCG, provided the sporting body upheld its promise to increase training sessions on the ground.

“As a traditionalist, there is great charm playing the Grand Final at the MCG and with an increased capacity, we have no objection with this agreement,” he said.

“This is on the proviso that non-Victorian clubs gain greater access to the MCG and we are currently in very positive talks with the AFL about this.”

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced a $500 million funding boost for its sporting grounds this morning.

“This is for the fans – giving them the best venues, better access to the sports they love, and keeping the Grand Final where it belongs – at the MCG – for the next 40 years,” Andrews  said in a statement.

Almost half of the funding will be spent on the redevelopment of Etihad Stadium and $20 million will go towards transforming Ikon Park into the home of the AFLW.

The deal with the AFL also means the Melbourne Cricket Club Trust has the security to undertake a major redevelopment of the MCG.

Collingwood President Eddie McGuire revealed the details of the Docklands upgrades during last night’s Footy Show.

“For the Victorian clubs, who have been copping it in the neck with inferior stadium deals for so long now, there’s going to be probably a couple of million dollars extra in the pocket for each of the Victorian clubs to be able to survive and prosper going forward,” he said.

Funding will come out of the Victorian Government’s 2018-19 state budget.

InDaily has contacted Adelaide Football Club for comment.

Adelaide Oval management declined to comment.

– with AAP

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