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State Govt set to hike cost of Footy Express: AFL

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Adelaide and Port Adelaide football clubs and the SANFL will soon be hit with a transport levy increase from the State Government, a top AFL bureaucrat says.

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The AFL’s head of club performance David Grossman this morning revealed both Adelaide and Port Adelaide Football Clubs and the SANFL had raised concerns with the AFL that the State Government was considering increasing the fee it charges to run the free Footy Express bus service.

Grossman, who was speaking at a parliamentary committee hearing into the Adelaide Oval Hotel, said the cost hike was “significant”, but he was unable to provide exact figures.

An increase to the football transport levy is likely to impact the clubs, not football fans directly.

“We’ve been approach by the clubs and the South Australian National Football League with concerns, more in respect of providing notice of concern about the State Government potentially increasing transport levies,” he told the committee.

“We’ve noted the concern they’ve expressed to us and the conversations we’ve had with them are around what that might entail for their business models.”

Grossman said the levy hike was a “material amount” compared to what the clubs are currently paying.

“It was of significant concern to them to raise it with us,” he said.

“They will have to accommodate the costs.”

Opposition Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan described the revelations as “disturbing news” for football fans.

“I think certainly this is disturbing news for AFL fans here in South Australia that their clubs – the Crows and the Power – are having to plead with the AFL to intervene on their behalf about Stephan Knoll’s plans to increase the costs on the two clubs and the oval itself for the free Footy Express service,” he said.

“I certainly know reaching the previous agreement with the Stadium Management Authority and the two clubs that that was absolutely all they could afford.”

Mullighan said the increased cost on the clubs and SMA was likely to be “hundreds of thousands of dollars more”, based on his experience in the Government.

“It is just going to be too much on these clubs and if they have to pass on high ticket prices, if they have to pass it on in higher membership fees, or if they have to yet again increase beer costs that is going to hurt fans,” he said.

More to come.

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