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3The Independent Weekly
news May 21 - 27, 2010
Jury still out on oval
Kevin Foley says we will have a
redeveloped Adelaide Oval. He
just doesn t know what it will
look like, when it might happen, how
much it will cost, who will be paying
for it or who will be playing on it.
The stadium deal has moved
its goalposts since the exultant
pre-election announcement. In
December, Premier Mike Rann
and Mr Foley trumpeted the oval
redevelopment as a one-off offer, a
$450 million project to return football
to the heart of the city.
Football and cricket were given
$5 million and until July 1 to work
out the tricky bits. Or else.
Now Mr Foley admits that
deadline is flexible ("If they need
a few more weeks, I m not going to
quibble about that"), that the widely
publicised showcased design is
possibly not the one that will be built,
and that the costings are yet to be
Then you throw soccer into the
mix. A Commonwealth promise
of additional funding for the oval,
should Australia win a bid for the
2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup, has
further sullied the pitch.
Mr Foley said the "substantial"
but undisclosed sum would build
"an outstandingly better stadium"
and wouldn t even need football to go
"If football decides to turn its back
and not want to go to an incredibly
upgraded Adelaide Oval, so be it.
We re going to have an outstanding
stadium for soccer, an outstanding
stadium for cricket," Mr Foley said
The original redevelopment plan
announced in December included a
predicted $100 million contribution
from the Commonwealth; money
Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan
and Sports Minister Kate Ellis
could not confirm this week. The
State Government would fund the
remaining $350 million through
cancelling the proposed tram line
extension and AAMI Stadium
Later, a spokesman for the
Treasurer told The Independent
Weekly the State Government had
committed a total of $450 million and
it was the AFL which had come up
with the design and total price tag.
As rumours of cost blowouts circled
in the lead-up to the election, the
Premier said the Government would
commit a maximum of $450 million
and other funding may have to be
This week, Mr Foley said he had
no idea what the final project could
cost. "We are waiting on the Stadium
Management Authority to come to
government with their final costings.
They haven t done that yet," he said.
"They haven t reached an agreement
that this is what they want to do, so it
is in the hypothetical."
As The Independent Weekly
reported last month, speculation is
rife the SANFL is looking for a way
out. Adelaide Crows CEO Steven
Trigg now admits he is getting
"edgy" about the deal, and Crows
chair Rob Chapman said the club had
received a lot of negative feedback
But even if a deal is reached
within the next few weeks --
reconciling decades of inter-sport
rivalry -- all the best-laid plans
and building timetables may have
to be revised in September, when
Australia will find out if it has won
the right to host the World Cup. A
successful bid means more money
on the table and new requirements
"We ve got some tricky timelines;
we ve got work through those," Mr
"I m not in receipt of the planning
or the costings from the Stadium
Management Authority, and we re
not in a position yet to sit down,
negotiate and discuss timelines.
There is a period of negotiation
and common sense that will prevail
and I need a bit of time to make that
Our city stadium election
promise has dwindled into a mess of
The oval may or may not host footy,
cricket and soccer together. It may
look like the designs we ve seen, but
may be "substantially better". It
may or may not be payed for by the
Federal Government, it may or may
not be decided next month and it may
or may not be built at all.
The fiasco has led the Opposition
to suggest the plan should be
scrapped entirely, but Mr Foley
insists everything is "absolutely on
There s just the who, what, when
and how to sort out.
Foley caught behind: page 7
Two very different layouts are being
shown for the redesigned oval,
with enormous implications on the
Aritsts' impressions used to pitch
for the World Cup bid show the oval
with a snugly fitting soccer ground.
On SACA's website it shows the
same proposed development in an
image with a snugly fitting AFL game
Using the soccer image, and
allowing for areas beyond the
game pitch, the oval's area is about
10,000sqm: that is, the soccer
pitch dimensions plus support area.
The oval's current dimensions
are 190m x 125m, a total area
of 18,494 sq m. If the new
development is as shown for the
soccer configuration, it seems
impossible to build stands in
the proposed style that can seat
anywhere near 50,000.
So, is the oval going to be barely
55 per cent of its current size (and
the smallest AFL oval in Australia)
or is it going to be an AFL oval where
half the crowd is too far from the
action to comply with FIFA World Cup
The artists' impressions are
designed to appease and impress.
Unfortunately, in one version or the
other, they appear to tell a lie.
-- Kevin Naughton
The disappearing pitch
Shifting goalposts: Kevin Foley and Mike Rann spruik their oval plan. Photo: Kate Elmes
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