The NSW Government has committed $1.6 billion to stadium redevelopment in Sydney, which includes plans to transform ANZ Stadium into a permanent rectangle by 2019.
The funding also includes the redevelopment of Western Sydney Wanderers’ home ground Pirtek Stadium, which will be rebuilt in the next three years.
“There are many stakeholders involved and, listening to them, I strongly believe we have come to the consensus position today that is going to be truly fantastic for this city,” NSW Premier Mike Baird said.
“This was never going to be an easy process. There are multiple stakeholders, multiple codes with multiple clubs, we need to ensure that we get it right,” he said.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) has praised the announcement, after FFA CEO David Gallop said the NSW Premier Mike Baird will be acknowledged as the builder of a golden era for major event sport in Sydney.
“This is an historic decision to give Sydney the rectangular sporting stadia befitting a great international city,” Gallop said.
“On behalf of the football community, I thank Premier Baird, Sports Minister Stuart Ayres and the government for the investment in world-class infrastructure that will be welcomed by all in our sport, from the fans, players, national teams and clubs.”
Gallop said the outcome of the NSW Stadia Strategy is consistent with FFA’s submission to the Strategy Review Panel headed by John Brogden and John Quayle.
“FFA’s position did not change throughout the process,” said Gallop. “We are delighted that Parramatta will have a brand new stadium and that ANZ Stadium will become a world-class permanent rectangular venue.
“It’s great that Allianz Stadium will benefit from a refurbishment that will mean Sydney FC will have certainty over tenancy and won’t face being dislocated for several years.”
Gallop said the Baird Government’s decision today has in many ways been driven along by football fans.
“The Wanderers fans who filled the current Pirtek Stadium to capacity time and again. The Socceroo fans who filled ANZ Stadium for big World Cup qualifiers and the Asian Cup.
“The fans from everywhere who packed ANZ Stadium for the Manchester United, Juventus, Chelsea and Spurs matches.
“They have made a case for football’s growth and popularity that helps vindicate this investment by government. I thank them all.”
© 2016 SBS | This article was written by Basil Saab and first appeared on SBS on the 14th April 2016.