Calls for upgrading Sydney’s many local stadiums will only grow after a video of a podium collapse at the Leichhardt Oval surfaced.
Radio host Ryan Fitzgerald Fitzgerald was attending a schoolboys rugby union match between St. Joseph’s College and Riverview on Saturday and posted a video of the ugly incident on Twitter.
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In the clip, the Joeys goes out trying to please the packed crowd.
But the video then spread to show a railing at the front of a small runway collapsing under the weight of fans, causing a number of them to erupt on concrete counters below.
Fitzgerald wrote: “Do you think the Lichardt oval needs an upgrade?”
It is unclear if any of the onlookers were injured. Channel 9 reported that paramedics were at the scene.
The collapse occurred in front of a crowd of about 15,000 people and the game was interrupted.
The unfortunate incident will only increase pressure on the NSW government to commit to funding upgrades to three stadiums in Sydney.
It emerged this week that Sydney was on the verge of losing the NRL Grand Final after the state government ditched a $800 million pledge.
The deal agreed, reportedly struck in May, is on the verge of collapse and ARLC chief Peter Flandes is said to be furious.
The agreement will see Brookvale Oval ($100 million), Leichhardt Oval ($50 million) and Shark Park ($100 million) all receive major promotions – and if delivered, the Grand Final will remain in Sydney for 20 years until 2042 with the proviso that Olympic Stadium an upgrade worth $800 million.
Those plans were called off during the pandemic as the NRL moved to funnel the money to suburban lands and the V’landys claimed to have received verbal assurances from Berejiklian and Perrottet for between $250 and $350 million.
Penrith Stadium was also under the agreement, but $300 million was reportedly set aside to modernize the stadium.
“We are in careful negotiations with the NSW government,” Flandis said.
“All options will be on the table if these negotiations fail.”
Tuesday’s deadline passed as the two sides continued to stare at each other with reports Perrotette was set to ditch a $250 million pledge to upgrade the land, according to the Daily Telegraph.
2GB host Ben Fordham has questioned NSW Sports Minister Stewart Ayres, who has since resigned from his ministerial positions on separate grounds, about why Penrith Stadium got the funding but other reasons did not.
“You’re the Sports Secretary, your home is Penrith, you’re a fan of the Panthers, and I know you’re probably the number one ticket holder,” Fordham said.
“So they got $300 million, so what about Brookvale, Shark Park, Leichhardt Oval… I’d be very surprised if you didn’t know the answer I’m giving you.
“Why did your house land get the money on your house land while others didn’t?
“Ben, there’s a long-term strategy,” Ayres said.
“We have made decisions regarding the interests of the public.
“We have had a long-term strategy for our stadiums since 2015. We have reconstructed Parramatta Stadium and are close to opening the new Sydney Football Stadium.
“We are committed to creating a stadium in Penrith, it reflects our strategy for the three cities.
“We’ve invested well over $1.5 billion, part of that, we’d like to get a long-term commitment from NRL for the Grand Final.
“We just hit Covid, we have huge impacts of the floods which have put more pressure on the budget.”
The Queensland government is now preparing to attempt to claim the grand finale of the NRL Championship for years to come.
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