Off the Wall


Not for the first time the CEO of the Rabbitohs has made comments which I find to be hopelessly out of touch with reality - and hardly consistent with the way fans want the game to go in the future.

And not for the first time has been trumpeting the cause of major stadiums at the expense of club owned or managed suburban venues.

He wants more games to be played at major venues - such as the Olympic Stadium and the SFS.

I wonder if Shane Richardson would be making the same call if the Rabbitohs has their own home venue, such as Redfern Oval where premiership matches could be played?

Fans are entitled to expect that Club CEO's - most of whom are very highly paid - take the interest of fans into account when then seek to impose their view on the administration of the game overall.

Fortunately, fans responded to this latest nonsense in spades over the weekend.

The Sharks home game has a sell out crowd of over 20,000. The Sea Eagles had a near capacity crowd last night.

I hope Mr Richardson noted that!

The game is at its best when it looks after its fans.....and that applies to any spectator sport.

It is not practical for many fans to get to the Olympic Stadium - cost, distance and so on.

The major stadiums have a role - but not ownership of the premiership home and away matches.

Suburban grounds must remain in the mix, and if governments cannot afford to fund their upgrading councils need to be encouraged to do so, among other strategies to provide reasonable facilities.

There is another issue regarding major stadiums that needs to be addressed.

It is a matter if record that the hirers of some of the major stadiums have been given concessional, if not generous, contracts by financially stressed stadium owners/managers who need above all else to get events.

Perhaps Mr Richardson might make public - in the interests of a transparent debate - the terms of the Rabbitohs deal with the Olympic Stadium?

But the question which lurks in the background is this - how long will generous concessions when it comes to major stadium hiring last?