AFL advocates for venue upgrades


Australia Darwin Cairns’ Cazalys Image: AFL & Cairns Cazalys Stadium

The Australian Football League (AFL) promoters in Northern Australia are making a strong pitch for a $300 million stadium in Darwin (Australia) and backing ongoing upgrades to Cairns’ Cazalys Stadium in Queensland.

Cazalys Stadium, formerly known as Bundaberg Rum Stadium, is AFL Cairns’ sports stadium located at AFL Cairns HQ, Westcourt Cairns. The stadium is the largest oval stadium in Cairns (Queensland, Australia), and is owned by AFL Cairns and used by AFL Cairns, Queensland Cricket Association and Queensland Rugby League.

The Australian Football League is the pre-eminent and only fully professional men’s competition of Australian rules football. Through the AFL Commission, the AFL also serves as the sport’s governing body, and is responsible for controlling the laws of the game.

Cairns’ major sporting venue will undergo major renovation work worth hundreds of thousands of dollars following a deal to bring an AFL game to Far North Queensland this year.

Beyond that, AFL Cairns Managing Director Gary Young stated that the objective behind revamping the Cazalys Stadium is to landing sports and training camps if Brisbane is awarded the summer Olympic Games in 2032.

Young told mediapersons that AFL Cairns’ intentions to upgrade Cazalys Stadium were to strike a deal to bring long-term AFL games to the region.

AFL Cairns is a semi-professional Australian rules football league that includes clubs from the Cairns region in Queensland, Australia.

With the AFL’s annual game in the Chinese city of Shanghai again canceled for 2021, St Kilda and Adelaide will instead be playing their regular season fixture in Cairns.

With this one-off fixture necessitating upgrades at Cazalys Stadium, Young sees that a longer term deal with an AFL club will prompt further venue upgrades.

Young further told mediapersons, “I think we can use this as a catalyst, the AFL and Tourism Events Queensland are treating us seriously, as is the council about AFL continuing in Cairns. It is great for our profile and it will work in well with the Olympic bid, going with venue improvement.”

Young added, “I think we are starting to build a case for expanding the capabilities of the stadium. We start to bring the whole thing together, AFL, maybe the Olympics, the Elton John concert we had, we have proven we can handle these things, and we were set to have international cricket up here before that fell over.”

In Darwin, AFLNT and local business groups have presented plans for a $300 million, 25,000-seat sports stadium providing scintillating views of Frances Bay and Darwin Harbour.

AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) is the peak body for Australian Rules Football in the Northern Territory and governs all leagues, development and talent programs.

To be lodged on McMinn Street near the center of the City, AFLNT Chairman Sean Bowden has said that such a development “will make Darwin a true capital City”.

AFLNT has already gained in-principle support from the Darwin major business group, Chamber of Commerce and Australian Hotels Association of the Northern Territory.

Aiming for construction to begin within five years, Bowden told newmen, “It’s a stadium that will be for the community and at the same time, a facility that we’re engaging with architects, project managers and the Northern Territory Government to secure and develop to a major level.”

With costings and financial backing to be revealed during the first half of the year, Bowden added, “Right now we think the project and all it embraces can help drive the Northern Territory through the economic issues created by the pandemic, so now is the time to move. It will make Darwin … a place that is truly liveable for the people and with the same opportunities as the other major Cities. Our vision for the stadium also includes South East Asia and India for events like the Indian Premier League, their under-23 cricket league and soccer (football) throughout Asia.”

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