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Footy boss confident on stadium deal

New AFL Commission chairman Richard Goyder can’t envisage a situation where West Coast and Fremantle home games are not played at Perth Stadium next year.

It is understood the AFL clubs were close to signing a heads of agreement with venue operator Venues Live before the State government went into election caretaker mode.

However, an impasse between the WA Football Commission and the State government meant the two clubs could not commit to playing at the $1.3 billion stadium in Burswood.

The WAFC remains adamant it should be no worse off financially by moving football to Perth Stadium.

It rejected a compensation package of more than $100 million over 10 years to surrender its lease on Subiaco Oval. The parties also disagreed on where the WAFC would be housed if it surrendered the lease.

Despite the sticking points, Mr Goyder was convinced today the Eagles and Dockers would play home games at Perth Stadium for next year’s AFL season.

“Clearly, we want these negotiations to conclude,” Mr Goyder said.

“I can’t imagine that a stadium of that quality wouldn’t have AFL football being played at it in 2018.”

Mr Goyder, a Fremantle board member from 2006 to 2011, believed the parties were “reasonably close” to reaching a deal. “Obviously in Western Australia there’s been a State election and the government went into caretaker mode, and that’s put things on hold for a while,” he said.

“There’s a new government. I expect the WA Football Commission, the clubs and the AFL, to the extent required, will continue those discussions.

“Hopefully, we’ll end up with an outcome soon that is good for both the Eagles and Dockers and also for the WAFC, given Subiaco won’t be part of AFL football in the future once the deal’s done,” Mr Goyder said. “It’s really important that we get an outcome that works for the WAFC because that’s the main body that looks after the development of the game in WA.”

He will take over from chairman Mike Fitzpatrick next month.

He refused to offer his personal preference over the prospect of a twilight grand final.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan reiterated his commitment to the twilight grand final matter being settled around the start of the home-and-away season, which begins on Thursday.

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