Members Update - 12.3.14

Your club continues to seek the best outcome for football in this State and wants to continue to play at Hindmarsh Stadium.

Your club continues to seek the best outcome for football in this State and wants to continue to play at Hindmarsh Stadium.

We know you enjoy the venue.

However, we will not be able to continue to play there should it become unaffordable.

Therefore we are particularly sensitive to anything that threatens to further increase costs on the club.

Hence, we note the ongoing comments from our landlord and stadium managers, the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, in relation to Hindmarsh Stadium.

The AEC is quoted today in The Advertiser that it “is charged with the responsibility of improving the stadium-s financial performance and upgrading the stadium-s facilities”.

We understand the AEC has an objective to run the stadium at a profit.

However, while some modifications are needed, such as improving the substandard changing rooms, other expenditure is not a priority; particularly if it leads to increased costs for the club and its fans through increased ticket prices.

It is an unavoidable reality of economics, if you spend more on something you have to recoup the funds from somewhere and now is not the time to proceed with unnecessary costs.

At present, AUFC is stretched to meet the existing costs imposed by our landlord. It is threatening the ability to continue at Hindmarsh.

The landlord is ultimately the government, whether it was previously the Office of Recreation and Sport or the AEC, as it is now.

Government holds the cards when it comes to the cost of staging A-League football in this State.

Adelaide United has no ability to affect that outcome at present but we would like to do so, by managing the stadium when the current contract with the AEC expires in May 2014.

The relationship between government and Adelaide United has been poor historically and we want it to change.

We hope we can build a more positive relationship with whoever wins the election on Saturday.

As the key stakeholders in the club, we thought we would now make public recent correspondence that we sent to both sides of politics.

Last week we wrote to the Premier and the Opposition Leader and those letters are available for your information here Letter to Premier and Leader of Opposition

We did so in a spirit of bipartisanship, but highlighting the issues with which we are dealing.

We said in our letters that “our agreement with the AEC remains a concern while our arrangements about training facilities with the Office of Recreation and Sport are less than satisfactory”.

Accordingly we alerted both leaders that the Board would, post the election, pursue management of Hindmarsh removing it from the AEC.

While the AEC runs entertainment venues and pop concerts very well, Adelaide United understands football. Given football is the only use of Hindmarsh Stadium we argue our case that we would run it better for the sport and for fans. We would also run it at a profit, returning money to the State.

We highlighted to the Premier and Opposition leader “that proposals to improve the stadium are expensive and will incur additional costs for the State”.

Irrespective whether they come from AEC profits or not, as the AEC is a government organisation the funds spent are ultimately those of the taxpayer.

We believe we would undertake improvements that are specific to football, and do not add more cost to the supporter.

The AEC does not understand priorities for a football stadium.

Red seats will look good, but as part of a total $4 million expenditure for the stadium we do not believe they are a priority at this stage.

In relation to training facilities we are also pursuing better options for the club.

To this end, we refer to the letter available here Letter from ORS & AUFC Response for your information correspondence between the Office of Recreation and Sport and AUFC.

As noted to the leaders, we said “the correspondence is self-explanatory and serves to highlight the very poor relations we have”.

As we said earlier, you can be sure that the club will seek to work with Government post the election, whoever is elected.

However, it is not able to simply accept the views portrayed in the media by the landlord as being the right ones or in the best interests of the club and the code at this time.