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Etihad Stadium Chief responds to North Melbourne after ‘world’s worst deal’ claim
Etihad Stadium Chief Executive Paul Sergeant has released a strong response to North Melbourne Chairman James Brayshaw's claim that his club has the "world's worst stadium deal."
According to a report at AFL.com.au, Sergeant has highlighted that the venue has helped keep North Melbourne afloat, having forgiven a significant debt incurred by the Kangaroos.
In statement to AFL.com.au on Friday night (20th March), Sergeant stated "we are disappointed by comments made by ... James Brayshaw at the North Melbourne Football Club annual general meeting in regards to Etihad Stadium.
"North Melbourne has been a valued long-time partner of Etihad Stadium and we have been of the view that the relationship was a positive one.
"Our long-term support of the club is evidenced by Etihad Stadium providing an interest-free loan of $1.5 million to North Melbourne over a period of 10 years.
"At the conclusion of this period, MSL (Etihad Stadium) forgave the debt in total.
"Based on dialogue with the club at that time, Etihad Stadium management understood the loan arrangements were pivotal in keeping the North Melbourne Football Club afloat."
Sergeant went on to say North's attendances would drive the success of the club's financial returns.
He added "should North Melbourne achieve average attendances at their Etihad Stadium home games in the region of 44,000, we calculate their returns would be substantially higher than they currently are.”
Last season, North’s average home crowd at Etihad Stadium was 27,479.
Brayshaw told North Melbourne members on their AGM last Wednesday night he was sick of hearing how the club was being propped up by the AFL, saying the equalisation funding the Roos received from the League was essentially compensation for their inequitable deal at Etihad.
Brayshaw stated "we have the worst stadium deal in the history of world sport, nearly.
"So therefore the AFL recognise that and they give us basically a compensation amount of money for the fact that we are forced to play games there and don't make any money.
"It annoys me when I hear commentary around these clubs that are propped up by the AFL and wouldn't be profitable or wouldn't exist if they weren't propped up by the AFL.
"It's actually nothing to do with that. I think it was 2011 when we last played all our home games at Etihad and we had a pretty good attendance here I think in 2011 and we made $611,000 net."
Click here to view the original article from Matt Thompson at AFL media.
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