Why NRL boss Peter V’landys’ bid to blackmail the NSW Government over $800million stadiums is doomed
Two years ago, rugby league boss Peter V’landys was dubbed ‘The Messiah’.
Today he is known as ‘The Miser’.
After guiding the game through the pandemic, V’landys could do no wrong. He was the darling of the media and the sports community, but by using the NRL final as a pawn in an effort to pressure the NSW government to spend $800 million to improve three suburbs, he has put himself in the spotlight. foot shot.
‘Busy’ is a way of describing what V’landys has been trying to do. TV host Karl Stefanovic described it as “almost a bribe.”
Social media bloggers have gone further, calling it “blackmail.”
All three terms are equally appropriate.
While he could say all he’s tried to do is hold the NSW government in a deal to improve the home of the bald eagles, tigers and sharks for the benefit of rugby competition, V’landys seems to have got the mood wrong estimated. of the people.
Where he once seemed popular enough to be elected Prime Minister on a wave of effusive support, his approval rating is now only marginally higher than that of on-the-nose ex-Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Peter V’landys – once hailed as the NRL’s savior in the pandemic – hasn’t read the room when it comes to helping the NSW government make a fortune on suburban land
The boss of the ARL committee has sought to bolster the NSW government (Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet, pictured) by threatening to move the NRL’s grand final to Brisbane
For the diehard Sydney rugby league fan, V’landys may not have done anything wrong. Surely long-suffering supporters of the Sea Eagles, Tigers and Sharks would applaud his tactics if it meant giving their aging home base a multi-million dollar facelift.
As they would say, all he did was try to take the government at its word. The fact that he threatened to backtrack on his part of the deal – to play the NRL Grand Final exclusively in Sydney until at least 2046 – and used the biggest game on the footy calendar as a bargaining chip is immaterial.
Who cares whether the government now needs the money to help flood victims, they would say, a deal is a deal.
That’s one way to look at it. The self-important way.
At the heart of the dispute are suburbs such as Leichhardt Oval in inland Sydney (pictured). V’landys doesn’t realize that most people don’t want to spend a fortune on stadiums that only play a few games a year when the money is needed for schools and flood relief
The other way is to wonder why taxpayers should foot the bill for suburban football fields in the first place.
The $800 million would come from the state coffers. NSW Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet has said it should go towards the estimated $4 billion cost of the devastating floods that ravaged northern NSW and parts of Queensland earlier this year.
It’s an emotional argument reinforced by a factor that V’landys and his supporters seem to have overlooked: not everyone likes rugby league.
When their tax dollars are handed out, the non-footy believers would rather they go to charities such as flood relief, or hospitals, schools and roads, rather than covering the nests of football clubs.
Perhaps even better facilities for youth sport which, unlike the NRL, is run by volunteers.
As one media site put it: ‘If the NRL and the councils want to upgrade their stadiums, use their own money and not (that of) the taxpayers of NSW. A tripartite division: municipalities, NRL and the clubs.’
The NRL’s grand final went to Brisbane in 2021 as it had to be due to the pandemic, but this year’s biggest game is being used as a tool to beat the NSW government (pictured, Penrith after winning the 2021 title)
It’s a fair argument. The only people who will really benefit from an upgraded football stadium (apart from the clubs that gain revenue from increased ticket sales and the luxury corporate boxes) are the fans who roll up to 15 games a year at most.
Much more sitting at home and watching the matches on TV, which is why the NRL gets paid billions of dollars for the commercial rights. Billions of dollars, the non-rugby league community believes, should go toward improving the ground.
If V’landys thinks voters will turn against the NSW government because the grand finale has left Accor Stadium (where the Roosters won the 2019 title, pictured), he’s underestimating how little they care where it’s held — and how many of them hate to go to the ground
And there’s something else that V’landys and his fellow commissioners seem to have missed when they threatened to take the grand final away from NSW and hand it over to Queensland: does anyone really care where the game is played?
Whether it’s for 82,500 at the Accor Stadium in Homebush, or 52,500 at the Suncorp Stadium, it’s primarily a TV event. The city in which it is played is largely irrelevant.
More to the point, a quick look at the comments online confirms that the folks at NSW Accor find an unappealing location in the middle of nowhere that is hard to get to and even harder to get out of.
Similarly, the people of Queensland are tired of their Prime Minister ‘Red Carpet’ Annastacia Palaszczuk throwing millions of dollars in public funds to secure one-off events that they believe are nothing more than photo ops for her and her ministers.
It seems that Peter V’Landys misread the room once.
Or maybe he just reads too much in his own press.