The Canberra Raiders have been fined $150,000 for moving a home game to Wagga next season as the ACT government have come out and said that the club has breached their deal to play all matches in Canberra.
The government are believed to enforce the terms of the contract to play all home games at Canberra Stadium as well as a financial penalty if games are not played at the venue, according to .
The club is keen to negotiate a new deal into their stadium contract for 2020 and beyond.
The decision to fine the Raiders has raised questions given that NSW government has committed $4 million to a rugby league centre of excellence in Braddon.
This financial contract helped the Raiders build a $19 million facility at Northbourne Oval.
The Raiders are meant to play one game in Wagga and another in the city in 2020 as they hoped the government will agree with the move in order to give regional fans a go to watch the game.
“The ACT isn’t an island. The Raiders are the NRL team for thousands of fans in Southern NSW. Many of the Raiders’ greatest players are sons of regional NSW,” Barilaro said.
“Stars like Junee’s Laurie Daley or Queanbeyan’s Terry Campese and Ricky Stuart are titans of the game.
“If this is how the ACT government is going to treat the Raiders and their fans, then maybe it’s time to start thinking about bringing the Raiders back to Seiffert Oval and the investment it would take to make that happen.”
With the stadium agreement set to expire next year, the Raiders will meet with the government to discuss a new stadium agreement.
With both Canberra teams keen to increase their funding’s, the ACT Brumbies are set to be watching the discussion closely.
The Raiders and Brumbies will push to have their deals similar to the GWS Giants as they have $23 million, over 10 years as well as play three home games at Manuka Oval per year.
Sport Australia is still deciding whether or not to sell Canberra Stadium to the ACT government who have delayed plans to build a new $400 million stadium in Civic.
ACT sport minister Yvette Berry believes the fine had to be put in place due to catering and game day contracts.
“The ACT government values its longstanding relationship with the Raiders and the benefits they bring the Canberra community, including the major cross-border investment for the new Canberra District Rugby League centre of excellence and community hub,” Berry said in a statement.
“Although we support the intent of the Raiders in reaching out to the broader region, it is a requirement of our funding agreement that they play each home NRL game at [Canberra] Stadium given the major investment the ACT community makes in both the stadium and the team.”
The Raiders are reportedly disappointment with the government’s decision as the club will look at a different arrangement in the new contract.
To lease Canberra stadium for NRL and Super Rugby games, the government pays $350,000 per year. If Canberra Stadium gets bought, then it would give an option to redevelop the venue, or sell the venue in order to put more money into a Civic stadium.