SUBIACO Football Club’s CEO has revealed his club didn’t pursue a chance to host this year’s WAFL grand final at Leederville Oval after getting the inside running that Optus Stadium was in the box seat.
Vincent council, Subiaco and East Perth Football Club were working on a joint submission to host the final – a lucrative opportunity for local businesses – with the city sending the clubs a draft expression of interest in April this year.
But Tigers CEO Peter Capes told the Voice he decided it wasn’t worth pouring too much energy into the bid when it became apparent Perth’s big new arena was the “logical” choice.
“The WAFC commissioners had discussions with me about where the grand final could be played, and I said ‘every player wants to play at Optus, but if because of the Covid thing there was an opportunity to play at a local level, somewhere like Leederville, that would be ok’,” Mr Capes said.
“The commissioners indicated they wanted to continue playing at Optus as long as they could.”
East Perth CEO Dean Turner didn’t appear to have been updated on Subiaco’s views when the Voice spoke to him.
“It was an embarrassment, because people like ourselves and the business community would love to have been able to host the grand final,” Mr Turner said.
Last year’s grand final was played in Fremantle after local traders committed to $50,000 to help cover some of the WAFL’s costs, and Vincent’s bid had considered upping the ante to $70,000.
Mr Turner said the Royals had been ready to approach potential big sponsors, while the Voice heard some notable Leedy businesspeople were willing to contribute.
But the CEO said there wasn’t a follow-up email from the council letting the clubs know where the bid was up to. He says that when he noted a discrepancy between the council’s initial correspondence and the WAFC’s submission deadline, he rang the council and got the response: “Oh shit … damn” but says that wasn’t the staffer preparing the EOI.
The issue came up at Vincent’s June council meeting where former councillor Dudley Maier quizzed the current lineup about why the paperwork didn’t go in.
He also asked “can you confirm that both the Leederville business community and the football club stood to significantly benefit financially if the grand final was held at Leederville?” and questioned who took responsibility.
by STEVE GRANT and DAVID BELL