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Punt Road plans could force Tigers to relocate

Matt Thompson  March 29, 2013 10:02 AM

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The AFL's plans for a boutique Melbourne stadium could force Richmond to relocate

ANY PLAN to redevelop Punt Road into a third stadium for Melbourne would likely force Richmond to re-locate.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou has put the concept of a boutique stadium in the city squarely on the agenda, with the Tigers training base and Carlton's Visy Park slated as potential locations.

But as two of the code's bigger drawing clubs, it's unlikely either the Blues or Tigers would want to host home games at a 20,000-seat venue themselves.

Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale is open to any proposal, but said there'd need to be compelling case.

"I acknowledge the AFL is looking seriously at this. On face value it seems like a really exciting opportunity," Gale told AFL.com.au.

"It'd have to be a fairly strong commercial rationale to take it further," he said.  

The Tigers have only recently completed an upgrade of Punt Road oval, and have established the ME Bank Centre as a state-of-the-art training complex.

Even a two-year project would force the Tigers to find a new place to train.

Carlton's scenario would be slightly different, and the Blues have welcomed the concept – but the club won't be chipping in for the costs.

"It's got to be funded by the AFL and the state government and if that happens then it can work," chief executive Greg Swann told AFL.com.au.

Swann said it was up to the AFL to "pull the trigger" if anything was to happen in the next couple of years.

A third option for a boutique stadium could be Casey Fields at Cranbourne.

Melbourne currently has a presence at the south-eastern site, in one of the metropolitan area's biggest urban growth corridors.

It's understood a stadium at the previously floated Docklands E-gate site is not currently on the agenda.

Matt Thompson is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter @MattThompsonAFL