Oval stoush gets ugly

A LEGAL tussle between Fremantle council and the Fremantle Dockers over the surrender of the AFL club’s lease at Fremantle Oval is getting ugly.

Council staff say there is now little chance of an “amicable” solution.

Until the standoff is resolved, the council is hamstrung from implementing its masterplan for the site, which includes co-locating South and East Fremantle footy clubs and redeveloping the Stan Reilly building.

The Chook understands the Dockers want financial compensation for their training facilities at the oval, but the council believes they’re asking too much.

The Dockers pay a peppercorn rent to the council and the lease expires in 2054.

Bulldogs CEO Stuart Kemp says he would be disappointed if the council and Dockers could not come to an agreement and the masterplan entered a state of limbo.

In a recent report to the council, staff said that in a ‘business-as-usual’ scenario, the Dockers would be required to maintain the oval to the standard outlined in the lease irrespective of its level of use.

The council was hoping to have the Dockers out of the oval by April next year, when the club’s due to move into a new $109 million HQ in Cockburn Central.

“The Fremantle Football Club and the City of Fremantle continue to have ongoing discussions about the future of Fremantle Oval, including as recently as this week,” says Dockers CEO Steve Rosich.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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