The Sydney Swans will reportedly end their regular season commitments to ANZ Stadium from the start of the 2017 AFL season, an agreement that currently sees them host three home games per year at Homebush.
The announcement comes in the wake of news the stadium will receive a $350 million upgrade, adding a roof and stadiums that can be adjusted depending on specific code requirements.
The Stadium has been a point of contention amongst fans for many years, many often flagging frustrations associated with the grounds location, as well as the quality of the surface.
Following the announcement, Swans chairman, Andrew Pridham stated: “The SCG was our home when we first arrived in Sydney, we train every day at the ground and there is no doubt it remains the spiritual home for our club in Sydney.”
The club’s Chief executive, Andrew Ireland, also reinforced the significance of the venue to the club: “Having a single home ground for our Club is important to us and gives us the opportunity to better work with the SCG on delivering the best possible fan experience.”
In support of the club’s decision, initial reaction to the announcement has been largely positive from Sydney fans:
— James Noble (@JSNoble) November 23, 2014
— Liam Jilla (@Jilla37) November 23, 2014
The arrangement will also extend to any home finals hosted by the Swans, where seating capacity has previously forced a move to the 80,000+ seat stadium.
The 46,000 seat capacity of the SCG would have been more than enough for the Swans’ Qualifying Final win against Fremantle (35,998), but did fall just short for their Preliminary Final win against North Melbourne (48,029).
Sydney will be able to schedule these high interest fixtures as the SCG, however the final decision on scheduling finals will fall on the AFL.
The Swans will continue to play three home games at the Homebush stadium throughout the 2015 and 2016 AFL seasons, before making the permanent move to the SCG.