When politics and sport mix we sometimes experience a scenario that would not be out of place in a Lewis Carroll book.
First some truisms.
No-one can possibly claim that a city of five million people with four strong football codes should not have sufficient stadium space for 14 Sydney-based teams.
No-one can seriously argue that if stadia are in need of repair or replacement, society should allocate the resources to do this.
If politicians do not agree with both of these statements, then I fear that the support for professional sport in this state is dead.
Let’s look at the arguments in favour.
The CBD of Sydney needs the SCG and a rectangular football stadium of modern construction for the next 20 years to cater for the four codes.
The present partially demolished stadium was in need of upgrade and renovation, and it is better to knock it down and rebuild it rather than piecemeal repair it. This project should not cause unnecessary damage to the environment of Moore Park.
There will also be an improvement in the flow of spectators once the light rail opens in the next two (or 20) years.
On the other hand, opponents say the project is too expensive and should have been handled with a repair job. The money for the rectangular stadium should go to schools and health care not a stadium that will be filled only once or twice a year.
We don’t need a rectangular stadium in Moore Park. Go to Homebush or Parramatta. Sorry Roosters, Souths, Sydney FC, Waratahs and sundry secondary rugby internationals.
There is no question that this is seen by Labour as a great election issue and may help them unseat the Coalition at the NSW state election on Saturday 23 March.
They are receiving great support from the City of Sydney Council whose greatest claim to fame is clogging up the CBD roads with rarely used bike lanes.
No other state in the country seems to have had this issue. Their politicians seem to grab onto infrastructure development in sport as something to be lauded not squashed.
My problem with the SCG Trust is not its management of that precinct which has been good, but that its appointees do not represent the thousands of SCG members (of which I am one) and seems a parking place for some favoured appointees.