AFL

AFL: Cats to ask supporters to help pay for upgrade

Geelong will be asking supporters to dip into their wallets to help fund the next stage of Simonds Stadium's upgrade.

As announced at the club's AGM on Thursday night, some of Geelong's wealthiest supporters will be asked to help with the club's contribution of $5 million to stage four of the redevelopment.

Geelong chief executive Brian Cook also stated the club will be looking to wipe out a debt of $3.7 million from stages two and three.

As part of the next phase of the project, which will lead to the demolition of the Brownlow and Jennings stands, the stadium's capacity will be increased to 36,000.

Speaking on SEN on Friday morning, Geelong president Colin Carter said diminished revenue and a $3.3 million loss in 2015 will force the club to ask their own for funds.

"The stage that is being built at the moment is a $90 million project; it's also going to diminish our revenue capacity this coming year," Carter said.

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"We're going to put $5 million of our own into this stage.

"So we're going to have a fundraising program among our supporters and hope to finish up pretty close to debt free."

Due for completion in May 2017, the state-of-the-art stand will house new broadcasting areas, football department facilities and a social club. However, the stadium's capacity will be reduced to approximately 30,000 while the redevelopment is under construction.

Of the $90 million cost for stage four, the State Government will be providing $75 million, the City of Greater Geelong $6 million, the AFL $4 million and the remaining $5 million from the Cats.

Construction on the stand was due to start on Wednesday, but has been delayed temporarily because of inclement weather.

"We understand if there is public money spent and by the time we have finished, there will have been a couple of hundred million spent on the stadium and we have put in $20-$25m," Carter said.

"There is a lot of public money in there and we understand that it has to be used intensively for more than football.

"So we are supportive of those other uses and we accept that part of the consequence of that is we won't have it for training all the time."

Geelong will be required to find a temporary training ground throughout the year, with a newly-developed facility at Deakin University Waurn Ponds campus earmarked for use when Simonds is unavailable.

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