Brisbane Roar has contacted AFL counterparts the Gold Coast Suns over potentially relocating the A-League club’s training base to the Suns’ $22 million home at Carrara.
The Roar have been based at a $9 million council-owned facility in Logan since mid-2018, a deal which ended over a decade of vagrancy for the club.
That Heritage Park facility hosts both the club’s management and football departments, with both the A-League and W-League sides training on-site. Academy teams from U-12 to U-17 train in QUT’s Kelvin Grove campus located in central Brisbane.
But foxsports.com.au can reveal Roar bosses have held preliminary talks with the Suns over a potential deal that would see the A-League side join the Suns at their impressive Carrara facility.
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Two other Gold Coast locations are also firmly on the table for the club’s potential relocation: Cbus stadium, home to NRL club the Gold Coast Titans; and Runaway Bay.
The Suns’ Carrara base has no rectangular football fields, which would prove a significant barrier to the potential move. But all three facilities would require significant upgrades to host the A-League side.
The Roar has previously been situated at Ballymore and Richlands – the latter being the home of Lions FC – but it is unclear if those two venues have been ruled out as potential landing sites if the club relocates once again.
The news comes as the Roar faces a bitter legal dispute with the Logan City Council over alleged unpaid utilities bills relating to the Logan facility.
Logan City Council last month sued the club over an alleged $153,714.96 in unpaid utility bills dating between October 1, 2018 and December 31, 2019. Additional fees and other unpaid costs take the total figure to $163,898.05.
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The club blasted those claims in a public statement released late August.
“Brisbane Roar FC strongly disputes charges brought against the Club by Logan City Council, which primarily relate to water usage at the Logan Metro Sports Park complex at Heritage Park,” the club statement read.
“A deal that was agreed upon in 2015 by Brisbane Roar and Logan City Council was that sponsorship benefits provided by the Club to the council were to off-set the provision of facilities.”
While training facilities are a key factor in the club’s long-term thinking, the Roar is also facing significant uncertainty over its home stadium. The Roar have struggled for attendances at the cavernous Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, with crowds hovering around the 10,000 mark in recent campaigns.
In February, the club revealed it was in negotiations to redevelop an unnamed Brisbane venue to create a purpose-built stadium worth around $60 million with a capacity of 12,000-17,000 fans.
Three matches this season were played at a packed Dolphin Stadium in Redcliffe, while the club has previously hosted matches at Cbus stadium.
Redcliffe, alongside Perry Park and Ballymore, strongly looms as a potential site for an upgraded, boutique stadium to host the Roar.
“We are looking at taking an existing sporting venue and reconfiguring it to an exceptional standard – that’s what’s in play at the moment,” Roar vice-chairman Chris Fong told The World Game.
“There are development plans and things are moving in the right direction … but we think it’s a realistic concept which could be up and running in under three years.”
The financial impacts of COVID-19 on the club’s bottom line – not to mention potential government funding – will likely delay those plans.