Melbourne Cricket Club chief Stuart Fox has conceded the AFL Grand Final could be moved from the MCG in future, if the AFL wishes to change the agreement after the current contract ends.
The MCG will host the Grand Final until at least 2037. However, this year’s match sees the top-placed side Adelaide Crows facing Richmond at their home ground, in front of an expected sea of rapid Tigers fans.
The past four Grand Finals has seen a Victorian team face an interstate side, with the Victorian club winning all of them. The interstate side was technically the ‘home’ team in three of those four matches.
“That’s a possibility, but it’s obviously contracted for many more years,” Fox told SEN’s Hungry For Sport, when asked if the MCG could one day lose Grand Final hosting rights.
“We are obviously in the best position with 100,000 seats to continue that on. It’s our desire to play it here forever for obvious reasons.
“It is possible it could be played elsewhere. It’s the AFL’s decision and we would encourage them to keep it in Victoria at the best stadium in the world.”
In 2015, Port Adelaide president David Koch urged the AFL to abolish the MCG-Grand Final contract, saying, "if you want to have equalisation, let's have it. The Grand Final is not played on someone's home ground. Let's undo the deal.”
Five-time premiership player Kevin Bartlett believes there is no chance the Grand Final will change venues, as it’ll mess with a century-long tradition.
The MCG first hosted the event in 1902, and excluding World War II and the 1991 decider, every single Grand Final has been played at the historic venue.
Western Australia will open their new Perth Stadium next year, while the Crows and Power moved into the redeveloped Adelaide Oval in 2014.
“Good luck with that one,” Bartlett said, of the Grand Final being moved from the MCG.
“Even in the latest stadiums being built, they don’t hold 100,000 people. It’s like Augusta, that’s where they play The Masters. You think about Australian rules football as a sport, over the years it has seen the MCG as being the home of football.
“I think people in South Australia, Western Australia, Sydney and Brisbane, they recognise the fact there is a symbolic ground where the Grand Final is played and that is the MCG.
“I would be very very surprised if it ever goes to a home final of a football club coming out of another state.”