Gallop tips 2015 start for team
CENTRAL Queensland rugby league fans may have to wait until the 2015 season to cheer on their own team.
NRL chief executive David Gallop says he believes the league should expand by two teams, but it might not happen until two years after the introduction of a new money-spinning broadcast deal due to be operating in 2013.
Central Queensland is one of seven declared bidders for the two new franchises likely to be made possible by the broadcast contract which is expected to pump about $1 billion into the game.
Denis Keeffe, chief executive of the CQ NRL Bid, says Gallop’s comments will hold considerable sway with the independent commission which is due to be appointed to run the game later this year.
“It’s speculation at the moment of course, but Mr Gallop will remain as chief executive and his opinion will count for a lot,” said Mr Keeffe.
“If franchises won’t be available until 2015 then we will adjust accordingly.
“The important thing is that, if we are one of the lucky bids, we are given at least 18 months notice.
"That’s the minimum requirement to build a competitive team and stadium.”
Mr Keeffe said the bid would prefer an expansion in 2014 and could have a team ready for the 2013 season if needed.
In his most expansive interview on the subject, Mr Gallop said he thought the league should give its existing clubs a couple of years with access to the new television money to get themselves stable before new teams were introduced.
With bids from Brisbane, Perth, Ipswich, NSW Central Coast, Papua New Guinea and Wellington to contend with, the CQ bid team continues to seek local support.
Mr Keeffe said 30,000 bid members had signed the petition while QR National had committed to be the principal sponsor of a new Rockhampton-based team.
More than 150 businesses have signed up as corporate partners and both sides of politics have pledged to build a 20,000-seat stadium in Rockhampton if the bid is successful.