South Melbourne cements place at Lakeside

first_imgBehind the scenes, South Melbourne hasn’t been having the best time at Lakeside Stadium.Relinquishing their exclusive rights to the then Bob Jane Stadium in 2010, a deal was signed for the club to share its premises with Athletics Australia. For relinquishing their rights, the club secured for a pretty impressive sum of $950,000 to “build a social club within its exclusive space at the redeveloped Lakeside Oval”.The Memorandum of Understanding which they signed with the State government (which is now being administered by the States Sports Centre Trust) was to have the club paid in instalments, but after one payment of $200,000, the money stopped, leaving the club scratching their heads over how to pay their builders. From the start of 2013, the club has had to cease all renovations, leaving both members and fans without a solid time frame on when they’ll be able to make use of the proposed Futsal centre, social club and football museum.Now, after a year of legal battles, the club has secured the next instalment of funding after it cemented its name at Lakeside Stadium with a 40 year lease. “It’s been a long time coming,” president Leo Athanasakis tells Neos Kosmos. “The trust was waiting for a signed lease to give us the rest of the funds, so now we can start building again.”Mr Athanasakis says the club will now have the ability to talk long term on plans at the stadium, and look to extending their presence even more.Right now the club has committed to building its initial plans from 2010, but Mr Athanaskis calls it the “first phase”.The second phase is still only in development, but will certainly look to make fans more comfortable and give more options to the club in the future. Mr Athanasakis says the club is assessing their finances before committing to anything.Spearheading negotiations was lawyer and president of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria, Bill Papstergiadis.“We have been working tirelessly in pursuing a transformation of the club,” he said. “Negotiating a resolution with the government on the stadium lease was one of the last remaining pieces in the puzzle. The legal issues involved were very complicated, however the Napthine government demonstrated a sincere approach to dealing with and resolving these issues with us.”With the first $200,000 spent on getting plans drawn up and the demolition, the club will be happy to see builders entering the site again. Mr Athanasakis estimates the project will be completed at the start of next season.Sitting on top of the NPL ladder with a considerable lead, the club might have brand new silverware to place in the museum very soon. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img

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