Leichhardt Oval must be saved, not closed

Sunday, 24 March 2024

Media release
Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne

After a week of public commentary claiming Leichhardt Oval will or should be closed to elite sport, the incredible atmosphere at last night's Wests Tigers win over Cronulla shows why the ground must be saved.

Inner West Council is calling on the NSW Government to transfer 10 per cent of the $309 million allocated to the Penrith Stadium upgrade to save the eighth wonder of the world.

Mayor Darcy Byrne said the Leichhardt Oval Masterplan submitted to the Government last year can be implemented with a fraction of the funds that other grounds have received.

"The 16,000 fans at Leichhardt Oval last night can all testify to the fact that it continues to have the best atmosphere of any suburban ground," Byrne said.

"Despite this, Leichhardt and Campbelltown remain the only suburban grounds that have not received a cent in NSW Government funding.

"Transferring just 10 per cent of the funds from Penrith Stadium to Leichhardt will help us save the ground for the next 50 years, while Penrith will still get an expensive, Rolls Royce upgrade.

"Unlike other suburban grounds we have become a hub for women's soccer and rugby league. Leichhardt is now the home ground of Sydney FC women's team and hosted 8 of the FIFA Women's World Cup teams last year.

"The Council has invested $5 million to continue improving the ground over recent years and we have attracted more content than ever before including 83 elite sporting fixtures in 2023.

"Wests Tigers are now playing 5 games a year at Leichhardt too.

"However, without some of the state government funding that other grounds have all received the facilities there will not be up to standard in future years. That's just statement of fact.

"Last year we submitted a detailed, costed and professional Leichhardt Oval masterplan to the government and yet we still have still not received a cent.

"Penrith Stadium, which hosts just 11 games a year and has no masterplan at all, is receiving $309 million. This makes no sense.

"Why should there be gold plated urinals at Penrith while Leichhardt Oval suffers demolition by neglect."


For media enquiries please contact Jonny Browne, Jonny.Browne@innerwest.nsw.gov.au

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Page last updated: 26 Mar 2024