Richmond Football Club today thanked the Daniel Andrews State Government following the announcement of a $15.5 million funding contribution for the redevelopment of Punt Road Oval and the establishment of the William Cooper Centre.
The planned redevelopment will provide improvements and much-needed upgrades to the Club’s men’s and women’s football facilities, while also supporting Richmond’s cutting-edge community programs and administration needs.
“Richmond is where we belong, and Punt Road Oval is our home. This redevelopment will ensure the Club remains strong and bold - and in the heart of one of the world’s greatest sporting precincts - long into the future,” Richmond President Peggy O’Neal said.
“We are incredibly thankful the State Government shares our vision for the future of Punt Road Oval, the role it will play in supporting the elite performance of our men, the continued growth of our women’s football programs, and the importance of the Club’s community activities.
“We need to keep evolving as a Club and after careful consideration, the Board believes this redevelopment will best meet our future needs, that of our fans and the community.”
The redevelopment will create a thriving high-performance hub for the Club’s male and female footballers. The re-sizing of the oval and upgraded amenities will allow for AFLW and second-tier competition games to be played at the venue in front of crowds up to 8000.
“The William Cooper Centre will provide agile and flexible learning spaces that will support the Korin Gamadji Institute and Bachar Houli Foundation programming. On-site accommodation will also support the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School. This facility will empower young people to shape their own futures,” O’Neal said.
The $15.5 million provided by the State Government comes on top of $15 million committed by the Federal Government early in 2019. The Club will now work to secure the balance of the funding needed to deliver the $60 million project.
“Every footballer deserves an equal chance to play the game to the best of their ability and that’s why we back initiatives that provide a level playing field,” Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula said in making the announcement.
“Beyond the game, Richmond have shown leadership in their community involvement and the new facilities will allow them to extend this reach.”
Stage one of the planned works - pending final planning approval - will see the Punt Road Oval playing surface resized to MCG dimensions, removal of the existing Jack Dyer Stand, construction of new public seating and amenities, female changerooms, community facilities and a function space.
Stage two will see construction of an underground car park while stage three will see a new landscaped forecourt, refurbishment of the existing Swinburne Centre including a new sports hall, Tigerland Superstore and public entry. It will also see a new landscaped terrace behind the northern goals.
“We need our AFL program to train on a ground that is the same dimensions as the MCG and we want our AFLW and second-tier competition teams to play at a venue that not only meets their needs, but that of those supporters that come to watch them play,” O’Neal said.
“To achieve that outcome and ensure Richmond remains at Punt Road Oval long into the future we need to remove the Jack Dyer Stand. Elements of the stand will be retained and incorporated in the new facility.
“These recent years have been an exciting chapter in our rich history, and this redevelopment is the crucial next phase as we continue to build a Club that our members and supporters are proud to be a part of.”