Council and North Ballarat Football Club at odds over night fixtures

The North Ballarat Football Club says it gave the City of Ballarat five months’ notice of its intention to stage a night Victorian Football League fixture this weekend, which has since been rescheduled.   

Confusion: The North Ballarat Football Club says it indicated its intention to play a night match at Eureka Stadium against Williamstown to the City of Ballarat in December.  Picture: Skyline Drone Imaging.

Confusion: The North Ballarat Football Club says it indicated its intention to play a night match at Eureka Stadium against Williamstown to the City of Ballarat in December. Picture: Skyline Drone Imaging.

The Roosters were originally set to take on Williamstown under lights at Eureka Stadium on Friday night, however the fixture was shifted to Saturday afternoon after the council told the club last week the facility, which is still under construction, was not fit for a night match.  

In a statement the club said all VFL fixtures were completed prior to Christmas, however City of Ballarat director of community development Neville Ivey said council indicated to the club back in 2016 that night games should not be scheduled during the construction phase. 

“We made it clear to the club that scheduling any night games during the construction phase wouldn’t be wise,” Mr Ivey said.  “Pretty much from day one when we said we were going to build a stadium we’ve shared that (night games) really shouldn’t be an option.”  

While eight new lights were installed around the oval last year, further lighting will be constructed on the two stands to help visibility on the ground. 

“We never stated we would be ready (to hold night fixtures) by this time.”  

The confusion comes after the club indicated it would likely challenge the compensation offer of $5.5 million for the compulsory acquisition of the Eureka Stadium precinct.   

The offer was officially put to North Ballarat earlier this week after the council took control of the premises in late April.  

While the compensation has been transferred to the North Ballarat’s solicitors and can be used, the club has three months in which to ask for further compensation.   

In a statement, North Ballarat chairman John Nevett said the club had independent valuers assessing the premises.  In an open letter published in The Courier last week Mr Nevett said the club anticipated the final compensation sum would be far greater than the $5.5 million. 

The club is currently occupying the premises under a grace period and is in the process of establishing a temporary lease, which will remain in place for three months, with the option of being extended to six months should the council not be able to finalise a lease in that time. 

Council maintain construction of the 11,000-capacity stadium is running on schedule and will be ready for the round 22 AFL clash between Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs.