Coast bid assured a new home

Rugby League

THE Gold Coast's chances of re-joining the NRL competition has soared with the Queensland Government yesterday giving them an iron-clad guarantee to fund a new multi-million stadium.

The multi-million dollar government "gift" to either re-develop the unsuitable Carrara Stadium or build a brand new stadium at Robina has turned up the heat on Wellington and the Central Coast both bidding for entry in an expanded 2007 competition.

Gold Coast franchise CEO Michael Searle said yesterday's developments removed the final hurdle by providing the NRL with a water-tight assurance they would have a ground suitable to host matches.

The decision on where the stadium, with an expected capacity of 25,000, would be built would be left to the Gold Coast City Council to decide.

A new stadium would come with a price tag of around $80 million.

"This puts a wax seal on our submission, we can't do any more," Searle said after meeting with Queensland's deputy premier and minister for sport, Terry Mackenroth.

"The biggest doubt hanging over our application was the facility we were going to play out of.

"But with the Queensland Government and Gold Coast City Council moving down the path they have, we've now got an ironclad guarantee of a rugby league style stadium at either Carrara or Robina."

The NRL had told the Gold Coast group they would not grant them a licence until they had a suitable stadium.

But Searle said they now had a Government guarantee that they would bankroll the cost of building a stadium.

Searle said he would forward the State Government's proposal and a copy of the final submission of the franchise's latest business plan to NRL boss David Gallop for them to make a decision on when they review expansion sometime in August.

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