A cross-code war has erupted after Sydney FC erected a Bunnings tarpaulin over the Sydney Roosters logo at Allianz Stadium on the weekend.
Ahead of Saturday evening’s A-League match against Melbourne Victory, Sydney FC’s first home game at the newly-constructed venue, an illuminated sign outside the $830 million stadium that reads “Home of the Sydney Roosters” was covered by the $150 tarp.
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As revealed by The Daily Telegraph, Roosters chief executive Joe Kelly and Sydney FC boss Adam Santo had a furious phone exchange over the issue on Tuesday
“I told him what he’d done was the equivalent of vandalism,” Kelly told the News Corp publication.
“I also told him we’d be looking at our legal options, then he hung up on me.”
The Roosters contacted Venues NSW to vent their frustration after the incident, and it was agreed that lights behind the sign would be switched off for future Sydney FC and NSW Waratahs matches at the stadium.
Football Australia marketing boss Peter Filipoulos tweeted: “Bizarre! How can a club from a rival code expect their brand be illuminated in-stadium at a shared government funded stadium at a co-tenant’s matches (from another code mind you) is beyond mind boggling.
“Reads like self entitlement & an inflated sense of importance over others.”
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Roosters chairman Nick Politis described the move as “very, very petty”.
“They obviously don’t understand our history,” he said.
“We’ve been on this site with three stadiums for 86 years. How long have they been around?
“What they did with the tarpaulin looked so hideous on a beautiful new $900 million stadium.
“They just have a ground hire agreement.
“We paid for our own facilities and we pay rent for the space we use.
“It’s in our contract that the signage is part of that agreement.”
Politis also told the News Corp publication that the club had paid $12.5 million to build their own centre of excellence and football offices at the government-funded venue.
During a charity backyard cricket event in Kirribilli on Thursday, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet were filmed arguing about the signage.
Albanese is a lifelong supporter of the South Sydney Rabbitohs supporter, who were recently barred from using Allianz Stadium as a permanent home ground, opting instead to stay at Accor Stadium in Sydney Olympic Park.
“It‘s got a Roosters sign, how have they done that?” Albanese said in the clip.
“No, tear it down!”