Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) CEO Matt Carroll has stated the Gabba really only needs “a coat of paint” to host the 2032 Brisbane Olympics and Paralympics, saying the main beneficiaries of the stadium’s planned redevelopment will be AFL and cricket.
“Let’s be honest, the infrastructure at the Gabba is for the AFL and cricket,” he said.
“The Olympics and Paralympics will use it for a month, if they could just give it a coat of paint.
“Those sports will be the beneficiaries of a refurb, or a rebuild, of the Gabba.”
The timing of the remarks at Monday’s National Press Club were probably not the best given the Queensland government’s unequivocal support of the plan to demolish and rebuild the stadium at a $2.7 billion cost to the taxpayer.
Carroll later issued a statement saying the AOC’s support of the redevelopment “hasn’t changed”.
“The redevelopment sits within the IOC’s New Norm parameters along with other projects that will deliver a long-term benefit to the Queensland community, such as community sports centres,” he stated.
“The AOC has long maintained the Gabba redevelopment will largely benefit the Brisbane Lions and cricket — with the stadium to be used for a month to host Olympic and Paralympic Games events.”
Carroll also felt compelled to step on the toes of the federal government, saying the AOC maintained its position that Russian and Belarusian athletes will compete at the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.
This comes despite the federal government recently joining the petition of more than 30 countries calling for calling for a ban.
“It’s not the athletes who started the war, who are causing the grief and the tragedy,” Carroll said.
“The AOC’s position is that of the International Olympic Committee.
“When the war ends, and it will end, a lot of countries will start trading with Russia again.”
Carroll was more focused on the funding of sports in general at the Press Club, saying Australia needs to address a $2 billion funding shortfall and overhaul the way sport is managed by the federal government.
Carroll said there should be a stand-alone department dedicated to sport at a federal level to sign off on a new statement of purpose to guide the industry.
“Without investment, what governments in Australia want sport to achieve for the community is not going to happen,” said Carroll.
“And in all honesty and openness, unless the situation is rectified, Australia will be staring failure in the face at the 2026 Commonwealth Games and the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games because our home teams will have been undermined by inaction.”