Chaos as Snapper Rocks in jeopardy
The long-running CT event at Snapper Rocks is at risk as a funding disagreement between the Queensland Government and the WSL worsens.
The Gold Coast Bulletin is today reporting that the WSL is approaching towns in NSW to host the event after QLD refused to foot the WSL's quarantine bill.
The issue is a result of differing responses to COVID at state government level. NSW has been willing to use public money to pay quarantine bills for athletes, while Queensland (and also Victoria) have stood firm on forking out.
Last year, the AFL grand final and various NRL matches were held in QLD with the respective leagues paying their way, however the World Surf League are prepared to find another venue if a state government will foot the bill.
The Queensland Government is understood to have offered the WSL $500,000 towards staging the event, but NSW and WA have offered upwards of $5 million.
Speaking to the Gold Coast Bulletin, State Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe couldn't conceal his frustration with the WSL.
“I am less disappointed with the NSW Government than I am with the World Surf League’s decision to chase short-term dollars at the expense of surfing tradition,” he said.
“The WSL made it clear holding the event at Snapper Rocks this year was conditional on the Queensland Government picking up the quarantine tab for the WSL’s international competitors.”
Mr Hinchliffe also hit back at the NSW Government.
“Quarantine expenses for sporting events have always been the responsibility of the organising body,” he said.
“If that’s what NSW has agreed to pay to lure the WSL, then NSW taxpayers who have paid for hotel quarantine out of their own pocket should ask for a refund.”
Andy McKinnon said the WSL’s reluctance to foot the bill likely came from a strained financial position.
“We didn’t have a world tour last year and the WSL is probably facing some pretty big problems as far as keeping afloat,” Mr McKinnon said.
“I know how much it costs to run one of these events – it’s around $4 million.
“Obviously this is really costing WSL and they’re probably really dependant on government support.”
“Maybe it’s still a bit premature to try and go ahead with a world tour in 2021.