Century-old Brisbane stadium no longer favored by 2032 Olympics organizers

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — The Australian Olympic Committee apparently doesn’t like the idea of rebuilding an aging stadium as one of its centerpiece venues for the 2032 Games.

Australian Olympic Committee president Ian Chesterman said in a statement Thursday that there are more creative solutions than rebuilding the Gabba, an iconic Brisbane venue, for the Games, and those will be put to a review committee.

Named after the suburb of Woolloongabba where the stadium is located, the Gabba in downtown Brisbane was built in 1895 and was last redeveloped in 2005.

Former Brisbane mayor Graham Quirk is leading a two-month 2032 Olympic infrastructure assessment review and the Gabba’s reconstruction is at the top of the list.

Chesterman’s comments come after International Olympic Committee vice-president John Coates — a former AOC president — was quoted as saying the review committee should dump the Gabba.

“We’ve put it to the review committee we should abandon the Gabba and we should look for another site for the athletics,” Coates told local media.

He’s proposed the opening ceremony be held at 52,000-seat Suncorp Stadium, formerly known as Lang Park, and athletics at the 48,000-capacity Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre, the venue for the 1982 Commonwealth Games.

Whether the Gabba should be demolished and reconstructed for the 2032 Games has been debated since a plan was released in November. The Queensland state government unveiled a 2.7 billion Australian dollar ($1.7 billion) Gabba rebuild that would see the stadium demolished, reconstructed and out of action from 2025 to 2030.

It would also force Brisbane’s Australian Rules football team the Lions and cricket to find a new home.

Opponents have called for its reconstruction to not go ahead because of escalating costs after the plan’s initial price tag blew out to almost three times the original estimate. In announcing the review in January, Queensland state Premier Steven Miles said he hoped the independent process could create options that are better value for money.

Brisbane won the 2032 hosting rights in July 2021. The bid was led by then-premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who Miles replaced in December when Palaszczuk resigned as the state leader.

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