Sharks move to Fremantle Oval delayed

East Fremantle FC looks set to stay put for the moment.        d453461
East Fremantle FC looks set to stay put for the moment.        d453461

EAST Fremantle Football Club’s move to Fremantle Oval looks set to be delayed because of the Kings Square redevelopment.

The football club was set to move in next to their cross-town rivals as part of the Fremantle Oval precinct redevelopment, but the City of Fremantle’s decision to move into the space vacated by the Fremantle Dockers while their Kings Square council building is redeveloped could push back the move by a couple of years.

The club is expected to continue to host games at the ageing East Fremantle Oval until the move can happen.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the administration’s move to Fremantle Oval would last about two years and was the best value for ratepayers but that he didn’t envision it having too much of an impact on the timeline of the precinct’s redevelopment.

“Over the next couple of years we will continue to progress plans for the broader Fremantle Oval redevelopment,” he said.

“This will include more detailed planning and financial modelling, as well as ongoing discussions with South Fremantle and East Fremantle football clubs with a view to them co-locating.

“Given the amount of work still required, we don’t see the temporary relocation of our offices as affecting time frames for the redevelopment of the oval precinct.”

East Fremantle chief executive Todd Shimmon said there was no time line set for the club to move to Fremantle Oval and that they would continue to have discussions with the City of Fremantle, the Department of Sport and Recreation and the Bulldogs.

South Fremantle chief executive Tom Bottrell said they were comfortable the move would happen, although they would prefer it to be sooner rather than later.

“It is very important that the playing surface is maintained to a professional standard, given that the Fremantle Dockers are no longer based here,” he said.

“There is no real negative impact to South Fremantle if East Fremantle doesn’t come here, but if East Fremantle does move here then some shared resources should occur.

“The non-tangible benefit may be an increase in the rivalry, as both clubs started at Fremantle Oval.”