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Lions' relocation up in air as AFL boss lands in Qld

Where the Brisbane Lions play for four seasons from 2026 while the Gabba is redeveloped remains a mystery as new AFL boss Andrew Dillon pushes for a resolution.

Brisbane Lion fans react while watching the game live during the AFL Grand Final between the Collingwood Magpies and Brisbane Lions at the The Derby Hotel Fitzroy in Melbourne, Saturday, September 30, 2023. Image AAP

New AFL boss Andrew Dillon has talked down the prospect of Olympic cricket at the MCG as a decision on the Brisbane Lions' temporary home remains in the air.

The chief executive was in Springfield on Tuesday to attend the National Inclusion Carnival, held a short drive from the Lions' new Brighton Homes Arena headquarters.

The beaten grand finalists will need a new home from December 2025,  when the Gabba is razed for a $2.7 billion redevelopment that will transform the venue into the main 2032 Olympic stadium.

The Lions have made five successive finals series and are poised to contend for a sustained period after their gutting four-point grand final loss to Collingwood.

Brighton Homes Arena - with a capacity boosted from about 8000 to 20,000 with temporary grandstands - about 30km outside Brisbane, or a renovated RNA Showgrounds in the city shape as the two most-likely options.

About 36,000 Lions fans attended sold-out finals games at the Gabba, that will have a capacity of about 50,000 once renovated.

The Gabba's cricket tenants will also need a new home, Queensland Cricket in July proposing further upgrades to Allan Border Field in Albion.

Both organisations have been left to sweat on a decision that has dragged out, but is expected to be discussed when Dillon meets with state government officials later on Tuesday.

The Lions have 54,000 members and are bracing for the prospect of less than half of those having access to home games for four seasons.

"We're working really closely with the Queensland government about how that's going to work," the chief executive, who took over from Gillon McLachlan a week ago, said.

"There will be displacement.

"The Lions are a big club - five finals series in a row - and don't look like they're going anywhere soon.

"We'll want to make sure as many people can watch the Lions as possible.

"If that's RNA, if it's Springfield ... it's got to be something that works for not just those years but something that leaves a legacy into the future."

Tuesday's confirmation that cricket had been shortlisted for inclusion at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics potentially complicates matters for the AFL, who will face demand for their venues should the sport feature at Brisbane 2032.

The MCG was not a FIFA Women's World Cup venue, while Gold Coast's Metricon Stadium home ground could also be a desired venue for cricket or another sport for the July-August event.

"As far as I'm aware cricket's not in yet and even if it was I'm not sure the MCG in July would be a good place for cricket," Dillon said.

"I'm just literally going on what the weather would be like, as opposed to anything else."

Dillon also defended the AFL's free agency compensation initiative as a successfully maintaining competitive balance.

And he said a review of the 2023 season, including the use of controversial goal-line technology, would be completed by Christmas.


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