Sports Minister Ayres steps in to end football stadium fiasco

NSW Sports Minister Stuart Ayres has rejected plans to name one of the stands at Sydney’s new football stadium ‘The Garrison’ – but insists no decision has been made for it call after rugby league Immortal Arthur Beetson.

Venues NSW and its so-called Heritage Trust have come under heavy fire for twice snubbing the Roosters’ captain on one of the stands in the $850million arena.

New South Wales Minister for Sport, Stuart AyresCredit:Janie Barrett

While the names of rugby league legend Ron Coote, Socceroos great Johnny Warren and former Wallaby Sir Nicholas Shehadie deserve their place, the decision to call a stand “Garrison” in reference to the troops of the he British army who used the compound in the 1850s was widely condemned.

Reports surfaced earlier today that the state government had stepped in and renamed the stand after Beetson, but Ayres contacted the Herald to insist that it was not.

He revealed, however, that the name “garrison” had been rejected.

“I have told Venues NSW that we will not accept the recommendation to call any of the stands ‘The Garrison’,” Ayres said. “I will now meet with Venues NSW to discuss the next step. I do not intend to go through these names one by one. We will determine who the final set of names will be and announce them properly and in a dignified manner that reflects the people and their contribution.

It would be surprising if Beetson was not named instead, although Ayres revealed he had told Venues NSW to come up with six potential names for the stadium.

This opens the door for female sporting icons such as Betty Cuthbert and Marjorie Jackson to be honoured, as well as the likes of rugby league super coach Jack Gibson and those of other codes.

“We will increase the number of recognized names on the site,” he said. “We have naming capacity for eight, which I think is overkill, but six is ​​totally doable. Two on each side and one on each end. Considering everything that’s happened, I’m not going to dwell on it. I don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. It doesn’t seem like there was much interaction or orientation in the last year.

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