Below is an email sent to all Blue and Gold members today, from the Parramatta Eels Chairman Steve Sharp and CEO Ken Edwards. We have published it in full for all the Parramatta Eels fans to see:
The purpose of this message is to provide clarity on the playing future of the Parramatta Eels following issues raised by a totally misleading headline published by the Daily Telegraph today.
We want to make it very clear that the new Board and executive management team at the Eels are strongly committed to being transparent and honest and delivering open communication with our Members.
It is our belief that Members deserve to receive information first and in 2013, even as recently as this week, we have provided evidence of that when we shared the latest on our recruitment and retention plans with you.
Accordingly in relation to todays reports we advise Members as follows:
1. Parramatta Stadium (Cumberland Oval) is the spiritual home of the Eels and always will be.
2. We are committed to doing what it takes to rescue this football club from the disaster of the past several years and we continue to forge ahead with our vision of once again becoming the Number 1 Club in the Greatest Game of All.
3. At any football club it is the job of the management team to explore all options to achieve the best results for Members and fans. In regards to our current stadium and playing arrangements, this is no different. To do any less would fly in the face of this clubs core values of CARE, EXCELLENCE, INCLUSIVENESS, COURAGE and TEAMWORK.
4. Independent research tells us that the Eels have 565,000 passionate supporters. It is a clear objective of ours to have 40,000 financial Members by 2017. The Eels have the fastest growing Membership program in the NRL growing from under 12,000 in 2012 to over 16,000 so far this season.
5. Parramatta Stadium was a state of the art facility when it was built in the 80s but in its current form it simply will not provide a financially viable environment in terms of both capacity and support facilities for Members.
6. We strongly support a significant upgrade to Parramatta Stadium and have been in detailed discussion with Government and Parramatta City Council officials about achieving this outcome as an urgent priority. The venue currently has no ATM or EFTPOS facilities, no WIFI, and as our membership grows to 40,000 by 2017 Parramatta Stadium will not have the capacity to host us there. Eels Members, the people of Parramatta and Greater Western Sydney all deserve a Stadium of the same standard as ANZ Stadium or Allianz Stadium.
7. We support the existing Heads of Agreement with Venues NSW which will see us play up to 8 games a year at Parramatta Stadium in 2013, 2014 and 2015 (with an additional 2 year option) but importantly the agreement gives us the flexibility to move matches if necessary based on membership growth and bigger game day attendances for marquee matches against traditional rivals.
8. Growing revenue through memberships enables the club to provide your team, the Eels with additional funding for their football programs.
We are committed to achieving the best results both on and off the field for our Members. We will continue to keep Members fully informed at all times because that is what you deserve for your passion, dedication and loyalty.