Canberra Raiders slapped with $150k fine for moving NRL game to Wagga Wagga

Lachlan Roberts 7 December 2018 18

The Raiders have been fined for hosting the Penrith Panthers in Wagga Wagga in the fifth round of the 2019 season. Photos: Supplied by Canberra Raiders.

The Canberra Raiders have been slapped with a $150,000 fine for taking a home game outside the ACT border next season due to their current contract with the ACT Government.

ACT Sports Minister Yvette Berry has decided to enforce the contract terms to play all home games in the nation’s capital, which includes a fine if matches are moved away from the venue.

The Raiders’ 10-year deal with the government to play home games at GIO Stadium states the club has to pay $150,000 in damages for every home game played away from GIO Stadium, and the ACT Government has decided to enforce the fee.

The decision to impose the fine has been met with displeasure from across the border given the NSW government committed $4 million to a Raiders Centre of Excellence in Braddon. The funding helped the club build a $19 million facility at Northbourne Oval which will also serve as a hub for the surrounding region.

The Raiders will host the Penrith Panthers in Wagga Wagga in the fifth round of the 2019 season after the club signed a two-year deal with the Wagga Wagga City Council to bring NRL matches to the ‘City of Good Sports’.

The agreement will see the Raiders send one of their 12 home games to the Riverina during the 2019 and 2020 season, as the club looks to reconnect with its Riverina fan base, but the decision has hit the back pocket of the club.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro took to Facebook to share his displeasure with the ACT Government’s decision.

“The ACT Labor Government need to realise the ACT isn’t an island. The Raiders are the NRL team for thousands of fans in Southern NSW,” he said.

“If this is how the ACT Labor Government is going to treat the Raiders and their fans, then maybe it’s time to start thinking about bringing the Raiders back to Seiffert Oval and the investment it would take to make that happen.”

ACT sports minister Yvette Berry said the fine had to be imposed for moving an allocated home game from Canberra.

“The ACT Government values its longstanding relationship with the Raiders and the benefits they bring to the Canberra community, including the major cross-border investment for the new Canberra District Rugby League Centre of Excellence and Community Hub,” she said.

“Although we support the intent of the Raiders in reaching out to the broader region, it is a requirement of our funding agreement that they play each home NRL game at GIO Stadium given the major investment the ACT community makes in both the stadium and the team.

“I have informed the Raiders that the government will be enforcing the terms of the agreement.”

The Canberra Raiders are working towards a new agreement with the ACT Government regarding home games as the club looks to find the perfect balance to please both regional and local Green Machine fans.

The decade-long deal expires at the end of next season and Raiders’ chief Don Furner said he will sit down with the government to plan a new deal which may remove the clause about playing all 12 matches in the capital.

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18 Responses to Canberra Raiders slapped with $150k fine for moving NRL game to Wagga Wagga
Capital Retro Capital Retro 9:30 am 09 Dec 18

The “sell-out AFL games at Manuka” is a bit disingenuous too because hundreds, if not thousands of the tickets are free.

This used to be called “window-dressing”.

Simon Argall Simon Argall 5:19 am 09 Dec 18

Hooe the money will be directed well supporting the sporting community. Raiders should know what they are doing when they sign a contract and could maybe negotiate better next time.

Shane McMinn Shane McMinn 11:28 pm 08 Dec 18

Time to come back over to Seiffert Oval in the Socialist Republic Of Queanbeyan perhaps??😆

David Jones David Jones 10:21 pm 08 Dec 18


With the amount of players Canberra draws from Country NSW, this was a really smart investment by the Raiders.

Pissy and childish from the ACT government

    Brent Sloane Brent Sloane 7:04 am 09 Dec 18

    I bought a 2019 season membership for the Raiders before they made this announcement. I will now get one less game than I thought I was getting.

    They have a contract to play 12 games at Canberra Stadium and they aren’t doing that so they have incurred a penalty, under the terms of the contract they signed. They made no attempt to negotiate before making the announcement either. People are always whinging that ‘contracts don’t mean anything’ in professional sport... well this one does.

    I support the idea of them hosting games in regional NSW by the way... but don’t ride roughshod over everyone by doing it at late notice in breach of a contract you signed.

    Dannielle Greed Dannielle Greed 2:32 pm 09 Dec 18

    Brent Sloane I totally agree. I support them going to the country, but this wasn’t done right! I’m disappointed that we get one less game this year, yet pay the same amount.

Peter Bee Peter Bee 3:01 pm 08 Dec 18

If the NSW gov provides 4m to support the team of South and South West NSW - its a bit rough to fine the Raiders for one match in that area.

Rowan Carter Rowan Carter 2:58 pm 08 Dec 18

Muzammil Ali Muzammil Ali 2:49 pm 08 Dec 18

I imagine that $150k would come in handy in the continual quest to subsidise a financial basket case AFL team from Sydney ...

    Steve Aust Steve Aust 4:54 pm 08 Dec 18

    - which regularly gets a sell-out crowd at Manuka, with the Giants on a winning streak at Manuka that dates back many years. What is your point?

Scott Welsh Scott Welsh 2:17 pm 08 Dec 18

A contract is a contract. Don’t sign it if you don’t like it. The Raiders are to blame, not any government.

David Brown David Brown 2:03 pm 08 Dec 18

I heard the Minister saying it was not a fine. It was a penalty. 😂

Just like a government levy is not a tax and a speeding fine is not going fast tax.

Why do politicians hate calling spades, spades?

    David Brown David Brown 2:39 pm 08 Dec 18

    Peter Brassington A semantic difference that a pedant would observe. To the rest of us it is a fine.

    David Brown David Brown 4:16 pm 08 Dec 18

    Peter Brassington In the end what is difference? Government takes money from them. AFAIK there is no special budget bucket for fines. It ends up in the consolidated revenue just like all the other taxes.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 6:08 pm 08 Dec 18

    David Brown the raiders are taking money from the government too. The government owns the stadium and will be loosing out on revenue as a result of the game move. That’s the reason for the penalty.

    Bek Clark Bek Clark 12:37 am 09 Dec 18

    Ashley Wright the Australian Sports Commission owns the stadium; it is leased by the ACT Govt. Prob why they had a penalty clause for failure to play minimum number of home games.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 5:21 pm 09 Dec 18

    Ok. They own the lease of the stadium. And pay a fair bit for it too compared to the peppercorn rent they used to pay. Either way they are loosing money with the game move.

Jim9 Jim9 3:21 pm 07 Dec 18

I’m all for Government bashing of all types at the best of times, but its hardly a ‘fine’, rather simply enforcement of existing contractual terms, freely entered into by the Raiders. They knew that the ACT Government would have the right to impose the $150K fee, if they chose to move a game in 2019. Yet the Raiders still went ahead and did it.

A prudently run organisation would of actively engaged with the Government prior to making that decision to move the game, and came up with a way to come to a better outcome for the club. But by all appearances it looks like the raiders simply thought they’d march right ahead then try to railroad the Government afterwards. A risky approach in my opinion given, as this article and others state, their current agreement runs out at the end of next year.

I have no issue with the Raiders moving a home game each year – I don’t think that is unreasonable. But its a bit rich to whine about then having to pay a fee they knew all about, in a contract they agreed to, because they had chosen to break those contractual terms. So they get no sympathy from me on this one.

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