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By Editor in on 17 Jun 2008

Townsville's Tony Ireland Stadium will require a $5 million lighting upgrade if it is to host elite sporting events. Tony Ireland Stadium

Temporary lighting similar to what was used at Dairy Farmers Stadium before its upgrade is no longer available anywhere in the country. The venue is considered only good enough at night for local sports events and training.

It will require a $1.5 million lighting upgrade if it is to attract a day-night cricket match or AFL game, and a staggering $5 million upgrade if the game is to be televised. Manager Don Gordon said the facility wasn't up to scratch for elite competition. "In order to get elite-level matches like a day-night cricket match we have to have a higher level of lighting," he said. "Obviously for any televised coverage there is an even higher level of lighting required."

Mr Gordon said a decision was made during the stadium's construction to use temporary lighting instead of a higher level to reduce cost. "At the time we were able to hire temporary lights to provide that additional level of lighting to lure events but unfortunately as venues across the country have upgraded their lighting those temporary lights no longer exist," he said. The stadium's shortfall was revealed last weekend when the Queensland v Western Australia Tony Ireland Stadiumfirst-class AFL representative clash was moved from its night-time slot to early afternoon.

AFL Queensland chief executive Richard Griffiths said the stadium would need to be upgraded if it was to be considered for elite games like NAB Cup fixtures. He said the lights fell under the `regional' standard - well short of what the national AFL body would require.

Tony Ireland Stadium manager Ben Payne said a request had already been made with Townsville Council to fund the upgrade. He said they would also look to apply for State and Federal Government support, and that there was a chance of gaining some funding from the AFL.

The stadium has put in a request to host an NAB Cup game in 2009.

Article By: Lendl Ryan

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