Controversy erupts over Dragons’ home ground naming rights

A nasty spat has emerged over the new naming rights sponsor of Kogarah Oval, prompting a motion to be moved at an extraordinary meeting of Georges River Council to terminate the current contract and reopen the tender.

Council announced less than two weeks ago that the Sydney home of the St George Illawarra Dragons would be called Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, after local company Network Strata Services won the tender.

Grounds for concern: A cloud hangs over Network Strata Services’ successful bid to win naming rights for Kogarah Oval.Credit:John Veage

The Herald has confirmed a tender process run by Georges River Council only managed to secure $81,000 a year for the naming rights.

In comparison, Southern Cross Group paid about $500,000 a year to have its name on the Cronulla Sharks' home ground at Woolooware, while Lottoland spent more than $1 million for naming rights at Brookvale Oval in a long-term deal.

An extraordinary meeting of Georges River Council was to be held on Monday night after a group of councillors demanded more information on the deal with Network Strata Services.

A councillor told the Herald they would move a motion on Monday night to terminate the contract immediately and reopen the tender.

Local businessman Norman Sarraf is at the heart of the complaint, claiming he was excluded from making a bid.
Georges River Council denies this accusation.

The Herald has seen emails from Sarraf to Georges River Council in April 2018 asking to be kept informed of the expressions of interest process. The email was acknowledged, but Sarraf says he was never invited to bid.

Sarraf runs a competing strata company and is the NSW executive chairman of children’s cancer charity Camp Quality.

Sarraf insists he made individual councillors and the charity aware that his intention was to call Kogarah Oval Camp Quality Stadium if successful.

A council spokesperson said Sarraf did not advise council of his intention to donate the naming rights to Camp Quality until 28 days after council had already awarded it to Netstrata.

“I have a standing $100,000 offer – if the contract is cancelled that I will call it Camp Quality Stadium,” Sarraf said.

“All the hospitality boxes and catering packages will be donated to the kids and their families.”

Georges River Council said it would be unlawful to reveal how many parties expressed interest in the naming rights, how many made the shortlist, if Sarraf was accepted into the EOI process, and how much money the contract with Netstrata is worth.

The extraordinary meeting was called at the request of three councillors to address a public complaint from Mr Norman Sarraf,” the council spokesperson said.

Netstrata has been contacted for comment.

Source: Read Full Article