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Tough decisions needed on new training facility

Robson says tough decisions are needed to deliver a new training facility for the Bombers.
Essendon CEO Ian Robson today said the club remains focused on developing a state-of-the-art new training facility at Windy Hill but was open to other options.
 
He made his comments following a number of media reports that the club might move from Windy Hill.
 
 
""As an administration, myself and chairman David Evans have a responsibility to develop an elite new training facility so that our players and coaches can have the best possible chance of succeeding,"" he said.
 
""The simple fact is, our current facility has fallen behind that enjoyed by many other clubs. Five years ago we were at the forefront of facilities but we will get left way behind if we don't address that challenge very quickly and it will hurt our football club.""
  
Robson said that for the Bombers to build the facility it needs - which includes configuring the ground to the size of the MCG - the cricket and bowls club must be re-located elsewhere.
 
""We respect that these two clubs have been based at Windy Hill for over 100 years and were here before the football club but the current situation is simply not sustainable,"" he said.
 
""We need to find a way to unlock the space capability here at Windy Hill and we are working with these two clubs about relocating them. We are quite a way down the track with the cricket but, if we cannot reach agreement, then we have to seriously consider whether the Bombers continue to operate at Windy Hill.
 
""We cannot continue to have situations where the players train at La Trobe University in summer because we don't have access to the oval.""
 
  
Robson said that the Essendon Football Club has provided more than $1.1 million in the last five years in cash grants to affiliate sporting groups - including cricket and bowls - so that they can continue to operate successfully.
 
He said the football club contributes around $46.7 million to the Moonee Valley local economy each year and supports 103 local businesses making it an important hub for the community. 
 
""We need to plan for the next 25-years and beyond and give our football team the best chance to be able to compete in the AFL because doing nothing is not an option,"" he said.
 
""We are very aware that we have a responsibility to the local community but we also have a responsibility to be competitive.
 
""Our focus is on developing a facility at Windy Hill but, if we can't, we want to be able to look everyone in the eye and be able to say that we explored every possible option to stay. If it is not to be that we stay at Windy Hill then we open a new chapter in the club's history.""
 
Robson said the planned new Essendon training facility would also allow the club to significantly expand its important community programs especially in the areas of Indigenous affairs and harm prevention.
 
He said that David Evans will outline the latest on the club's push for a new, elite training facility at the chairman's address on Saturday afternoon at Etihad Stadium.