The Sydney Swans have bailed from ANZ Stadium a year early

Swans star Lance Franklin. Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.

The Sydney Swans have left ANZ Stadium at Homebush a year earlier than planned, announcing that all home games in 2016 will be played at the SCG.

The AFL team announced in late 2014 that it was making the SCG its permanent home from 2017 under a new 30-year agreement, but Swans chairman Andrew Pridham announced this afternoon that the side’s 14-year partnership with the 80,000 seat western Sydney ground had ended prematurely and the opening round game against Collingwood on Easter Saturday, March 26, would now be held at the SCG.

Two other games, round 7 against Essendon and round 18 against Carlton will also head east.

Swans CEO Andrew Ireland has thanked ANZ stadium’s management, AFL and SCG Trust, for supporting the early shift.

He said negotiations on the change started last November back in November and “really heated up” in the last couple of weeks.

“This move involved a number of logistical considerations including the interests of ANZ Stadium members and corporate partners – I’m pleased to say they will be accommodated and we look forward to welcoming them at the SCG,” he said.

“Along with ANZ Stadium management, I would like to thank the SCG Trust for not only accommodating the relocation of three matches at short notice, but also working with us to ensure that the complex ANZ commercial agreement could be reworked.”

The Swans say the move to eastern Sydney is a result of listening to their fans. However, it severely limits crowd sizes for the club, with all but three of the Swans’ 20 biggest crowds for home games since 1997 held at ANZ Stadium, including the club record in 2003, when more than 72,000 people watched the side lose to Collingwood.

More than 2.2 million have watched Swans matches at Homebush. If the Swans make the finals, any home game will still be played at ANZ Stadium.

Swans chairman Andrew Pridham called the early move a “win win”.

A planned farewell for retired players Adam Goodes and Mike Pyke will still be held during round 3 at the SCG.

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