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Clubs unanimous on Good Friday

AFL chief Andrew Demetriou has faced his biggest challenge yet over his steadfast refusal to schedule games on Good Friday.

At Monday's meeting of the 18 clubs, there was a united push from presidents and chief executives for the competition to overturn its traditional insistence that the religious holiday remain football-free.

Western Bulldogs chairman Peter Gordon led the charge, outlining a detailed assessment of views around the world on playing sport on the holiday long regarded by the AFL as sacrosanct.

Gordon, whose club is the most recent to bid to stage a Good Friday game, gave examples ranging from the American Bible Belt, which approves NFL games, to deeply religious regions of Italy where soccer is played.

Although Demetriou has recently again declared Good Friday off the agenda, his steadfast opposition to the concept is not shared by AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick.

The Gold Coast, which recently put forward a Good Friday submission pointing out the high tourist numbers over the Easter weekend in southern Queensland, where NRL remains a regular fixture, supported Gordon, as did long-time religious traditionalists such as Geelong chairman Colin Carter and Collingwood president Eddie McGuire.

No club opposed Good Friday. The Kangaroos have fought for more than a decade to take on a Good Friday fixture aligned with the Royal Children's Hospital Appeal in Victoria, and Carlton and Hawthorn more recently launched - among other clubs - a united bid to play on the Easter holiday.

The game's governors also unveiled a long-term plan at Monday's commission meeting to annually plough in between $20 million and $30 million to help bridge the gap between the rich and poor clubs.

With details of the long-term equalisation plan to unfold over the next 12 months, the AFL revealed to the clubs it would inject an extra $6.5 million next season to be spread among the financially struggling clubs as a short-term bid to start closing the gap.

Outgoing Sydney chairman Richard Colless, who placed equalisation on the table one year ago as an urgent agenda item, addressed the commission for the last time and urged the AFL to show more muscle over inter-club fighting.

Colless also registered his disappointment over rival clubs' public response to the Swans' controversial recruitment of Kurt Tippett.

Melbourne boss Peter Jackson was philosophical after the club was refused a priority pick in the 2013 AFL national draft.

Jackson was told shortly before Monday's meeting that the commission had refused his bid for an extra pick either before or immediately following the first round of the draft.

''They're an independent commission and they make the decisions and we move on,'' Jackson told Fairfax Media on Monday.

The commission explained that while Melbourne had endured two horrendous seasons onfield - finishing 16th in 2012 and 17th this season - the prevailing view was that the Demons' list boasted enough talent not to require extra help via the draft.

The push, which Jackson said he was compelled to do given Melbourne's recent performances, would have been vehemently opposed by the 17 other clubs given the Demons' history in having deliberately lost games in 2009 to gain early draft picks.

71 comments

  • Caro I'm sorry but you can't use the tanking argument anymore. Whether you think the MFC did tank or not, they were never actually charged with tanking and it is therefore an irrelevant argument as it cannot be used against the Demons.

    Commenter
    Romey
    Date and time
    September 23, 2013, 5:06PM
    • That's right they were fined a squillion $$ for NOT tanking !
      AFL logic for you.

      Commenter
      Wal
      Date and time
      September 23, 2013, 7:17PM
  • "...given the Demons' history in having deliberately lost games in 2009 to gain early draft picks."

    Sorry Caro, is this a factual piece or opinion? I don't recall the Demons ever being found to have deliberately lost games.

    Commenter
    Momo
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    September 23, 2013, 5:10PM
    • Last game of the year, against Richmond in '09!

      Commenter
      James
      Date and time
      September 24, 2013, 7:37AM
    • James, Melbourne played St Kilda in their last game of the year in '09. Not Richmond. Oh dear. Funny how so many people seem so certain that something happened, and yet have all the facts completely wrong. Which is more like delusion than truth. Pretty much sums up this whole "debate".

      Commenter
      Jim
      Date and time
      September 24, 2013, 9:13AM
  • Melbourne tanked to get draft picks.Could this not be regarded as tampering with the draft? Could it also be regarded as match fixing. Just as well they are Victorian and not an interstate team..They should at least cop as much as the Crows copped,if not more.

    Commenter
    tonymacmtb
    Location
    adelaide
    Date and time
    September 23, 2013, 5:20PM
    • Uninformed comment.No team has ever been found guilty of tanking. Melbourne did nothing different to many other clubs. A disgruntled ex player started a witch hunt. Note:- Teams rest players, players have operations before the end of the season, players are played out of position. Players are left at home to avoid plane travel at the end of the season.These are facts. Get over the tanking issue. Some clubs have confessed to cheating that is different, and we know who they are.

      Commenter
      Deeman
      Location
      Mansfield
      Date and time
      September 24, 2013, 8:27AM
  • No they weren't found guilty because the AFL took the easy was out of finding them guilty of bringing the game into disrepute just like Essendon. There is a pattern there.

    Commenter
    Crusher
    Date and time
    September 23, 2013, 5:38PM
    • I don't support the Demons (Gold Coast are my Team) but my recollection with Melbourne was that they were found not guilty of tanking but fined - the logic of which escapes me.
      Surely then for the sake of consistency the Dockers should be fined for not tanking too when they sent a team with 12 changes for the Saints to beat.
      As Sam would say: "You know it makes sense!"

      Commenter
      Parsimony
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      September 23, 2013, 5:49PM
      • Melbourne should merge with Essendon! They both stand on similar moral grounds.

        Commenter
        Blue baggers
        Location
        Vic
        Date and time
        September 23, 2013, 6:00PM

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