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Colless hits out at Tiger boss' claim

Date

Samantha Lane

Back on the attack: Sydney Swans chairman Richard Colless.

Back on the attack: Sydney Swans chairman Richard Colless. Photo: Steve Christo

Sydney chairman Richard Colless has lambasted his Richmond counterpart, Gary March, for the ''appalling'' act of forecasting that the reigning premiers are set to announce a financial loss, and portraying the club's recruitment of Kurt Tippett as tantamount to ''cheating''.

The AFL's longest-serving chairman told Fairfax Media that March committed an inexcusable breach of confidence when he stated in a weekend interview that Sydney is set to finish in the red this year.

Colless said on Wednesday he was ''confident'' the Swans would record an ''acceptable'' profit for the 2012-13 financial year and that the episode underlined what he would not miss about football after more than 21 years in the game when he hands the reins to Andrew Pridham in February.

March will also vacate his presidential post at the end of the season and will be replaced by one of Richmond's board members.

''The fact that a chairman of a club would go on and make comments about a rival club's financial position - unless it was in a constructive way - to me it's just hard to think of anything more appalling to be perfectly honest,'' Colless said.

''I didn't know Gary was still alive. I hadn't seen him for quite some time. He hasn't been to the last few presidents' meetings, but it's amazing what a few wins does to embolden people when they've only got a few weeks of their tenure to go.

''Basically, on the face of it, what Gary's using is confidential information that I just shake my head at. And I think it's little wonder I've had enough of this.''

March, on Saturday, lamented the ''disequalisation'' in the AFL and said there were different rules for Victorian clubs and expansion clubs - he placed Sydney in the latter category.

''When you look at the financials for 2013, and the premiers of the competition are forecasting to make a loss, if any of the Melbourne clubs forecast to make a loss and then went and paid $800,000 to get a player in, we would be getting hauled in front of the [AFL] commission,'' the Tigers boss told SEN radio.

''For me, I think there is a problem with the integrity of the game with the way the expansion teams - and I put Sydney into that - can administer their businesses as opposed to the Victorian clubs.''

Rather than feeling Sydney's administration had the respect of rivals, Colless said he felt it was deliberately - and wrongly - portrayed by other clubs as having achieved largely thanks to AFL subsidies, in particular the cost-of-living allowance that is divided between the Swans' playing list.

''What happened last year is we delisted a lot of players - nearly a million dollars worth of player payments - the AFL increased the TPP [Total Player Payments] and the ASA [Additional Services Agreements], and we had a significant surplus in our cap which we used to do the deal with Kurt Tippett. Isn't this good list management?

''Like all clubs our contracts are lodged with the AFL, so it [March's statement] is tantamount to an accusation of cheating,'' Colless said. ''I'm just sick of the misinformation.

''We've spent the last six months encouraging the AFL to support the less-viable clubs, which wasn't a very fashionable view for the wealthy Victorian clubs, and I don't know if jealousy is the right word, but I haven't been overwhelmed with a sense of goodwill from rival clubs. There's two reasons for this. One is the fact that we were good enough to win a premiership, and the other reason, and the lightning rod, I think, is Tippett.''

Richmond would not to respond to Colless' comments.

Colless, who at the recent meeting of AFL club presidents in Canberra talked all of his counterparts through the Tippett deal, said he even offered to show the contract to Collingwood president Eddie McGuire.

March was not present at the last presidents' meeting and McGuire, Colless said, had not taken up his offer.

''I'm just disillusioned that bottom clubs, who we've gone out of our way to support, no one thanks you, no one acknowledges you,'' Colless said.

42 comments

  • Suck it up Colless. Your club has been given an armchair ride and it's time you stood on your own two feet. We want the game to succeed in the northern states, and we understand that you need some sort of assistance, but the free leg up you've been getting is grating on us now.

    Commenter
    Justin
    Location
    right here
    Date and time
    June 20, 2013, 8:18AM
    • This bloke's a nasty piece of work when he perceives any kind of criticism coming his way. He calls them 'bottom clubs'! What an arrogant thing to say. AND he says it when his club has been afforded so many concessions by the AFL over the years. When is his club going to stand on its own two feet?

      Commenter
      Matt
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      June 20, 2013, 9:18AM
      • Here we go again, this nonsense about all the so-called concessions the Swans receive. The cost of living allowance is just that; for the additional cost of living, and it is paid to every player on the list. The fact that the Swans happened to recruit one high profile player has nothing to do with the allowance. Any suggestion to the contrary is just plain lies. As for the hypocrisy about the Swans daring to get Tippett after winning a flag, let me remind you that this newspaper described the Swans as a team of "no-names" who "stole" the premiership in a "heist" (dictionary: robbery). So we get one big name player to go with our "no-names" and all hell breaks loose! What a joke. Pure envy.

        Commenter
        Chris H
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        June 20, 2013, 1:07PM
    • While I do not totally agree with the “cost of living” allowance that the Swans players receive (try eating out or purchasing real estate in Perth! I must state that the swans have managed their list very well. The comments of a rival administrator to comment on undisclosed financial data is very poor corporate practice. It seems March of late with his comments about Hawthorn and others has been taking some sooky petulance tablets from Jack Riewoldt.

      Commenter
      Bloods culture
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      June 20, 2013, 9:35AM
      • So muchfor the no D..KHEADS policy. And the trumped up , cringe worthy claptroap about the 'Bloods' . Seriously like all things Sydney , hyped up and hollow ! Cant wait o see how Tippet works out for you...

        Commenter
        Mick
        Location
        Sunbury
        Date and time
        June 20, 2013, 1:01PM
      • They have managed their list very well, because they are allowed to pay players more. They have a recent history of recruiting recycled players when other clubs NEEDED to turn them over and sign rookies to free up salary cap room. This has given Sydney depth that other teams do not and they've never had to "bottom out" to develop players in recent times. It's not a level playing field

        Commenter
        Mick
        Date and time
        June 20, 2013, 1:06PM
      • I had to look up where Sunbury was? Did your sixth finger prevent you typing "IC".....I can hear the banjos now. I think you missed the point??? The facts: Cost of living is higher in Sydney but Perth has dramatically increased. The COL should either be indexed...do people in caravans in Sunbury understand indexing???

        The real issue is corporate stupidity and you do not comment or predict financial data of a competitor until it has been released.

        Bring it in close...better a bloods culture that has proven a winner that the flawed on field culture of the whining Richmond...Who is this guy March...he has only stuck his head up as he throws his toys while leaving his cot.

        Commenter
        bloods culture
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        June 20, 2013, 2:07PM
      • @Mick

        There's no hype about a Premiership mate, although the cup itself is hollow (until re-filled).

        And Tippet's gonna work out just fine, thank you ;)

        Commenter
        The Mozz
        Location
        MCBD
        Date and time
        June 20, 2013, 2:47PM
      • I'm sure the Sydney culture will work out better for Kurt Tippett and the club than the Tigers culture worked out for Ben Cousins now that was talked up and hollow !!! enjoy Sunbury.

        Commenter
        David
        Location
        Cronulla
        Date and time
        June 20, 2013, 4:30PM
    • Looks like Gary March hit a nerve....

      Commenter
      Mick
      Location
      Melb
      Date and time
      June 20, 2013, 10:28AM

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