Demetriou: Good Friday footy inevitable
AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou chats to Neil Mitchell about the pros and cons of playing an AFL match on Good Friday.PT0M0S 620 349
It is in the best interests of all clubs to ensure that any potential Good Friday fixture is a blockbuster, in Eddie McGuire's view.
The Collingwood president took to the airwaves on SEN and presented his own strong opinion after a week of heated debate over which teams should play in a historic first AFL game on Good Friday - a prospect league chief Andrew Demetriou said was "inevitable''.
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire. Photo: Pat Scala
McGuire indicated the 18 clubs had all resolved to maximise overall profit during last month's forum on equalisation, and that the scheduling of high-rating games was a key means to achieving that end.
"[I] sat in a meeting where everyone agreed that, yes, they will take the money out of the successful clubs' pockets and distribute it for the good of the game, but with the absolutely overriding tenet that we would grow the game as big as possible using the bigger clubs and the fixture to facilitate that increase in money ... all the clubs agreed on that," McGuire said on Saturday.
"So my point is this, if we are going to use Good Friday, this is about getting more ratings to sell the TV rights for more money down the track. If we're going to do that, then we'd better put a big show on."
McGuire did not, however, suggest it was imperative that Collingwood play in the mooted game. "Should Collingwood play in it? I'm not that fussed to be perfectly honest," he said. "Maybe it needs to be a big team and a smaller team, maybe the theme of Carlton v North, maybe that works. It's got to be a big game and it's got to have significance ... maybe it's Essendon v Bulldogs."
After outlining that his own stance on whether a game should be played at all on the Christian holy day had fluctuated over time, McGuire said he believes now that society had moved past an era in which Good Friday had to be sacrosanct.
"We live in a secular society, and I believe that if you want to have a sacrifice to commemorate the death of Jesus on the cross, well, then you do that, you don't go to the footy. But that doesn't mean that you don't have to if you're not into it, or the Muslims or the Jews or whoever else," he said.
He argued, however, that it was crucial a decision be made sooner rather than later: "I think the new administration of the AFL should make it one of their first decisions to decide what we're going to do."