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SBD Global/April 9, 2013/Franchises

Australian Football League Side Melbourne Demons To Lose $1M in '13

Australian Football League Melbourne Demons President Don McLardy "has conceded the club's woeful start to the season" and A$500,000 ($520,000) "tanking" fine have the club on track for a A$1M loss this year, according to Jon Ralph of the HERALD SUN. But McLardy Monday labeled suggestions an AFL administrator should take over Melbourne as "fanciful" and "ridiculous." McLardy said that "he would accept help from the league," with AFL bosses Andrew Demetriou and Gillon McLachlan making contact with Melbourne officials Monday. After four straight profits and with a board of business heavyweights, McLardy said that the Demons administration "had excelled and rejected calls" for CEO Cameron Schwab to step down. McLardy said, "The people sitting on our board are the CEO of the Bank of Queensland (Stuart Grimshaw); Guy Jalland, who is the legal counsel for James Packer; John Trotter, who is the ex-managing partner of Deloitte; Russell Howcroft, who is effectively running Channel 10; Karen Hayes, who runs the Guide Dogs Association of Victoria; and Peter Spargo, who is a successful businessman. And people suggest we should get someone from the AFL to come in and tell us how to run our business" (HERALD SUN, 4/9). In Sydney, Patrick Smith reported AFL officials "were deeply troubled by the club's attitude after Saturday night's mauling by Essendon." On Sunday, the club sent out football boss Neil Craig mainly, Schwab and McLardy sparingly, "to reassure their supporters the club had matters under control." It is "not a confidence shared by the football community." AFL officials believe that the decision by the club to allow TV access to coach Mark Neeld's prematch address "is evidence that the club hierarchy is numb to the depth of the problems wracking the club." The TV access "could only ever open up the club to ridicule." There was "no upside." Viewers "saw a coach, nervous and uninspiring, speaking to what appeared a mostly bored or uninterested group of players" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 4/9).

ESSENDON KEEP POINTS: Also in Sydney, Demetriou said that "it could be two to three months before the Australian Sports Anti-doping Authority's investigation into Essendon is concluded, but has knocked on the head any suggestion the club could lose points this season." Demetriou dismissed the suggestion that "adverse findings would result in Essendon being docked points or deprived of a finals spot." He said, "There's no suggestion at all that Essendon in 2013 are involved in any use of anything that is being investigated, so they are fine" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 4/9).
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