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SBD Global/September 24, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Australian Football League Clubs Unanimous On Good Friday Games

Australian Football League CEO Andrew Demetriou "has faced his biggest challenge yet," according to Caroline Wilson of THE AGE. His refusal to schedule games on Good Friday was met with a united push from presidents and CEOs "for the competition to overturn its traditional insistence that the religious holiday remain football-free." Western Bulldogs Chair 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." The game's governors also unveiled a long-term plan at Monday's commission meeting to annually plough in between A$20M ($19M) and A$30M "to help bridge the gap between the rich and poor clubs." With details of the long-term equalization plan to unfold over the next 12 months, the AFL revealed to the clubs it would inject an extra A$6.5M next season "to be spread among the financially struggling clubs as a short-term bid to start closing the gap" (THE AGE, 9/24).

BRIGHT FUTURE: The AAP's Sam Lienert wrote the AFL has decided that "Melbourne's future is bright enough without needing a priority pick at November's national draft." The league confirmed on Monday that it will give Melbourne -- which has changed its coach, CEO and president this year and is restructuring its whole football department after a disastrous season -- a one-off A$1.45M grant. The Demons also wanted the AFL to award it "an extra draft pick." But "that bid was opposed by all 17 other clubs and the AFL on Monday decided it would not happen" (AAP, 9/23). In Sydney, Patrick Smith wrote the commission has also agreed to guarantee an extra A$500,000 in borrowings "if the club requires it." There is no doubt the commission's demand that the club must raise A$450,000 on its own if it wants the AFL to match it "is to ensure that the club pays for the redundancies forced on the new team leading the club." It is cooler news for another club as well, cash-poor Brisbane, "which has its triple premiership hand searching for the AFL till, will not get any aid until its board is unified either through conciliation or restructure" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 9/24).
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