Report Accuses AFL Of Exaggerating Past Year's Participation Numbers
A report commissioned by one of the Australian Football League's key stakeholders reveals that the league's "boast of vast increases in participation numbers in western Sydney is misleading," according to Roy Masters of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. This month's report was prepared by a Melbourne University academic at the request of AFL New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory. It supports "what many rugby league administrators have been saying for some time -- the AFL is using registrations in its modified game of Auskick to bolster actual playing numbers." It appears that the research questions a claim made last month by AFL NSW senior official Dean Connors "that participation numbers in the western Sydney region have grown" by 27%, or 10,000 players, in one year. Under the heading, "Western Sydney -- The Reality versus Perception Gap," the report's author, David Lawson, noted: ''The reality is that junior club maturity and participation numbers appear to have stalled." Administrators are confident the full impact of the region's new AFL club, GWS Giants, "is yet to be felt" (SMH, 10/24).