Australian Football League's Top Clubs Win Spending Concessions
The Australian Football League’s power clubs "have won yet more equalisation concessions that will significantly discount any tax paid for football department overspending," according to Baker & Ralph of the HERALD SUN. Clubs "have expressed alarm at the prospect of having to pay millions of dollars in taxes over the next two years." The cost of running state league teams, staff development programs and capital works within football department budgets next year "are likely to be excluded from the tax calculations." The league would not say "at what number and how it had worked out the football department cap," although an average of '14 club football spending plus A$500,000 ($464,000) "has been widely mooted." AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said that "the league had landed on a cap number, but added there were details that were being worked through 'with respect to exclusions and things that go in and out' of the cap’s scope" (HERALD SUN, 8/7). In Melbourne, Daniel Cherny reported former Hawthorn champion and board member Dermott Brererton said that "the knowledge wealthier clubs will be forced to put money into a pool to help their poor cousins will discourage the purchasing of club memberships." Brereton said that he "would be less inclined to support Hawthorn financially in the event that the money would end up elsewhere." He said, "I buy 10 memberships for that club, and I get given a free one as well being a life member of the club. I give them out to people close to me that support the club as my ongoing gift to the club. That would stop" (THE AGE, 8/7).
A FALL CLASSIC: The AAP reported McLachlan said that "he hopes players understand why clubs will have only one bye in 2015." And there "will be no breakthrough on scheduling a game on Good Friday" -- not next year at least. Cricket’s World Cup final will be staged at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 29. The AFL announced on Wednesday its '15 season "would not start until April 2, the day before Good Friday." The grand final "has been moved back to October 3 from its traditional last Saturday in September" (AAP, 8/7). In Melbourne, Cherny reported next year "has been dubbed the AFL’s 'year of the fan.'" It appears that "mantra will be observed even in spite of the best interests of players." The league "has reiterated that its 2015 fixture and contentious Etihad Stadium roof policy will prioritise the preferences of supporters." Part of the emphasis on supporter needs "has been the shelving of a second rest during the season, an initiative that players successfully lobbied for in the 2014 season." The Etihad Stadium roof debate "was reignited last weekend." McLachlan said, "We will do whatever the fans want with the roof. At the start of the year, we surveyed our fans on this specific issue; I think it was nearly 60 percent that said they would like the roof open when it was a nice day, so that is what we have been doing" (THE AGE, 8/7).