Trickle down economics in Australian footy – AFLX, Burnie, and the sound of pissing from a great height

Dear all,

 

This is a small part of a very long story. A story of decisions, decision-makers, priorities and philosophies. It involves big egos and big money. And ultimately it involves communities, small towns, young people and hope. I hope others take up the story. Maybe investigative journalism-types.

 

==

 

You’re unlikely to read about this via AFL Media, but that sound you can hear – of someone pissing on someone else’s leg..?
It is the sound of trickle down economic theory savaging Tasmanian footy.

 

Though, in an alternative-facts-kind-of-way, we are told that “AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said despite ongoing problems, the situation was improving in Tasmania.” (SBS article, linked below)

 

(click to enlarge)

 

These images above come from two ABC reports yesterday, 6 February 2018.

 

1- Launch of AFLX. A speculative venture from an organisation awash with cash, which has a responsibility for the stewardship of Australian football. In Australia.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-06/aflx-launched-by-afl-to-attract-new-supporters/9400956

 

2- News that Burnie football club has withdrawn from the Tasmanian State League, unable to field a team.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-06/burnie-football-club-quits-tasmanian-state-league/9399578

 

It is hard to argue that these events are unrelated.

 

Martin Flanagan tweets this morning:

 

(click to enlarge)

 

And Sports Editor of the Hobart Mercury, Brett Stubbs publishes this:

http://www.themercury.com.au/sport/afl/with-the-state-league-in-crisis-afl-treats-tasmanians-as-imbeciles/news-story/f463c4222caa2e1e98b719d14b5940f3

 

(click to enlarge)

 

 

==

 

Here are a just few articles that raise many, many questions.

 

“The AFL propped up Gold Coast Suns with $25m after sponsorship woes” – Australian Financial Review – last week
http://www.afr.com/business/sport/the-afl-propped-up-gold-coast-suns-with-25m-after-sponsorship-woes-20180201-h0s15t

 

(Question: How can Tassie footy be deemed as financially non-viable, whereas Gold Coast footy club can be handed $25m?)

 

==

 

“AFL’s expansion plans get the wooden spoon” – Crikey – 2013

AFL’s expansion plans get the wooden spoon

 

(Question: Who made these decisions, and why, when subsequent events were entirely predictable, predicted and warned against?)

 

==

 

“AFL: Our purpose”
http://www.afl.com.au/careers/our-purpose

 

(Question: How does relative lack of support for Tasmanian football align with the AFL’s stated purpose?”)

 

==

 

“AFL greats worried about Tasmania crisis” – SBS, yesterday
https://www.sbs.com.au/news/afl-greats-worried-about-tasmania-crisis

 

(Question: How can this mess be urgently fixed?)

 

==

 

I don’t know what the answers are.
I do know that something is amiss here.
I wonder if yesterday will prove critical.
Maybe it will provide a wake-up call.
Tuesday 6 February may become known as Trickle Down day.
I hope others can help us understand what is happening – submit an article to the Footy Almanac or leave a comment below.

 

Go well all, especially the people of Burnie and Devonport.

 

David Wilson

 

 

 

Read John Harms on this Tasmanian footy situation in the context of life.

And Liahm O’Brien’s piece on the state of footy in NW Tasmania.

 

About David Wilson

@e_regnans muddling along.

Comments

  1. Heartland Australian rules place down here. Taken for granted over the last 20 years. Don’t think just because North and Hawthorn play here, the roots of the game are strong. The kids of Tassie are kicking the roundball more and more. Not that soccer is the problem…

  2. Well this was always going to happen. Tassie has no team, they have 2 transplanted Vic teams in the Hawks and Roos who are not visible during the week, and go months between games.

    Kids can’t get down to AFl team public training sessions, their is little visible community contact – I live in Hobart and given we are 2 months out from the season there is no prescence from either side. Justifiably so s they are suburban Victorian teams who have made deals to their benefit in Tassie.

    Tassie can support a football team if it can be called on to support 8-9 games for 2 Victorian teams.

    Give Tassie $100m like they did Gold Coast and you’ll have packed games and a grass roots boom.

    Demetriou absolutely stuffed it up

    And now North Melbourne have a “Tassie” womens team as their back door into the AFLW. Another ball dropped by the AFL. It should have been a stand alone womens team for Hobart

  3. G’day ER,

    Thanks for mentioning us the shocking issues in Tasmanian footy. I can’t believe it happened.

    Having read through an article online, decline of the population and those involving in footy is the problem in the North-West Coast in Tassie.

    I guess that economy in the state is not strong and many young people move to the mainland for better job opportunities.

    Economy needs to improve to keep Tasmanians and to fund local footy clubs. Then AFL needs to set strategies and provide programs to attract young people involving in footy.

    Adam – Then the AFL should set more opportunities to develop youngsters and then footy clubs can be formed with enough number of players.

    Johno – I can’t agree with you more. AFL should not have established the unsuccessful Suns. They have to let players to go back to their home states so they can’t developed. Instead Tassie should have been given an AFL club. Big Andy stuffed up.

    It’s tough but I hope the state has someone who has strong skills to rebuild the footy, like how we Osaka Dingoes are heading to.

    Cheers

    Yoshi

  4. I just didn’t think the AFL could get any dumber. Utter stupidity. Dillon is like Frank Drebin announcing to onlookers “There’s nothing to see here” as the the fireworks factory behind him explodes. They’ve made mistakes that cannot be fixed (GC and GWS) but they can fix Tasmania and stop this AFLX crap.

    On another rant – why cant the AFL show the female players and their fans some respect by giving them access to the best umpires. The standard of umpiring was poor last year and judging by last weekends games has barely improved. This elite competition is not the place to blood umpires in training.

  5. The AFL seems to be paying too little attention to the established footy States. It is sad the way Tasmania has been treated but country football in SA and WA are also poor cousins when compared with the dollars poured into the Suns & Giants. SANFL & WAFL clubs also are operating on the smell of an oily rag. Future AFL players come from these areas and deserve more support from the “mighty” AFL.

  6. I think I’m right in saying that not one Tassie kid was drafted in the most recent AFL draft?? Surely that would ring alarm bells?? Is it the first time that has ever happened?

    Tassie is suffering from the modern political affliction – it is situated in a safe seat. Therefore nothing will happen. Modern politics is about winning at the margins. The squeaky wheel etc. The AFL is just another political machine. So is the police force. But that’s another argument.

    So what will make the AFL stand up and notice our friends in the Apple Isle? Money. Media Chutzpah. My solution is that the Tassie government should do a deal with the NRL. Then we might see some stirring in the AFL groin.

    AFLX is like malaria. It will kill its host. Just like the BBL is trying to do to cricket.

  7. How the Afl can not see that grass roots footy is in serious trouble and do so much more to help has me stuffed yes the Afl can not be blamed for job problems and dwindling populations but can do so much more to help footy clubs survive just so angry thanks,OBP

  8. Wonderful musings. Wonderful ponderings.
    Truly wonderful stuff, e.r.

    There is so, so, so much more at play here.
    And it is all disgraceful.

  9. Chris Rees says:

    Fiery and eloquent, E. Dips, you are spot on about a safe seat getting the cold shoulder. I can see them at AFL house any time the subject of Tasmania comes up (probably once every five years). “Tasmanians are mad for footy, what are they gonna do? OK, onto business – has anyone got any ideas for what we can do with all this money?”

  10. Luke Reynolds says:

    What, exactly, is the plan indeed. Tasmania should have had an AFL team for many years now. Since when the competition first expanded in 1987. Meanwhile, all state leagues are struggling. The AFL run the business of the AFL brilliantly. As for running the code itself, they are doing horrendously.

  11. Jack Regan says:

    “It is hard to argue that these events are unrelated.”

    Actually it is almost impossible to argue that they are.

    I can see the frustration of Tasmanian’s not getting a team in the last expansion, the mention of plans without any of the detail communicated, perhaps a perception of under-funding etc but there is simply not rational to relate the AFLX with Burnie dropping back to the NWTFL bar that announcements occurred on the same day.

    In terms of grass roots and state league football in Tasmania, it seems to me that the common denominator is that the two north west teams have dropped out, and the year after they won 2 games each in the TSL. Perhaps having a 2 state level teams servicing a modest population that is 3 to 4 hours away from the majority of teams is simply not sustainable? Maybe there is some other way of organising the elite level in Tasmania? Perhaps bring back a VFL team?

    It seems these questions are more relevant and constructive than AFLX and the Gold Coast Suns. Ironically the quicker the latter becomes more established the quicker Tassie can have their own AFL teams

  12. E.regnans says:

    G’day all.
    There’s something odd about all this.
    Prince of fullbacks – Gold Coast’s millions and AFLX are related to Burnie FC’s demise as they indicate the priorities of this AFL corporation.
    The AFL is a an enitity.
    But it’s made up of people.
    People; individuals who make decisions, some of which that have large ramifications for lots of other people.
    Who these individuals are, how they came to these positions, their history, their motivation, is not always clear.
    But when communities are suffering, it may be reasonable to ask who they are and what did they know, what are their priorities, in making these decisions.
    Lots of questions about this.

  13. The AFL Is not made up of “people”. It is made up of bean counters and lawyers/politicians. “Money doesn’t talk it swears” – RZ.
    Tasmania has no money and few people (political power as Dips rightly observes) so it doesn’t exist in a world where the super-rich rule. On the same day Wall Street (and by tsunami down the rest of the world’s share markets) goes into a tail spin because US employment is up and corporations are having to pay higher wages for the first time in over a decade. The super-rich take their marginal billions off the table to the safer haven of the bond market and the stock market collapses without the trading froth they have prospered on.
    Stop the world; I have gotten off.
    “When the going gets crazy; the crazy get going” – HT
    Well said ER et al.
    Political leadership used to be a countervailing weight to the powerful. “Freedom for the pike is death for the minnow.” We have been groomed to love our abusers. Where is the Royal Commission?
    Bernie Saunders (or better still Mr Wrap) to head up the AFL. Not that they let the peasants have a say on such weighty matters.

  14. Interesting article in the Murdoch press today – on these people at AFL House. Who exactly are these people making the decisions?

    From Mick Warner:
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/afl/more-news/afl-faces-questions-over-key-appointments-morale-issues-at-league-headquarters/news-story/8f23b7c2b18cb81750d91cb2611f36f1

  15. Shane Johnson says:

    As a proud NW coaster who has lived in Qld for 40 years, and is retiring to Wynyard next year. I’m devastated by the footy situation in the region but they need some modern thinking in the area and cut the cloth to suit the table..I posted the below on various Facebook pages last week and I welcome comment.
    Now that Burnie isn’t in the state league, how is this for a plan.
    Get rid of the state league and then AFL – TAS support three strong leagues with limited travel in the three regions like it used to be – SFL, NWFL, NTFA.

    For the talented kids the best Under 23 players from the South, North and North West play each other twice (6 Games) early in the season between March and the end of April. The AFL scouts can come and watch. Then at the end of those matches the players resume with their clubs. The State Under 18 academy program would run separately. This gives the mature age/late developer Under 23 players a second chance at making the big time. Maybe there is a State Under 23 game against someone decent as well.

    The country leagues around the NW coast need to get fair dinkum and restructure even to the extent of one team competitions for battling clubs like Yolla, Ridgely, West Ulverstone….it works well in the SE corner of Queensland, they mostly play Friday nights so they have the weekend free and yes..there is some good distances traveled to get to games in heavy traffic. Some do play Saturdays though and in Tassie that may have to be the case in winter. There is around 25 clubs doing that currently.

  16. Jim from Beijing says:

    As a proud Tasmanian, from north of Oatlands, my memories of three strong local leagues playing each once a year will remain. It can work again. These games were huge and stirred the soul – especially if we beat the TFL. Like many others, I would like to know the AFL’s plan to support footy in Tasmania.

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