Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews rightfully said last week, “we can’t be a sporting capital unless we share”.
What a disgrace to see thousands of local and loyal fans shut out of an A-League grand final thanks to the AFL’s inability to be flexible with the state’s stadiums.
AAMI Park’s capacity is just 30,000, compared to the 80,000 plus that could fill Etihad Stadium and 90,000 plus for the MCG.
The AFL had two high-capacity stadiums on Sunday for its round seven.
There has been a chorus of high-profile shaming in the media for that reason.
Melbourne Victory’s chairman labelled the venue hogging as “incredibly small minded” and said it was like adding insult to injury, as most of the board members at the Victory were avid AFL supporters.
On the opposite side, Sydney FC have branded the AFL “a disgrace” after their members and supporters were only allocated a measly 3,500 tickets. (Victory fans got 22,000 tickets as the home team.)
Sydney FC’s CEO Tony Pingnata says the situation reeks of desperation.
“I just don’t know what the AFL is scared of, really it’s a disgrace that it wouldn’t agree to move the Bulldogs game,” he said.
“AAMI Park is a great venue from a footballing purists’ point of view.”
The semi-final match between Victory and Melbourne City saw more than 50,000 local fans flock to Etihad Stadium.
On paper it doesn’t look great. Should the AFL be forced to move its locked-in matches for rival codes? Some can argue no. But when those stadiums aren’t exclusively for the use of the AFL, it’s hard for the league to justify such a childish move.
At least next year, we won’t be seeing a repeat.
FFA CEO David Gallop said he will be releasing the date of next year’s grand final next month, getting in very early.
Once bitten, twice shy.