League desperate to restore fans’ faith after tanking, drug and salary cap scandals.
We want to win back trust – my goodness, Cameron’s letter to activists all over again. Give you a specific case. Two weeks ago, a player, admittedly ours, was rubbed out for two weeks because he bumped another player. The football world was stunned – this is a physical contact sport involving solid bumps and tackles – it’s a part of the game the public likes to see.
People from many clubs stepped in and complained but not all, as you’ll see down below*.
Then last weekend, the boot was on the other foot so to speak. One of their players did similar to one of ours and was on report. Our coach was asked how he felt now. He said that the opposition player in no way had done anything wrong. He was angry.
Not only that, but players and staff from every club have been complaining that the AFL never listens to them, they don’t understand the rule changes, they don’t understand the rewording.
It used to be that you could tackle above the knee and below the neck and bump there as well. Easy to understand, easy to interpret. Then the rule authorities on big salaries sitting in offices at HQ, trying to justify their salaries, just had to interfere ever couple of months.
They were bringing in this new rule, taking out that.
So that bumping rule is now like this – in the heat of the game, mind, the umpire must judge whether it’s a level one bump with minimal force or a bump with arm partially but not greater than 135 degrees extended and that the force must have been applied less than what would be determined to be ….
Look, I’m not even going on. And this is to be applied to EVERY bump, of which there are a thousand every game, whilst the umpire is meant to be looking at the game itself as well and awarding penalties in the normal course.
Then the PTB decided there would be less interchange.
All clubs rotate players to keep them fresh in this game, which is what makes it exciting. Now the rule makers decided that if the average interchanges were 160 in a match, they’d now artificially and arbitrarily be 80. No good reason – they just wanted to impose their will. Staff are now employed to count how many interchanges take place and to enforce the cap.
The clubs hate it, the players are exhausted, the public hates it, fora are inundated with people complaining and who TF is doing all this?
Officials sitting away from the game in bureaucratic luxury at HQ who are deciding wouldn’t this be a good idea? Never mind what it costs.
And what do the officials say to the criticism?
They ignore it until pressed, then say it is for the good of the game. If pressed further, they say that they are the ones charged with administering the game, not the clubs and fans. “Anyway, we do listen,” they say and then go right ahead ignoring the clubs, the players and the public.
They then put out press releases – this is the real doozie – saying they’re “desperate to restore fans’ faith after tanking, drug and salary cap scandals.“ Just like our railway putting up glossy posters on just how efficient they were in the last month and everyone reading it knows it’s utter bollox.
The fans don’t give a toss about those other things the League says they do. The fans do give a toss about the great god at the head of the AFL ignoring them and their concerns, coming out with one change after another, all predicated on justifying salaries and stroking corporate sponsors. Clubs, players, umpires, fans, don’t know whether they’re Arthur or Martha and don’t know when the next bombshell is going to be dropped.
Where have we seen this happening? Abso-bloody-lutely everywhere, have we not? Jumped up demi-gods deciding that their vision for the game, for the society, for the field of activity, is the only one which will get pushed and funded.
It’s ubiquitous. It completely ignores the fact that they are the servants, not the masters. They are custodians of the game who have presumed way too much and have built in mechanisms whereby they cannot be challenged, replete with penalties for any who disagree.
If you say anything against an AFL decision, by the way and you’re inside, you and the club are fined thousands and so everyone is guarded in what they say.
That sort of oppressive atmosphere is no way to run anything. That’s AFLSSR, just as it is ASSR and UKSSR and Local CouncilSSR and USSSR.
And the people do … not … want … it. Yet so few speak out, all the same.
* Near the top of the post, it was mentioned that not all were complaining. Oh, they complain all right – when it directly affects them. But when it is another club and they themselves stand to gain from siding with the oppressor, they do so, citing “being reasonable”, “allowing the AFL to do it’s job”, “putting up and shutting up.”
And where our coach stepped in and defended a player from another club, these people are going AWOL, staying shtum, not backing the one out on the limb. How gutless is that, how cynical, how deceitful? Every one of those back-into-the-shadows lurkers knows exactly what is happening, what is wrong and how it should be fixed. Yet they stay silent when it is not to their specific advantage.
However, when the monster turns on them, it’s chest thumping and everyone should support them.
The resultant atmosphere, of course, is poisonous.