President Responds to West
Monday, 15 February 2016
Presidents response to today's West Australian, 8 Feb 2017;
For the second time Mr Duffield has printed an article criticizing football in WA in relation to moving the AFL games to the new Burswood Stadium. It is clear he has no understanding at all about football in WA which covers Auskick to AFL. His views clearly come from looking through his rose coloured AFL glasses only from one of the many Media corporate suites he enjoys around the country and unfortunately like many 'self proclaimed' media experts writes a good story rarely based on any facts whatsoever.
I for one have never seen Mark Duffield attend any WAFL games in my time as President of the Swan Districts Football Club so maybe Mark should take the time to understand the challenges football in WA faces and I am not talking about our two WA based AFL (VFL) teams, although the AFL is trying to skin them as well with 'equalisation' measures.
In Marks article he has made comment on $100 million 'compensation offer' over ten years. Sorry Mark this is not for the upkeep of Domain Stadium, it is to ensure ALL football in WA continues to provide the opportunities it currently does which in turn provide the elite players he enjoys watching from his gifted viewing position. I am talking about Auskick, Amateurs, Country, WAFL, Female, Veteran's, 9's etc. Football in WA is not just AFL, Fremantle and West Coast Eagles.
Mark has also asked about what the AFL contribution is, well maybe Mark should do what a real investigative journalist does and 'ask the question' instead of waiting to be spoon fed from the AFL in a crafted press release. The AFL directly provides less than $3 million per annum (pittance) to football in WA whilst at the same time pumps 10's if not 100's of millions into 'non football' states NSW and QLD. Their argument that the AFL game contributes through WCE and Femantle is completely flawed as this funding is specifically related to the profits of both WCE and Fremantle and the income from Stadium revenue.
Current funding to the WAFC is derived from operating Domain Stadium, Royalties from WCE and Fremantle and the AFL. WCE and Fremantle contribute the most in the form of licence agreements. Lets make this clear, licence agreements, not donations, not out of the goodness of their hearts but the agreement between the WAFC and the AFL to compensate grassroots football for the loss of revenue to Football in WA due to the introduction of the AFL. Football in WA agreed, for the good of the national games advancement, to allow a WA based team to join the then VFL, this has since morphed into the AFL. This funding will now be significantly reduced as the WAFC loses the income generated by the use of Domain Stadium and potential loss of profits of both Fremantle and WCE due to the AFL's proposed 'equalisation' measures. Where is the $11 million shortfall to run football in WA to come from? Again, not talking about WCE and Fremantle but WA football.
The Mark refers to some $29 million in grants to WAFL clubs Swan Districts, West Perth and Claremont. Well I would like Mark to show me where on the Swan Districts balance sheets or P&L's one red cent we have received from the WA government? Not one red cent has the Swan Districts Football Club received so I suggest Mark go back to journalism school to learn about clarifying facts before shooting his mouth off. Instead of criticizing the grass root WA football clubs maybe he should be congratulating them on what they can and have achieved with the meagre funding they receive through their commitment to a national competition. These achievements include many significant community programs across a vast array of non football areas and partnered by many significant organizations throughout WA to simply make our communities better. Female football has been growing steadily over a number of years which would not have been possible without the commitment of grass root clubs.
Currently Female Football is all the rage with the AFL and Media basking I the glory of it's initial success the last week or so. The Swan Districts Football Club has had a Womens football team for 10 years and has embraced this as part of our football club. In it's first year we entered both League and Reserves teams due to the great response to this initiative. A youth girls team was introduced in 2012 so the Swan Districts Football Club had already developed a female pathway to enable our great game to be enjoyed by all. This is evidenced with nine of our 2016 players recruited into the inaugural AFLW competition including three marquee players at Adelaide and Fremantle. What funding assistance has the Swan Districts Football Club received from the AFL or the WAFC over this period of developing the game? $0.00. Our club has provided facilities, access to our AFL experienced coaches and training staff, mentoring, and inclusiveness which has helped build the desire amongst women to play leading to the AFLW creation. Congratulations to all the girls playing football at club and AFL level and you would think the Swan Districts Football Club would at least get a letter, certificate, acknowledgement or even maybe a bag of footballs from the AFL in appreciation for the efforts in making the AFLW a reality. No, not even a magnetic board.....
Grassroots football is the lifeblood that puts bread on Marks table. The AFL supplies the butter, and probably cream donuts in his corporate media box so if he really wants to solve this impasse he should focus his attention on the inequality of funding the AFL applies throughout Australia, put his media pressure where it is best suited to ensure football in WA can continue to nurture the game itself and not just the elite he enjoys watching so much. But it is clear Mark knows which side of his bread the butter is on.