Ok, here’s the back story. The Australian Football League wants another two teams in the league to bring in more revenue and generate more support for the game, which is for the most part, based in Victoria with ten Victorian-based teams, two in WA, two in SA, one in Sydney, and one in Brisbane.
The interstate teams (WA, SA, NSW, QLD) have always had their successes on the field, and all teams involved have had some great talent. So Andrew Demetriou, the head of the AFL, is entertaining a proposal for a new team based in Sydney’s Western suburbs.
Now, this is amongst the stupidest ideas I’ve ever read. Demetriou is considering having a faith-based team. Yep, he wants to launch an Irish-based team, which would mostly consist of Protestants.
The problems I see with the proposal are these:
- Where does one find some Irish Protestants in Sydney’s western suburbs? It’s an area with a lot of people who believe in God, certainly, but they’re sure not Protestants.
- AFL is very much an equalized game. You leave your religion/politics/family heritage/whatever off the ground. On the ground, you play for your team. This idea would mean that now you bring those things onto the ground. Old rivalries will be brought back into the game, and those rivalries are stronger than Everyone vs Collingwood (as hard as that is to believe)…
- It sets a precedent. What can the AFL then do if there’s a team of Irish-Catholics who want to play, and then a team of Roman-Catholics, and then a team of Buddhists, a team of Muslims, a team of Pagans and so on down the line? If they’ve got the requisite number of players and the start-up cash, the AFL would have a lot of trouble saying no. Then it turns into a religious game.
- Australians don’t much care about other people’s religions, unless they’re attempting to kill us or force them on us. By turning the AFL into something faith-based, they’re ensuring that it makes it harder for the non-religious to give a crap about the game. And for many, their football team is their religion.
Enough is enough Demetriou. You’ve tried to push the “Super-Goal” idea and it failed. You’ve tried to overhaul the AFL Tribunal, and it’s failed for the most part. You’ve tried to discourage drugs from the game, but in paying 21-28 year olds well over $200,000 a year you’ve made that hard because what else are they going to spend their dough on?
But this, this is your stupidest idea yet, and I hope it backfires on you spectacularly. I do hope the HREOC (Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission) gets involved, because that would raise this from a farce to a comedy.
UPDATE: Further details have come to light, and the team will not be made up of Irish descendants currently playing AFL in Sydney’s western suburbs. It will be made up of a team of Irish players being brought in from Ireland to boost the game’s international appeal. That puts this in a very different light.