Current Blues board not to blame: AFL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Current Blues board not to blame: AFL

By Sam Lienert 07/03/2006 07:33:58 PM Comments (0)

The AFL says Carlton's board and administration deserves credit for trying to bail the Blues out of the dire financial situation they inherited.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou also says the AFL is ready to help the struggling Blues in any way possible and would look to ease the load of one of their biggest financial drains, the upkeep of home base Princes Park.

Demetriou said ensuring the ground was kept in playable condition was important to the AFL, in case it was ever needed as a back-up for the MCG or Telstra Dome.

The Blues, wooden spooners on the field last season, are in just as bad shape off-field, reporting a $1.1 million loss by their social club, largely due to the upkeep cost of Princes Park.

Demetriou said while Carlton was weighed down by $7 million in debt, the regime of current president Ian Collins deserved some praise for improving the situation left by his predecessor John Elliott.

"It should be remembered that when Ian and the current board and administration at Carlton took over (in 2002) they had substantially more debt," Demetriou told reporters.

"It was $11-12 million debt and they've actually made $4-5 million inroads into that debt."

Demetriou added the high cost of maintaining Princes Park, about $1.8 million per year, was something most clubs did not have to deal with.

He said the AFL was looking for a way it could help in that regard, although not necessarily financially.

"We've got to do a lot more work on that front and we've got time to do that," he said.

"We'll be in the next couple of weeks having a real close look at just what they've got and seeing if there's any areas we can help in.

"Sometimes help doesn't have to come in financial assistance, sometimes help can just be a lead somewhere, it can be help with people, it can be help in particular areas of their business."

While the Blues have not sought financial assistance from the AFL, Demetriou said it was "prudent business" to ensure Princes Park was kept in good condition.

Demetriou also said the Blues were clearly still reeling from the sanctions the club received for breaching player payment rules in 2000 and 2001, under the previous administration.

In 2002, the AFL fined Carlton $930,000 for those breaches and imposed substantial restrictions in the 2002 and 2003 national drafts, heavily handicapping the club's efforts to recover on the field.

"A lot of these things were inherited, they're working their way through it," Demetriou said.

"They've been very open about it and transparent, they're not hiding anything and you've got to give the Carlton Football Club absolute credit for facing up to the situation they're in."

But he said the AFL had no regrets about imposing such heavy penalties.

"I don't think you make determinations on sanctions and salary cap issues based on how a club is at a particular time," he said.

"You must treat the club who has breached rules in accordance with what's before you and that's what we did at the time."

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