Blues banned from AFL assistance - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues banned from AFL assistance

By Chris Lines 06/12/2002 06:00:28 AM Comments (0)

Carlton will not receive an emergency grant from the AFL despite being reduced to tin-rattling to ensure the club's survival.

The AFL has budgeted for $3 million in special assistance to be paid to struggling clubs in 2003.

With the Western Bulldogs and the Kangaroos to receive $1 million each, there was room for a further club to apply, but the Blues would get short shrift if they tried.

"It would be a big ask to go and ask 15 clubs to fund a club that has breached the salary cap," AFL football operations manager Andrew Demetriou said on Thursday.

"It just doesn't make sense, so we may as well just put that off the agenda."

AFL chief executive Wayne Jackson said such assistance - to a club it fined $930,000 last month for breaching the salary cap - would be unnecessary as the club could call on distribution from the sale of Waverley, or even receiving future league dividends in advance.

The AFL announced a net profit of $8.8 million for the year ended October 2002, a sharp increase on the previous year when pre-payments to clubs to fund a rise in the salary cap saw the league record a $16.8 million net loss.

The AFL was budgeting for profits of at least $5 million per year for the next four years as it sought to become debt free by 2006 when the new broadcast rights deal would be negotiated.

Unlike most sports bodies around the world which were expecting lower offers for upcoming broadcast rights, the AFL was surprisingly bullish about the prospects for an even bigger bid than the $500 million paid for 2002-2006.

"We reckon we're going to be the only sport in this country to satisfy its broadcasters," Jackson said.

"They will be coming to us with their ears back wanting to pay us more."

The league was also upbeat about the financial prospects for clubs, predicting all but two clubs will record profits next season - a marked turnaround on 2002 when seven finished in the red.

"The work that most of our clubs have done means they will trade profitably in 2003, which they haven't done in 2002," Jackson said.

"They are finally starting to understand that you cannot spend more than you earn."

The league chief rejected the idea that increased AFL profits should be distributed back to clubs, saying the quest to pay off all debts and continue spending on game development took precedence.

"We don't want to get to 2006, and the new broadcasting rights - if you think about what is happening around the whole world - with debt outstanding," Jackson said.

"If we repaid the debt over a longer period of time we could find some cash to give the clubs more.

"We don't want to slow down development just to give the clubs a couple of hundred thousand dollars more."

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