Sport and politics don't mix: AFL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sport and politics don't mix: AFL

By Adam Cooper 21/03/2003 05:39:32 PM Comments (0)

The AFL has ruled sport and politics do not mix by banning players from making political statements on the field.

Despite strong anti-war sentiment across Australia, the AFL has prohibited players from making protests similar to those from Zimbabwean cricketers Andy Flower and Henry Olonga.

But the ruling has disappointed new AFL Players Association president Peter Bell, who said players should be free to voice their opinions.

"Players don't often get the chance to really express their views on issues other than football and being part of the wider community, if they did feel passionate about an issue then they should be able to have a say," Bell, the Fremantle captain and a trained lawyer, told AAP.

"I'll be really interested to see what happens because there are a lot of guys who would think we should not take part in a war and would want to extend that view."

The AFL has refused to outline potential penalties, with football operations general manager Andrew Demetriou confident that players would abide by the rules.

Despite the crackdown, the AFL said umpires would wear orange socks in games in round one to promote world harmony and get players to shake hands with umpires before each game.

Demetriou said handshakes would create a "powerful image" and promote better relationships between players and officials.

He said players could only reveal their opinions of world events off the field.

"I don't think the football field is the place for that to happen," he said.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

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