Review expansion plans, Eddie tells AFL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Review expansion plans, Eddie tells AFL

By Roger Vaughan 13/07/2008 05:23:19 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire has called for a re-think of the AFL's ambitious expansion plans, saying the global economic situation demands caution.

While McGuire stresses he is confident the league will make the right decisions, he adds there is growing unease among the existing clubs because money is becoming tighter.

The AFL plans to have a team on the Gold Coast in 2011 and another in western Sydney the following year, increasing the league to 18 clubs.

McGuire said he was particularly concerned about a Saturday newspaper report saying the league was considering launching the western Sydney team with strong Irish connections.

"The fact it was on the front page of The Age (and Sydney Morning Herald) and actually had a comment from the chairman of the AFL commission, it made me spit my cornflakes and hit the back of the wall," he said on Melbourne radio station SEN.

"This is a big-time move for the AFL and I'm very confident they can do it and come up with the right answers.

"But we have to be just a little bit careful that we're not racing to something ... and sell the farm in doing so.

"Now is the time for cautious steps in the economy and footy, I reckon."

The clubs have enthusiastically embraced the league's expansion plans, but McGuire wonders whether if it might be time for a review.

"There's a bit of a feel that when the AFL pitched to the presidents the idea of the 17th and 18th teams, that was in November-December and the world markets were at a high," he said.

"The words `sub prime' - no-one knew what they were, now we know, absolutely.

"Having just come back from America, it is absolutely horrendous over there, we haven't even got the chill ... there's a lot more to come.

"All the indicators are starting to line up that things are going to be tough, and probably tough for a long time."

He said all clubs were starting to find it tougher to source sponsorship as companies tightened their budgets.

"Every club in football at the moment, their sponsors are putting the squeeze on - every club," he said.

"We have just had maybe the best of times in football for a little while as far as the sponsorships are concerned, the TV rights, etc.

"So maybe we just need to have another look at it and see where we're going with it."

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