AFL club leaders to meet - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL club leaders to meet

By Roger Vaughan 18/03/2009 10:54:16 PM Comments (0)

The 16 AFL clubs have met among themselves on the eve of their scheduled meeting with the league's commission as economic concerns grow in the game.

The presidents and chairmen were tight-lipped on Wednesday night as they emerged from their special two-hour meeting at an inner-city location.

Privately in the last couple of days, they have downplayed initial reports that it was a crisis meeting to address a range of economic issues.

But their concerns about the financial returns from the MCG and Etihad Stadium, particularly for the poorer Melbourne-based clubs, are well-known.

The league had been aware of the meeting for several weeks.

On Tuesday, the AFL made their own thoughts clear when senior officials briefed journalists on several issues.

Most significantly, they insisted that the league will push ahead with plans to set up expansion teams on the Gold Coast and in western Sydney over the next two to three years.

There are some concerns among the clubs whether the AFL should be expanding in such a tough economic climate.

But the AFL argues it is in a strong financial state and it must expand further into the northern markets.

League officials have welcomed the clubs' meeting, with chief operating officer Gillon McLachlan saying it was important that they discuss issues among themselves.

Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett could not attend Wednesday night's meeting because of a prior engagement and sent a club representative.

After the clubs meet with the commission, the AFL will officially launch the 2009 season at a Thursday night function in Melbourne.

The commission will also meet on Friday, with the Gold Coast expansion plans set to dominate the agenda.

The commissioners will also consider proposed rule changes, especially the free kick for a blatant rushed behind.

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