Ablett promotional poster angers Cats - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ablett promotional poster angers Cats

By Adam Cooper 29/03/2010 08:10:47 PM Comments (0)

Geelong are angry and have demanded action over a poster showing Cats AFL star Gary Ablett wearing the red Gold Coast strip.

The Cats were infuriated by a double-page poster in Monday's Gold Coast Bulletin newspaper, which showed a digitally-altered image of Ablett wearing the strip of the AFL's club-in-waiting.

Geelong say the publication of the poster is a breach of the AFL's rules and have urged the players' union to pursue the matter.

Ablett is the Gold Coast's No.1 recruiting target but Geelong are desperate for him to stay.

The poster urges fans to "dare to dream" about the Brownlow medallist playing on the Gold Coast next year, and directs fans to visit the club's website and become members.

Both the Gold Coast and the Bulletin confirmed the poster was an initiative of the newspaper and that it was not a paid advertisement.

Gold Coast chief executive Travis Auld telephoned Geelong counterpart Brian Cook to stress the new club had nothing to do with the poster's publication.

But Cook said the AFL, the AFL Players Association (AFLPA) and Ablett's management should act.

"The advertisement is clearly an ad for Gold Coast Football Club, pushing for supporters to become members and directing readers to the official website of the Gold Coast Football Club," Cook said in a statement.

"The advertisement uses the intellectual property of Gary Ablett without his permission.

"We look forward to the AFL, the AFLPA and IMG, Gary's management company, taking the appropriate action following this clear contravention of the rules."

Ablett's manager Liam Pickering could not be contacted, but the AFLPA confirmed Ablett had not provided permission for the Bulletin to use his image.

AFLPA chief executive Matthew Finnis said images of players could not be used in "non-editorial purposes without the express approval of the player featured".

"Like all AFL players, Gary Ablett ought be able to rely on this commonly-accepted principle," he said.

Finnis said the association and Ablett's management would seek answers as to why the Bulletin did not seek the player's permission.

"The AFLPA will continue to vigorously protect the intellectual property rights of all AFL players," he said.

Bulletin editor Dean Gould said the newspaper published the poster to create a talking point.

"It would be naive of me to think Geelong would be happy, but I didn't expect that sort of reaction and I guess it shows how passionate people are about their footy," he told AAP.

"Clearly Geelong don't work in the media because they haven't checked their facts before putting that statement out.

"I'm still quite proud of it and chuffed that it's become such a furore."

Gould said the newspaper was "unashamedly supportive" of all of the region's football teams and aimed to provide them with "maximum exposure and support".

The Gold Coast Football Club said the poster was the Bulletin's initiative, but said it appreciated the newspaper's support.

In a statement posted on the club's website, the club maintained its intention to sign the best players.

"We want the best players in the competition to represent the Gold Coast and players who join us will find that they have the support and encouragement of the city," the statement said.

"We hope everyone gets behind us and buys a membership this year to make sure we can be in the best position when we enter the competition next year."

An AFL spokesman said how the media chose to cover the game was an "issue for them", and that if Geelong and the AFLPA pursued legal action, "it's entirely a matter for them".

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