We'll keep Anzac Day game, says Pert - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

We'll keep Anzac Day game, says Pert

Roger Vaughan 25/04/2011 02:49:54 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood chief executive Gary Pert remains confident the AFL's MCG blockbuster on Anzac Day will stay a Magpies-Essendon clash.

AFL legend Leigh Matthews and North Melbourne coach Chris Scott have made the latest calls for the match to be shared around.

Even Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse is having second thoughts about whether the biggest game outside the finals should remain the exclusive domain of the two clubs.

But AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou said last week he hoped the Bombers and Magpies would continue to stage the match.

Essendon and Collingwood started the game as an annual fixture in 1995 and it has become a modern-day success in the sport, routinely attracting a 90,000-plus crowd.

Pert said it was the fans, not the two clubs or the league, who had built the game into such a massive spectacle.

"This can hold its own around the world - don't worry about Australia, around the world," Pert told TripleM radio.

"This is something you don't want to play with.

"I'm totally for the other clubs building up their marquee games and derbies ... fantastic, but you don't replace Anzac Day and you don't take a risk with this game."

Pert argued it was a bigger issue than the large attendance guaranteeing a financial windfall for the two clubs.

"This has to be about the spectacle and what it does for the whole competition," he said..

"They (the AFL) wouldn't look seriously at changing this, because it's just a formula that works and you don't take a risk with it."

He described Malthouse's comments at a media conference during the week, where the coach admitting to conflicting thoughts about the issue, as "a throwaway line".

Meanwhile, Pert also called on the AFL to provide further financial support to poorer clubs so they could boost the spending on their football departments.

With the salary cap restricting the money that clubs can spend on players, the football departments have become the game's "arm race" in the last few years.

Collingwood has one of the bigger football department budgets and sends the team on an annual pre-season camp to Arizona, where they conduct high-altitude training.

"We're talking about elite sport here, we shouldn't be capping the clubs who can invest in the coaches, the facilities, the high-altitude training camps," he said.

"What we should be doing is making sure the Kangaroos, Richmond and whichever other club have the money to be spending."

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